Leaving Loughborough’s Belton Road moorings.
Under the bridge is a Tee junction, left to Loughborough Wharf, once the site of a woodyard, now mooring pontoons surrounded by student flats.
This is now the Loughborough Canal, built to carry coal from the Nottinghamshire coalfields into the town.
The artificial cut through the town ends below Bishop’s Meadow Lock, from here the navigation runs mainly on the Soar riverbed, apart from the short lock cuts.
Bishop’s Meadow Lock.
Back on the river.
I believe this is the best bit of the Soar Navigation, just take away the power pylons and the adjacent A6 and it’d be perfect.
Oh, I forgot the aircraft coming into East Midlands Airport….
They’d have to go too.
Parting of the
Below Zouch Lock we had to watch out for rowers out from Loughborough Boat Club, then we got lucky at Kegworth New Lock. If we’d been a couple of minutes later the lock would have been emptied by a lady on a boat below, and we’d have had to wait for them and another boat to come up. As it was she saw us coming, topped up the lock and opened the gate for us.
Leaving Kegworth Lock
We expected to find Kegworth Flood Lock in use as a normal lock, like Pillings this is supposed to be in use from October to March, and left open through the summer. But it was wide open both ends so we cruised straight through. No complaints from here!
Kegworth Flood Lock
The backwater returning from it’s short trip around Kegworth Flood Lock
I know it’s a navigable route, we’ve been around there!
The weather had turned showery by this time, and a particular heavy one drove me to pull over above Ratcliffe Lock. We took advantage of a half-hour break to grab a bit of lunch before the sky cleared and we pushed on.
Ratcliffe Lock wasn’t kind to us. It was empty so had to fill it, the offside top gate I tried to open to get Mags in wouldn’t go right back into the recess so I had to walk around and open the other one, then I had the same problem when we came to exit, choosing the wrong gate again. Still, you get a good view of Ratcliffe Power Station while you’re fannying about…
There’s lots of moored boats from here, past Redhill Marina, and down to where the Soar decants into the Trent.
Out onto the Trent
To the right is the navigation through Cranfleet Cut heading north to Nottingham after picking up the river again below Cranfleet Lock. Dead ahead is Trent Lock, the entrance to the Erewash Canal and the source of the coal that was shipped to Loughborough, we swing to the left, upstream towards Sawley Cut and Derwent Mouth, and finally up onto the Trent and Mersey Canal.
Sawley Locks to the left, the backwater and services to the right.
A welcome sight as we approach the paired locks, a lock-keeper opens the left –hand gates.
Ten minutes later we were up on Sawley Cut, passing the Derby Boat Club moorings, and mooring near the entrance to the large Sawley Marina.
We’re only stopping here one night; tomorrow morning we’ll be across Derwent Mouth, up the lock onto the canal and moored up in time to watch the Russian Grand Prix. I missed the qualifying sessions today, that’s not like me!
It’s been a longer day than we normally have, but after a couple of weeks of just loitering it was good to be on the move again.
Locks 6, miles 11