Today we unexpectedly shared locks with Russ and Elaine on Hour Time again. We knew they were intending to spend the weekend at Birstall before setting off in our direction, what we didn’t know was that they were setting off at 07:30 this morning, so they went past us at half-nine!
Mags was just contemplating getting up and I was settling down with a crossword for half an hour when I heard a boat, looked out of the window and there they were. So we hastily got sorted out and followed them down to Junction Lock.
But before that Meg and I went for a look up the old Wreake Navigation.
A better shot of Wreake Junction
The river comes in under the bridge. It was recently replaced as past of the towpath upgrade, and was specified to be of navigable height unlike the old one. Just in case…
A fine double-arched bridge a couple of hundred yards upstream
Still in water, but heavily overgrown
Of course, as a river navigation it’s always going to carry water, it’s just the infrastructure that’s no longer viable.
The first phase of a canal restoration is usually the towpath. This gets people interested in the potential of the project. Here though, it’s going to take some work. After the first hundred yards or so it’s either disappeared or so heavily overgrown as makes no difference. The footpath runs along the edge of adjacent farmland.
Syston Mill across the river (and the nettles).
The first lock was somewhere just upstream of here… And this is probably where it used to be.
We didn’t go much further, just to the railway bridge carrying the Leicester to Nottingham line.
Any more exploring would require long trousers and boots. I’d got stung enough!
So, back to the boats and sharing the locks with Russ and Elaine.
…followed by Cossington Lock
In the background the arrows point up the navigation channel, to the right is the Soar coming back in again after cutting off the corner past the village of Wanlip.
Approaching Sileby Lock, a couple of boats on the pleasant mooring just above.
The sun has started to make an appearance, but it’s still cool in the brisk breeze.
Below Sileby Lock we pulled in on the fuel barge at Sileby Mill to fill with diesel, it was a bit of a Grand Prix pit stop, only 5 minutes stationary. We actually caught up with HT at Mountsorrel soon after they’d arrived themselves!
At Barrow we waited while Serenade, one of the “biddy boats” out of Loughborough came up the deep lock, giving Russ and Elaine a chance to catch up after stopping for water on the services at Barrow Boating, then dropped down ourselves, taking the turn under County Road Bridge.
On Barrow Cut, I think Alacrity is probably the most inappropriate name for a boat as ponderous as this…
Below Barrow is a most attractive stretch of river, sadly all too short as it ends at Pillings Flood Lock, running off over the weir and winding it’s way out around Loughborough.
Pillings Flood Lock
Here we parted company with our locking companions. We turned in to Pillings Lock Marina where we’ll stay for a few days, while they carried on along the canal into Loughborough. We’ll probably catch up again…
A good picture of Russ and Elaine
Good to see you both again, maybe see you later in the week.
Into Pillings Lock Marina
I’ve a few things to collect and dispose of, and from here we can visit my folks easily. Hire car from Enterprise tomorrow.
Locks 5, miles 6½