It must be age cos we’ve done this journey before, years before on a hire boat and then two years ago when we had the solar panels fitted, but then it was all calm and serene; the river gauges were off the bottom of the green and it was hot & sunny! It all changes when you get a bit of rain and anxiety begins! Friday saw us settled at Watermead and it was still drizzling. I cycled with my new Bickerton down to the first lock at Thurmaston – all OK. Amber I think. Then on to Birstall – hmm, just on the red but the flow was fairly serene. We got a bit downhearted with this drizzle so popped over the road to the Hope & Anchor for lunch – sorry no dogs – so put Toby back on the boat and returned to the pub. Only Abbot as the real ale, hmm, items also not available from the menu. And what we did have was poor to be honest! It looked tired and a bit, well, grubby. So bad move. We skedaddled back to the boat. Then a boat went passed us – some Kiwis on a hire boat – they confirmed that all was OK further upstream, so we decided to go. It should take us about 4 hours – we often use http://canalplan.org.uk/ to plan our route as it does give you a good idea of how long a section should take. Going upstream with a bit of fresh on (as they say) means you go slower, although our boat did well – Axiom prop and all – steering the twisty, windy river was tricky but we encountered no problems at all and got to Leicester early – six miles and five big locks. We just managed to squeeze in behind Bibendum (Nunc est bibendum = now is the time for drinking!), fellow boaters from Crick.
Here’s Birstall lock – just off the red
And here’s why it’s dangerous to go sailing on rivers in flood – if you didn’t know the exact course of the river, you could end up in a field, with these swans & geese!
Often tricky to know which arch to head for but the rule is . . . the towpath one and/or the biggest one!
The final lock (No 42) with some graffiti and murals
The river gauge here is well into the green, so a sigh of relief from all.
Here’s the new visitor moorings at Friar’s Mill – we are at the end, behind Bibendum, Cumbrian Lass and Swansong.
This was a derelict area that has been smartened up. The moorings have water (and eventually electricity) plus a refuse area and a secure padlocked entrance (at night & weekends).
Leicester even has its own Stargate:
And still it rained but we gave the dog a good walk then headed to the Criterion pub
They had an underground type map of all the pubs in Leicester!
They wouldn’t let Toby in 2 yrs ago (new carpets) but this time they did! A good range of beers (Spitting Feather’s – RSI and Market Harborough Brewery’s Whirlpool No.2 – excellent) and a food menu of just pizza – all handmade too – brilliant. One Diablo and one Gondolier please!
A soggy end to the day but at least we were wet on the inside too! Sorry, a rather fuzzy one of Viv but a happy, smiley face . . . must be the Whirlpool No 2 !