The Leicester Line and the River Soar

  We left Braunston Junction on Thursday, 17th March, after putting the drone up for a few quick shots. It was quite breezy, though, so I didn’t send it up very high. We only cruised a short distance in the first instance, stopping on the waterpoint and visiting The Gongoozler’s Rest Café boat – one of the ladies that work there is a relative of my Brother-in-Law Pete, so we had to stop and say hello – it would’ve been rude not to! Unfortunately, Nicky wasn’t working that day but we still availed ourselves of a very nice piece of bread pudding and a coffee whilst the water tank filled! With full tummies and a full water tank, we continued our journey and worked the six locks of the Braunston flight – I don’t know why but I had expected this section to not be very attractive but I was wrong – it was lovely! The towpath, however, was very sticky – the mud was drying off a bit leaving it sticky rather than plain wet! We managed to find a reasonable bit of towpath on which to moor just before the Braunston Tunnel. Sal and I had an absolutely lovely walk up and over the tunnel for our afternoon jaunt, which Tony repeated the following morning.

On Friday morning, 18th, we set off and went through the tunnel – this is a two way tunnel so there’s every chance that you will pass a boat whilst going through it. This can sometimes be a bit tricky as it is a bit “kinky” in places (ooo err, missus!) so getting well into the sides in certain areas in order to pass another boat is a tiny bit troublesome, but fortunately we had it to ourselves, so no problems (or kinkiness) encountered. We traversed the tunnel in 21 minutes and then continued our journey to Norton Junction, where the Grand Union meets the Grand Union Leicester Line. It was a very pleasant section of canal and the junction was very pretty, with a gorgeous little cottage right on the junction banks. We turned into the Leicester Line and continued for a short distance, mooring just before the third bridge, on a lovely open spot. 

On Saturday, 19th, we cruised for just under 5 miles but went through the Watford flight of locks, passing the M1 Watford Gap service station just on the other side of the hedge. This flight consists of two individual locks, a staircase of four, then another individual lock at the top. You have to book in with the lock keepers on arrival so that they can coordinate the boat movements in order to conserve water. It wasn’t very busy, though, so we were told to go ahead and go straight into the bottom lock – we were following one boat up and there was another boat behind us going up. It was quite breezy, though, and the lockie advised me (steering) to stay in the second lock until the gates were open on the bottom lock of the staircase. I heeded his warning – it’s on quite a tight turn so quite tricky even without the wind – but the boat behind didn’t and got into all sorts of problems! He got wedged across the gap and had to do several manoeuvres, all battling the wind, to get back on line to get into the lock. We always say that it takes 2 seconds to go wrong and 10 minutes to put it right – he was certainly demonstrating that theory, poor chap! The Watford Flight was nothing like I expected – because the canal is so close to Watford Gap, I was expecting it to be very urban but it really is in a  beautiful spot – if you can ignore the thundering great road! The locks themselves were very well kept, having volunteer lock keepers on duty most of the time and the surrounding countryside was very pretty. A nice surprise! We moored up about a mile further on, just to get away from the noise of the M1 a bit. I was going to walk back with the drone but it was just too windy, unfortunately. However, our data signal wasn’t brilliant for our internet access, so we decided to carry on for another couple of miles in the afternoon. Sal and I walked to Crick Tunnel, jumped on the boat to go through, then jumped off the boat on the other side. We moored in Crick, opposite the marina, well known in the narrowboating world for the Crick Boat Show. 

We discovered that this was a really good area for some nice walks, so on Sunday, 20th, we moved the boat for just a half mile to a slightly quieter mooring (there were a lot of walkers near the marina) and nearer to the start of some of these walks. Tony had a bit of trouble with a painful knee but still managed to walk with Sal up to Cracks Hill, whilst I elected, on my walk with Sal, to skirt the bottom of the hill and do a circular walk along a bridleway and back on the towpath – both very enjoyable. There was also the Crick Jubilee Wood – not so much of a wood as yet, give it another 20 years or so, but still a very nice area around which to walk. With the wind having dropped from the previous couple of days, I went into the grounds of the Jubilee Wood and put the drone up to catch some aerial views of the area.

