Friday, October 10, 2014

Visitors and a move back to Loughborough

We didn’t move away from Barrow yesterday afternoon; it was too late by the time we’d had lunch with Lesley and Joe off Yarwood. They’d arrived at around 1 o’clock and moored on the lock cut. We had a good chat about this and that, and inevitably the Wash trip next Spring did come up. I was concerned that it would be scheduled too early for us, after all we’ve got to get across from Manchester after I run a marathon there on the 19th March. We agreed that it would be best to do the trip towards the end of May. Excellent. Just hope that the tide times are co-operative.

Another one of those long exposure shots of Barrow weir under moonlightIMG_1840
Now I know how to do it you might see a lot of these!

This morning, after dog duty, I dismounted John Sage from the bike rack, inserted the front wheel, freed up the sticky back brake and set off for Sileby to pick up the latest batch of mail from Dad’s. He’s not too good at the moment else he’d have brought it to us.
I’m not sure which is the hardest; running the 3 miles each way or pedalling it! My knees were aching on the uphill bits… The only consolation was being able to freewheel on the down slopes, something you can’t do on foot. It was quite a bit quicker by bike, as well.

Before I left I waited for NB Yarwood as they headed for the services at Barrow Boating.

Lesley (walking) and Joe (steering) under Mill Lane BridgeIMG_1845

The two delightful four-legged Yarwood crew members, Floyd and Fletcher. Or is it Fletcher and Floyd??? IMG_1848
Not that Lesley and Joe aren’t of course. Delightful that is, not four legged!

We got away about mid-day, taking our turn to fill and empty the relevant tanks. By this time a tree-cutting crew were attacking the large willow near the bridge.IMG_1850
Alex, with the help of beverage based bribes, had negotiated for some of the logs, and was a bit miffed when the boat preceding us on the wharf made off with a good stash. Looks like there’ll still be plenty, though.

We were following a boat so had to turn Barrow Deep and Pillings Locks, not too much of a problem though.

Sunlight reflecting up under Barrow BridgeIMG_1852

Pillings Flood Lock, still only an inch difference in level despite the recent thunderstorms.IMG_1853
The water did come up about 4 inches on Wednesday night, but it had returned to normal by morning.

Cruising into Loughborough the canal passes under Bridge 37, carrying the Great Central Railway.

Bridge 37.
The GCR was built in 1845 as the Sheffield, Ashton-Under-Lyne and Manchester Railway, soon renamed as the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway with the inclusion of two other lines into the network, then finally becoming the Great Central Railway just prior to the opening of it’s southern extension into London. Railway ownership and naming was as convoluted as that of the canals!
The GCR was absorbed into the London and North-Eastern network in 1923, but by the late 1960s a lot of the original line had been closed. Sections in the south still carry local traffic, but this 8 mile section has been preserved and a new terminal station at Leicester North constructed. It’s a popular attraction, with several steam loco’s in use and regular weekend services between Loughborough and Leicester North.
Me and a group of friends used to travel on the line regularly when I was in my early 20s. I’m ashamed to say that the attraction wasn’t the evocative smells and sounds of steam locomotion, just that the bar in the dining car stayed open all Sunday afternoon…

We pulled in just before Chain Bridge, and we had another visitor for a brew in the afternoon. Andy Bayley used to have a boat in Pillings Lock Marina, and has been in touch regularly, but we’ve never actually sat down for a chat. We had a very pleasant hour before he had to shoot off, leaving a bag full of cleaning stuff and a loan of several canal books. Thanks Andy, good to finally meet you properly! And thanks for the material. See you next year…

Some more pictures here of that narrowboat hung up on the HNC last weekend…

Off north tomorrow, hoping to get to Sawley Cut on the Trent.

Locks 2, miles 4 

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