It was another fine start to the day, I went for a run around Kegworth and Sutton Bonnington trying out a new regime. In order to maintain a consistent pace I’ve loaded onto my iPod a series of tracks all with the same BPM. I’m trying 170, pushing it a little maybe, but I kept it up for 40 minutes this morning, up and down hills and on grass as well as tarmac. With a bit of luck this will improve my stamina and race pace. Can’t do any harm…
We were still off at around 09:30, after a rather noisy night. The wind had veered a little last evening, an early indication of the changing weather to come. But this meant that East Midlands Airport were now routing their take-offs straight over our mooring. And take-offs are quite a bit louder than landings!
I didn’t hear a thing, of course, I’m usually dead to the world the moment my head hits the pillow. Then I wake with the sunrise.
In hindsight we should have moored at Devil’s Elbow, where we usually stop. But you don’t get the morning sun here. Might as well make the most of it while we’ve got it!
Twenty minutes saw us at Zouch (pronounced Zotch) Lock.
Ascending in Zouch Lock
A new trip boat outside The Rose and Crown has it’s origins considerably further south…
The river does a loop around the lock cut dropping over 2 weirs just above Zouch Road Bridge.
Weirs at Zouch
Just off the picture to the left is another weir, with a radial gate, reacting automatically to rising river levels.
The river is very quiet at the moment, but there are reminders of how fickle it’s behaviour can be…
The reach past Normanton is probably the prettiest on the river.
It’s wide and deep and on the left are some beautiful houses with well-kept gardens.
Normanton’s St. James’ Church is sited close to the river. The village was recorded in the Domesday Book,
The church dates from around a century later, and was known as a boatman’s church, but there’s limited access from the water now.
Near The Plough Inn a chain ferry used to cross the river, connecting Nottinghamshire on the left bank to Leicestershire on the right. The river ceases to be the county boundary just north of Loughborough.
Bishop’s Meadow Lock marks the end of the rural and the start of the urban. The river does a long loop around the town, while the artificial cut goes through the middle.
Bishop’s Meadow Lock
A steady chug past a length of permanent moorings brings the navigation to the second lock on the cut, Town Lock. A boat was just leaving as we arrived, so I jumped off and Mags brought Seyella in.
What neither of us noticed was our uninvited lock companions; a family of mallards. Seven half-grown ducklings and mum.
Mrs mallard flew up to perch on the lock gates, leaving the little ones milling around in the rising water and squeaking frantically.
I filled the lock very slowly to avoid moving the boat in the chamber and possibly crushing the chicks. As the water approached the top, they started to leap over the gate into the pound above, the stronger ones first, finally leaving just a smaller one desperate on it’s own.
“Wait for meeee”
It managed to climb over in the end, joining the rest of the family paddling around on the by-wash weir and risking being swept back down again. Maybe that’s what they do for sport.
Above the lock and around the corner a long straight to the canal to Loughborough Wharf. Once the terminus of the Loughborough Navigation and occupied by a woodyard, it’s now been redeveloped, mooring pontoons surrounded by blocks of student accommodation.
We didn’t go up to the wharf, instead turning left just beyond The Albion, and mooring against the grass there.
It looks like tomorrow we may be breaking out the waterproofs for our run to Mountsorrel.
Locks 3, miles 5