We moved into Loughborough on Friday and stayed there for the weekend.
A dry but cloudy and cool day.
“Will I grow up to be big and strong too, Dad?”
Zouch Lock was a mile or so from from where we’d moored, and with only gate paddles to fill it, it gets a little frothy…
The short cut has the lock at the downstream end and two large weirs and a flood control barrier at the upstream end.
“Dolphins” are installed above the weirs for use in an emergency, and it’d have to be serious to consider them. You’d have to shoo the gulls off first…
Normanton on Soar Church, St. James’.
There are good moorings for The Plough Inn just upstream.
A happy wave as we pass by…
If you look closely you’ll see he has his little dog on his lap.
Bishop Meadow Lock House is for sale, around £400k.
The sanitary station has been replaced by a summer house, but there’s still a (very slow) water tap and rubbish disposal above the lock.
After topping up the tank we carried on, up Loughborough Lock and around the corner to moor on the bank just past Chain Bridge.
Lots of water at Loughborough Lock
Ahead is the terminus with moorings and services, to the left, under Chain Bridge, is the main route towards Leicester.
The Loughborough Navigation, based on the River Soar from The Trent to Loughborough, opened in 1780 and ended at the terminus near the town centre. The route was extended to Leicester by 1794, this section known as the Leicester Canal.
A few years later the Leicestershire and Northamptonshire Union Canal was started, intending to link Leicester with the Nene at Northampton. By 1809 it had managed to reach Market Harborough, but the finances collapsed. At this time the Grand Junction Canal was well under way, heading north past Northampton towards Braunston, so the decision was made to abandon the original Nene destination in favour of linking with the GJC.
This modified route gave us the impressive locks at Foxton and Watford and joined the Grand Junction in 1814. Unfortunately, to save money, it was built to narrow gauge, effectively preventing wide boats from running up to Leicester from London. Shame, really.
We stayed in Loughborough for the weekend, then headed a couple of miles further on to moor in Pillings Lock Marina for a few days.
Leaving Loughborough on another bright, brisk day.
Plenty of water under Nottingham Road Bridge
The hosiery mill alongside Nottingham Road, dating from the late 18th century, ceased operation and was most recently occupied by 3M. It’s now undergoing another reincarnation as apartments.
Just about to turn into the marina, dazzled by the low sun.
We got set up, then I went off to collect a car from Enterprise in Loughborough. Dad had been in hospital since Friday having a new knee installed, and we didn’t expect him to be discharged until Tuesday, but they were happy to let him go early. So I dropped Mags and Meg off his house to keep step-mum Ann company while I went to collect him.
He’s doing ok, it’s a fairly routine op now. Got to be better than before, he had no cartiledge left on the bearing surfaces in the joint, just bone on bone. He should have had it done earlier – much earlier.
Then yesterday, Tuesday, we went north. Not the best day for it, with rain, sleet and snow. But we had to go to Mag’s doctor’s to get a follow-up blood test. The one she had done at Newark was cocked up, Loughborough Hospital flatly refused to deal with it – “Not from our area, sorry”, so we decided to go up to get it done.
It snowed while we were up in the dales, but the main roads were clear and the snow turned to rain as we headed back south. Not a fun trip but it could have been worse.
Snowy up in the Dales
It was dark by the time we got back, and the pontoons in the marina had a coating of frost. I’d got Meg back aboard, and was guiding Mags along the narrow walkway when she slipped and fell sideways. I tried to hold her but she went off the side of the pontoon and into the water. Only up to her chest before she caught hold of the edge of the pontoon, but that water is cold…
Luckily the folk on the boat next door heard the commotion and came to give me a hand to get her back out. Fortunately, apart from bruising, she’s none the worse for the dip. A hot shower, soup and hot chocolate warmed her up, and a cold compress on the bruising on her hand reduced the swelling. Needless to say, she’s elected to stay on board today…
The temperature dipped to -4° last night leaving a skin of ice on the water and frost on the boat roofs.
Another sub-zero night tonight, we’ll wait until it thaws a bit then move out. Not far though, we’ll hang around this area for a week or two.
Locks 3, miles 7½