On Monday, 21st, we cruised for a few miles and stopped for lunch, then did an afternoon walk-and-go, stopping once we’d passed the busy A14 road. The cruise was a pleasant rural pootle of 6 miles in total, especially with the sun shining along the way. This whole stretch is very rural – even when passing near a village, the canal skirts round the villages rather than through them. Although it makes for a lovely cruise, there isn’t much opportunity to get any supplies!

On that note, on Tuesday 22nd, we headed for the Welford Arm where we had identified a good spot to organise a Tesco delivery, as there was a small boater’s service yard at the end of the arm. What we didn’t expect was that it was also going to be a little gem of a place! We moored up, got our delivery slot for the next day, then both went with Sal for a very pleasant walk back along the towpath and through the fields to the village. It really was a very pleasant spot! Tony did a different, but equally nice walk with Sal on Wednesday morning.

We awaited our delivery on Wednesday; we actually timed it so that we moved the boat on to the water point and when the driver turned up, he virtually unloaded the van directly into the boat – perfect! I put the drone up whilst we were waiting and got shots of him arriving!! Then, once the water tank was full, we cruised up to the junction of the Arm and the main canal, only 1 ½ miles, and moored there. We thoroughly enjoyed the Welford Arm – perhaps we should have stayed for another day or two but there is so much more to explore!!

On Thursday, 24th March, we decided to do a little bit of external touching up of the paint below the gunnels, as the bank of the canal was very low in this spot, giving full access nearly down to the waterline. A bit of light sanding and a quick touch up and she was looking spick and span again – on one side, at least, and probably not for long, but hey-ho, that’s the nature of the beast! Would rather be cruising and getting the paint scraped than sitting still looking pretty!!! Tony took the opportunity of having the paint and brushes out to refurbish a ¾ mile marker – that ended up looking spick and span, too!  Once that was completed, we set off for a short cruise of just at over 3 miles, taking in Husband’s Bosworth Tunnel en route. This is another two way tunnel and we were about half way through when we saw tunnel lights approaching – three boats were lining up to come through. Two elected to not pass but the third came in so we had the dubious pleasure of passing him. I suppose, in the summer when it’s busy, you’d have to pass otherwise you’d be waiting all day, but he would only have had to wait for about another five minutes for us to clear the tunnel, so we did wonder why he just didn’t hang on and have a clear run? There is always potential for damage to occur when you sqeeeeeeze past another boat in a tunnel, so we would rather not do it, given a choice. As it was, our open back door hit the tunnel wall as we had to get so close to the sloping side, and it actually pulled the door catch away from the boat, but as they are magnetic, it didn’t do any lasting damage, fortunately. Once out of the tunnel, we carried on and moored in another glorious rural spot, with a few miles left to do the next day to reach the bottom of Foxton Locks.

On Friday, 25th March, we cruised for 3 ½ miles and stopped just short of Foxton Locks, with the intention of going through them the next day. Sal and I had a lovely walk up to the Locks and the surrounding area – there are the remnants of the Foxton Inclined Plane, which was built, back in the day, to ease the bottleneck of the Foxton Locks. You can still see the tracks that went down the hillside and a model beside it is a very good illustration of how it worked. It wasn’t overly successful and was in service for only ten years! There are plans to reinstate it – that WOULD be worth seeing! I hope we’re still boating when it happens!

