On Friday evening we had my sister Kay and her partner Paul, and my nephew and niece Aidan and Samantha for a visit. Then on Saturday we had lunch with my Dad and stepmum in the recently refurbished Waterside, alongside the lock, followed by a visit from brother Andy and nephew Luke.
We shouldn’t have worried about overhanging the lock landing; this was the scene on Friday evening…
Two more boats moored behind us taking up the length of the landing!
Yesterday we were meeting Andy’s wife Nyree and Luke again near Syston, so moved from Mountsorrel to near the Hope and Anchor pub.
More fine cruising along the wide river sections.
It’s unusual to see swans and mallards sharing the same reed bed.
Sileby Lock and we catch up with NB Winding Down
We shared our locks today with this crew, but they were disappointed that we weren’t going further; they were planning on going up through Leicester to Kilby Bridge. Now that’s a long day!
Cossington Lock comes another couple of miles upstream.
It’s here that, although it’s still known as the Soar Navigation, it is actually using the bed of the River Wreake. It follows this tributary through Junction Lock and to Wreake Junction.
The towpath has been upgraded to a cycleway all the way to Cossington village now, and the bridge crossing the junction had to be replaced. It’s now high enough for navigation, possibly the first step in restoring the long abandoned Melton Mowbray Navigation and the Oakham Canal.
New towpath bridge across Wreake Junction
From here to Thurmaston it’s all artificial cut, passing several gravel pits now part of Watermead Country Park, an area of lakes, wetland, woodland and meadow stretching from Syston to the fringes of the city.
Soon after we moored just beyond Wanlip Road Bridge the rain started, and it was on and off all afternoon. Later we were joined by Stuart and Netty on NB Gypsy Emma.
Moored near the Hope and Anchor
This morning I was up early to go for a run around the country park, but not early enough to say goodbye to Stuart and Netty, they’d quietly moved off long before.
I caught them up at Birstall, struggling to fill the lock so I stopped to give them a hand. The bottom gates were leaking so badly that the lock wouldn’t fill, we finally got the boat through by blocking the gap with a couple of planks of wood, shoving the gates with the boat and with three of us heaving on a top gate beam. Hope you had no more trouble today, folks.
It was gone 10 by the time we got going, heading towards Thurmaston.
Along the cut to Thurmaston
Thurmaston Island, moorings and MGM Boats, where the lads’ had the fine NB Chance built.
Up Thurmaston Lock
This should have been our only lock of the day, but circumstances changed when we arrived at Birstall.
Although both Stuart (NB Gypsy Emma) and I had reported the lock problem, the C&RT crew hadn’t yet arrived and a boat was stuck in the lock, once again unable to fill it.
Water pouring out between and under the gates
The C&RT team arrived shortly after, and with a lot of poking and prodding made some progress towards getting the gates to close fairly well.
Moored above Birstall Lock, you can just see the C&RT team still working on the gate.
Since we came up the team had to interrupt work to help boats in both directions. There’s now three of us moored above the lock, ready to head off through Leicester tomorrow.
After the rain of the last few days it looks like the weather is on the up again, warm dry and windless for the next week. Excellent cruising conditions.
Locks 5, miles 6