Yes, it’s been just over a week since my last post, but there’s not been a lot to report.
Our stay in Pillings Lock Marina was uneventful, we had a car from Enterprise in Loughborough which enabled us to get out and about, visiting, shopping and getting rid of an accumulation of recyclable electrical appliances. A local scrap yard also took the three old lead-acid batteries I replaced recently, though with the price of metals on a downward slide I didn’t get a huge amount for them. Still, every little helps.
My brother Andy runs his own fabrication business, and he knocked up a new cratch board for us, out of aluminium. The last two were wood, of course, lasting about 5 years. This will probably outlast the boat!
Size and shape look OK, the bottom edge needs to be trimmed to match the curve of the cant rail.
Anyhow, we moved out of the marina on Friday, not so far, just into Loughborough.
A new housing estate on what used to be TBD Morris’s tip.
Bank repairs outside The Boat Inn next to Meadow Lane Bridge
We moored on the stretch of bank just before Chain Bridge. It’s handy here for B&Q, just through the hedge and across the road, and it’s generally quiet at night. Just behind us were Russ and Elaine on NB Happy Hours. They’d had a good explore of the town and were planning on moving out today, so we hung on too. I had plenty to do…
Three coats of etch primer, the start of painting the cratch panel.
Aluminium can be funny stuff to paint. I gave it a thorough sanding to cut the surface, followed by a good cleaning with panel wipe and the coats of etch primer which key into the metal. Two coats of undercoat and two gloss coats should do it.
With the weather being warm, breezy and cloudy I was able to get the undercoats on before we moved out this morning.
Another job was the paintwork repairs on the right hand rail, after it got scraped under North Road Bridge in Leicester. I’d got to the point of primer and two undercoats, rubbing back and gloss coats saw it finished. It needed four coats, red is notoriously poor at coverage. With several repair patches along the length, it was easier to do the whole lot with the final two coats.
So this morning, after a quick trip to the shops for fresh bread and milk, we were off, once again travelling with Russ and Elaine. Getting to be a habit!
The Albion, around the corner, is shut up and for sale. It never was particularly popular. I guess it’ll revert to two homes.
Mags and Russ having a good natter in Loughborough Lock
I usually walk with Meg to the next lock, but our companions needed water and we’d have to stop anyway so there was no point.
Pleasing proportions of Bridge 41’s arch
Bridge 41 is Swing Bridge, still retaining the name from when it was! That’s why the arch is almost semicircular; it doesn’t have to accommodate the towpath.
We arrived at Bishop’s Meadow Lock just as a boat was coming up, and no-one else turned up while Russ filled their tank, so we were down in good order.
Meadow Lane Lock
The sanitary station here is no longer in use, which scuppered Russ and Elaine’s plans. We intended to stop somewhere near Kegworth and they were thinking of doing the same, but instead they had to push on to Sawley.
The reach below Bishop’s Meadow is probably the best on the Soar, if it wasn’t for the pesky power lines intruding, almost the best anywhere.
Normanton-on-Soar stands back from the river, but St. James’ steeple rises above the trees.
The crease in the water caused by our passage (you can’t call it a bow-wave, can you…) has made a kink in the reflection.
The river today is benign, beautiful and quiet, but it has it’s darker side…
Automatic rotary flood gates
Leaving the river and joining the half-mile Zouch Cut under Zouch Road Bridge
We were lucky again at Zouch Lock. Two boats were leaving as we approached, and two more were waiting below so we didn’t have much to do.
This was the the last lock we shared with Russ and Elaine. There are another two to do before the Soar reaches the Trent, but with the number of boats about they’re likely to have found another lock companion.
We would have liked to moor at Devil’s Elbow, it’s good piling but more importantly shady so I can get some painting done. But NB Bliss had beaten us to it, and it didn’t seem fair to intrude on their peace and quiet with the smell of paint and the sound of drill and jigsaw. That’s another project. The top box is suffering from terminal wet rot, so I’m making a new one out of decking boards.
Anyway, the stretch along past The Otter Inn that we often use doesn’t afford any shade, so we finished up on the short cut leading to Kegworth Lock.
We waved goodbye to our friends as they cruised past, then I set to. A busy afternoon saw the cratch panel glossed and the new top box well on the way.
That’s the newly painted rail in the foreground…
So there you go. Caught up again. Tomorrow we’ll head up to the junction, then Wednesday it’ll be Cranfleet Cut and lock, Nottingham and points north. We’re going up to the Leeds and Liverpool again, though you’d have thought we’d have had enough after last winter!
Since the last post – Locks 3, miles 6