On the morning of Saturday, 26th March, we cruised the short distance to the top of the locks and moored on the lock landing, ready to go down when cleared. We booked in with the lock keepers – the locks are two staircases of five locks each, with a short pound between them, so passage up and down has to be managed. We were told it would be a little while as a boat was coming up, so we asked if there was time for us to get a breakfast bap from the Café, and were told to go ahead. So, we ordered our  breakfast and were just sitting on a bench at the top enjoying it, when the lock keeper changed his mind and said that we should go into the top lock and pass the other boat in the middle pound between the two staircases! So, brekkie on the go it was! I steered whilst Tony worked the locks, along with the volunteers. There were hundreds of Gongoozlers, too, with it being a beautiful, spring Saturday and an interesting area to visit! We had an uneventful descent through the first five locks and I was instructed to wait in the bottom lock to let the other, shorter boat get into position in the passing bay. We passed without incident – I was actually complimented on my steering by the other boater – it was a bit of a tricky manoeuvre as boats are wider than the passing bay so they encroach into the area in which you need to steer to get into the next lock and I managed to get into the lock with the merest kiss on his boat as I passed! Having successfully passed, we both continued on to the next set of staircases. When we reached the bottom, we were turning right into the Market Harborough Arm, and again, I had a tricky turn to make as the Day Hire boats were moored in the turning circle, reducing both the available turning space and the actual arc of the turn in which to steer. I certainly made the people on one of the boats a bit nervous as, at one stage, it would appear to them that I was heading straight towards them, but I needed to clear the stern from the lock entrance before I could start to make the turn. I wonder if the boat hire companies do it on purpose for a bit of entertainment – do they give the steerer marks out of ten on their performance?  I could’ve used the bow thruster to swing the bow, of course, but I like to steer without it as much as I can to get the practice in! We moored a short way along the arm and decided to stay there for the night as I wanted to put the drone up but it was much too busy to fly it with the hundreds of people around. Sal and I enjoyed a lovely walk along the towpath and back through the fields, although the extending dog lead had broken so she was on a short lead – less sniffing radius!! Once the crowds had died down a bit, we all walked back up to the locks and I put the drone up – Sal enjoyed her third, unscheduled walk of the day!

On Sunday, 27th March, we cruised the 5 ½ miles to get into the Market Harborough Arm, Tony walking with Sal for the first part. It was a bit chillier at first but the sun came out later and it was another lovely day by the time we reached the basin at the end of the arm. We turned in the basin and moored on the towpath – there are few moorings in the basin itself, but right next to the pub and cafe, so we decided not to bother trying to shoehorn the boat in there. I walked to the shop to pick up the new dog lead we’d ordered so Sal had the benefit of more sniffing space on her afternoon walk! 

The basin was ok but we didn’t feel that there was much to make us want to stay any longer, so on Monday, 28th, we set off for an afternoon walk-and-go, mooring on a nice spot we’d seen on the way in to the arm. 

On Tuesday, the weather had turned and it was freezing cold and misty! We set off for a walk-and-go again but went for a total of 7 miles, stopping at Debdale Wharf for supplies on the way. We moored near the top of the next set of 5 locks, Kibworth, ready to go through them the next day. This, unfortunately, seemed to be the end of the lovely weather.

On Wednesday, 30th March, we set off and worked the five locks, all of them were in our favour and all the top gates were already open, so we had an easier ride than normal. I don’t know if it was a lazy boater not closing the gates behind them or whether the gates swung open themselves, but it certainly helped us! We passed an absolutely lovely spot but it was already full with other moored boats, so we went round the corner and moored – but it was right next to the railway line – and I mean right next to!! We had little choice, though, as to continue would’ve meant working at least three more locks, which we didn’t want to do. It wasn’t too bad – the trains didn’t run at night, at least, but they certainly made their presence felt during the day! You could feel the actual vibrations through the water whenever a train passed. 

Needless to say, we were keen to move the next day, 31st, but woke up to fairly thick snow!! A couple of days previously we had been walking around in T-shirts – and now we were back to thick winter clothes and big coats! The sun did come out, though, and soon melted the snow and the forecast promised a fair afternoon, so we set off at 1.00 p.m. after an early lunch. However, unfortunately, the forecast was completely wrong and we ended up boating and working locks in a blizzard! We had little choice to continue as there were no suitable moorings on which to wait or moor. Adding insult to injury, all the locks were against us and all the bottom gates had swung open, so it made it a very trying exercise!! With the snow also came wind, so it was most unpleasant and we eventually moored, after working 6 locks, because the wind was just too strong and we were having difficulty in steering! When Sal and I walked a little further, though, for her afternoon walk, I found it was much more sheltered just around the corner, so when we got back, we worked one more lock and moored in the sheltered spot I’d found. We both agreed that that had probably been the hardest day we’d had so far, just in terms of how wrong the forecast had been, resulting in boating in terrible weather!

On Friday, 1st April, we set off, stopping at the Kilby Bridge services to top up with water and get rid of rubbish. Once finished, we set the washing machine going, intending to stop when it was finished. The locks were hard again, with gates open and against us, and it was windy again. We were now in the suburbs on the outskirts of Leicester and once the washing was finished, we started to look for a mooring but didn’t get a good feel for the area. We decided to carry on – a better mooring is more important than getting the washing out! After 6 locks and 4 miles, we came across a pleasant rural stretch a bit more away from the town of Glen Parva and decided that that was our place. We moored up, put the washing out then Sal and I went off for our afternoon stroll. We were unlucky, though and got caught in a short, but heavy snow shower. This weather!! We also got a bit bamboozled by a locked gate at the end of a marked footpath, although the footpath wasn’t very well frequented. The gate was a very flimsy metal gate, padlocked to very wobbly fences on both sides – I didn’t fancy my chances climbing over it and I didn’t want to retrace my steps as we were near to the end of the walk by then. We had already got a bit lost earlier on in the walk as I had taken a wrong turn across a field and hadn’t checked my phone as it was chucking it down with snow, so I had already had a close encounter with a hedge and brambles in trying to find a way through. (This isn’t unusual, when you follow some of the footpaths in the app we use, they are often very unkempt and unused and it’s quite common to beat your way through undergrowth in order to follow the path!) The only way to get through the gate was to kneel down and shimmy through a gap on the lower half of the gate – not easy with arthritic knees and an ample waistline!! Still, with wet knees and slightly injured dignity, (no-one saw me otherwise it would have been a complete loss of dignity!!) we continued on our walk and made it back to the boat.

Saturday, 2nd April, saw us make our last push to get into Leicester. We worked another 6 locks, thankfully without the problems of the previous two days, and cruised for 4 miles. We arrived in Leicester and were delighted to see available moorings at Castle Gardens. Several other boaters had told us that there were nicer moorings just a bit further up, but we had looked at those on Google Earth and there appeared to be a bit of a lack of green space for Sally – both in terms of getting off for a walk and for the last wee, so we opted for Castle Gardens. It’s actually very nice! The floating pontoon on the offside borders a locked gate and fence, which gives access directly into the Gardens, which are also locked at 7.00 p.m. so they are private and quiet. There was even a friendly rat that abseiled down the ivy beside the floating pontoon – he didn’t try to get on the boat, though, so we got along just fine!  There was a flock of very well-fed swans which frequented the canal right by the moorings. As I’ve said before, I’m not a great fan of swans but these, having richer pickings from the public on the opposite bank, ignored us completely. There was a bit of noise from towpath revellers during the late evening on the opposite bank (Stewart was having a  celebration, apparently!!) but other than that, it was great. 

On Sunday, I popped to Tesco – twice! The first time was unsuccessful as it was closed due to a flood, so I tried again in the afternoon. It was an interesting trip! Firstly, there were no trollies as, apparently, the students take them back to their accommodation and don’t return them, so every so often Tesco staff go round to the student houses and round them up. I went to every trolley bay in the car park, and to Customer Services, and eventually got the “master” trolley from one bay that they plug the other trollies into. Then, as I was checking out, there was a bit of a ruckus at the exit as a shoplifter was apprehended – lots of shouting and sirens going off. There seemed to be a great number of staff just standing watching the two security guards trying to detain the perpetrator, as well as lots of customers. Then, on the walk back, I nearly got high from the clouds of wacky backy smoke that I had to walk through coming from the student accommodation! 

On Monday 4th April, Tony went to the Lloyds Bank Branch in the City to do some paperwork for the Company’s Pension Fund. We didn’t really feel the need to do much more exploring of Leicester. We’d looked for the “top 10 things to do in Leicester” in Trip Advisor and couldn’t find much that interested us, other than the bits we’d already seen, so having successfully completed said paperwork, we set off after an early lunch. (Also, the moorings were only 2 day moorings so our time was up in any case). We passed the other moorings round the corner but didn’t think they were any nicer than Castle Gardens, so were pleased that we’d moored there. The canal, for a couple of miles going through Leicester once we’d left our mooring, had very little to recommend it, although it did have some very nice artwork/graffiti alongside it. However, on nearing Birstall, where we stopped, it became much more picturesque and rural again. The River Soar meets the canal in Leicester, and the navigation from there northwards is a mixture of the Grand Union Canal, some parts canalised river, and some true river sections which, although controlled to a certain extent by weirs and locks, can, and does, still flood. 

We left Birstall on Tuesday, 5th April, after our scheduled Tesco delivery arrived. There had been a bit of a problem in that our phone numbers hadn’t gone through onto the driver’s information, so he wasn’t able to phone us. He also arrived 20 minutes earlier than our slot, so we weren’t yet looking out for him, but fortunately, I had put that we were on a narrowboat moored near the address I’d given in the notes box, so he actually walked round to the towpath to look for us – brownie points for him!! After we’d loaded our shopping into the boat, we set off and cruised a beautiful river section, working one lock as we went. We moored just before Junction Lock (at the junction of the River Wreake and a canal section). There had been some lovely water parks around Birstall, the remnants of gravel extraction in the area, and these had continued alongside the navigation. Sal and I had a lovely walk around the lakes near the lock but came up against another locked gate whilst following a track, this time an electrified vehicular access gate, so had to retrace our steps. We could literally touch the footpath on the other side of the gate so it was a bit frustrating! Another one of the downsides of following footpath maps in an area you don’t know – I probably shouldn’t have been there but was just following a track shown on the map. 😳

The next day, Wednesday, started with heavy rain, so we waited for the clearer afternoon to set off, with the intention of going just a short distance to somewhere away from trees, as it was forecast to be very windy again the next day. I walked up to the lock to fill it whilst Tony did engine checks, etc, (we were moored just beyond the lock landing so not worth moving up for that little bit) and I’d just opened the lock gate when a boat came round the corner – and without any hesitation at all, steered straight into the now open lock! Then, unbelievably, a second boat rounded the corner and headed for the lock, but seeing the second gate closed, dropped off his crew member on the lock landing, passing our now-moving boat to do so. They all looked at me expectantly – and the lady from the second boat said “shall I go round to open the other gate”? I was going to say ” if you want to go in the lock, lady, then yes!”, but just nodded. Now, I’m always happy to help any boater, but when I’ve prepared the lock for our boat to go in and you both turn up and just steer into it?? Then expect me to clamber over the front gate and open the second back gate for you?? You can all sod off! Neither of them even said “thank you”!! I said loudly “I’m so happy I got the lock ready for you all!” and walked away in disgust back to our boat, waiting for them to finish, and thinking very uncharitable thoughts!  Just as they were about to exit the lock, I walked back up to get the lock ready – again – and the lady from the second boat was absolutely mortified – she thought I was a crew member from the first boat (although I’d like to know how she thought I’d got there in advance of both of the boats turning up?) and was very apologetic and insisted on helping us through the lock – she was forgiven. The first boat, though, was fully aware that we’d been intending to go through the lock – they were just very rude and sneaky!! Having finished at the lock, we continued on, working another two locks, again in lovely river surroundings. We had intended to moor at Sileby Mill, but the mooring wasn’t very good – a weir was opposite the mooring and discharging water at an alarming rate, so it would have been a bit of a bumpy ride with the water constantly flowing into and past the boat. We decided to carry on for the short distance to Mountsorrel. However, when we reached there, there wasn’t much space available. There was half a space behind and half a space in front of a cruiser and another boat already moored there, so we pulled in front, half on the lock landing, mulling over what to do. We were tempted to move the unattended cruiser into the half space we were occupying so that we could fit in his space, but decided better of it, (it’s a bit of a grey area in boating etiquette as to whether it is acceptable for one to move an unattended boat so that you can make use of the mooring) so we had the choice of whether to reverse back onto the half boat space behind it (and have our back end floating about against the river bank, needing to use the gangplank to get off), move on, or stay where we were. By this time, it was 5.30, the promised winds of the next day had already arrived, and it was raining (chucking it down!) again. 🙄 Tony walked up a bit further to see if there were any more moorings round the corner, but found none, and as he arrived back, now nearing 6.30 pm., another boat came up in the lock and took the half boat length behind the cruiser – so we had little choice but to stay put! We pulled the boat back as far as possible; there was still room in front of us for a boat to pull in, so we didn’t feel too badly – anyway, needs must! What a day! 

We stayed there for the next day, Thursday, 7th, which, indeed, did turn out to be very windy. We listened out for any boats so that Tony could run up to open the lock gates, if needs be, to save them having to squeeze in on the lock landing in front of us. There was one boat that went through and another that came up through the lock but didn’t moor, so it was all ok in the end. Tony elected to do both walks that day as he wanted to go up to the derelict castle – I wasn’t going to argue in that weather!

On Friday, 8th April, we set off from Mountsorrel, stopping just beyond Pilling’s Flood lock to hang a load of washing out. It was a very beautiful stretch of waterway – I thoroughly enjoyed it! However, our mooring was right beside the railway line so, after Sal’s walk, we moved up another mile, to a pleasant mooring on the southern edges of Loughborough. We had cruised for 4 miles in total, working 3 locks on the way. 

We could hear a steam train’s whistle whilst moored there and, on Saturday morning, saw the plumes of steam, if not the train itself, heading off on its first trip of the weekend. We set off and cruised the short distance of 1 ½ miles to take us into Loughborough itself. We planned on staying there for a couple of nights as Tony needed to visit the bank, again, on Monday 🙄 having been given the wrong information the last time. 

We moved the boat from the towpath moorings into Loughborough Basin on Sunday, 10th April, in the afternoon after Sal’s walk. We wanted to go out for a pizza that evening and also take advantage of the nearby launderette on Monday, as well as visiting the bank, all of which were much closer to the basin than where we’d moored on the Saturday night. Besides, the basin was there and moorings were available, so why not? We thought it might be a bit tight to turn in the basin, so we reversed down the short arm – it was nice and straight so not too tricky to get down there. Sal seemed to like it there and sat out on the back deck watching the world go by! We expected it to be a bit of a noisy mooring; it was close to a busy road, a Travelodge and student accommodation, but it was really quite quiet. There were a few guys who decided that 12.30 am was a good time to perform skateboard stunts, but they didn’t stay long, so not really a problem. 

On Monday, after doing our visits to the bank and launderette, we set off for an afternoon walk-and-go. We cruised for a mile, working a lock on the way, then stopped on a water point before the next lock. It had been quite a nice day up to that point but then the clouds came over and it started to rain. We decided to call it a day, so after we’d put in enough water to tide us over (it was a really slow water point), we went through the lock and moored below it. It was a nice spot! Tony, whilst chopping some wood, badly cut his finger – not quite down to the bone, but a good chunk of skin and flesh missing! This was after he’d cut his thumb two days previously whilst cooking!! There was a fair amount of blood, so pressure applied and a big dressing and he was sorted, but pretty out of action with one hand. Fortunately, he is quite ambidextrous!

The forecast for Tuesday wasn’t brilliant so we’d planned to stay on our mooring, but it actually turned out to be quite pleasant. Consequently, we decided to walk-and-go in the afternoon, although Tony elected to walk rather than to steer because of his injured fingers. It was a gorgeous cruise! The river was a bit wider, but not wide enough to be scary, and there were some fabulous houses along the riverbank – some of them would rival some of the Thames-side houses we’d seen! This area floods in high water and there were some strange mooring contraptions which can be used in an emergency in times of flood. (Mind you, we couldn’t see how you’d be caught out in an emergency flood situation, bearing in mind that safe moorings were only two miles away! It’d have to be a very unexpected and heavy flood to be caught out!) Our guide book called them “mooring dolphins” – see the photo below – we were mystified as to why they are described as such! We moored up in a lovely spot on the outskirts of the village of Zouch, after a two mile cruise. It was here we saw the first ducklings of the year. 🦆

On Wednesday, 13th, we did another short cruise, going through the lock at Zouch just as we set off. We stopped just before Kegworth New Lock, in another lovely spot. It was, however, in the flight path to East Midlands Airport, so we had quite a few planes coming over, flying quite low, too. They ranged in size but the jumbo jet made the duck hatch rattle a bit! They didn’t fly all night, so it wasn’t too much of a problem – it was quite interesting, in fact!

On Thursday, we set off for the last section of the River Soar, about three miles and two locks to the junction with the River Trent. Tony had got the anchor out as the junction is very wide with a good flow – and with a very large weir downstream, so we thought we’d better be safe than sorry! As we neared the junction, we also donned our lifejackets. We turned onto the River Trent, towards the Trent and Mersey Canal – we will be exploring the Erewash Canal and the River Trent north eastwards soon, both options from this junction, but, for now, the Canal was our destination. We cruised up to Sawley Lock and were helped through by two volunteer lockies – great! We asked about the visitor moorings on the Sawley Cut but were told they were full of “overstayers and tramp boats” – their words, not ours! 😂🤣 They were correct, though, there was no space, but we stopped and put a bit more water in, taking advantage of the time to have lunch. We continued after lunch on the final river section, turning off the Trent onto the Trent and Mersey Canal. We went through Derwent Mouth Lock and moored up. Sal and I had a very pleasant walk back along the river – she was delighted as she found a dead baby rabbit as an afternoon snack – yuck! She wasn’t going to give it up and it was gone in a couple of gulps!! 🤮 We half expected another upset tum the next day but, fortunately, she was ok. 

So, that’s another stretch of water ticked off the list – it took us nearly a month to cruise the Leicester Line – and it has been absolutely wonderful. Apart from a few miles around and through Leicester, and that wasn’t too bad by any stretch of the imagination – it has been glorious – and a waterway we definitely want to cruise again!

On Friday, 15th April, we were going to have a rest day but decided to move after all as we were moored opposite a sewage works – we hadn’t noticed much of a pong the day before but the wind must’ve changed direction and we were getting definite whiffs! Soon after we set off,  we passed the boatyard where Sanguine had been built – we’d come full circle, as this was the first stretch of water that we’d navigated on our boat, having bought it from Shardlow in 2018. We had hoped to moor in Shardlow but there were no mooring spaces available.  We went up through Shardlow lock – there was a queue! We shared the lock with a lovely young couple on a cruiser, warning them that we’d need to fill the lock slowly so as not to make our boat swing in the turbulence and crush their boat! We took it carefully and all was fine. We carried on for another mile or so, mooring in a nice sunny spot.

On Saturday, we moved again, cruising for three miles and working 2 locks. It took a fair amount of time, though, as it was really busy! Having come from the Leicester Line and River Soar and only seeing a few other boats for the last month, it was a bit of a shock to be queuing for locks and passing lots of moving boats!! Of course, it was Easter weekend and a lot of boats were out of their marinas for day trips or the long weekend – there are 3 or 4 huge marinas in that area and it was good to see them out! We moored on a quiet spot all by ourselves, though – just the way we like it!! 🤣