Day 20 – Kilby to Foxton

There was a nice couple moored in front of us on Toe the Line, we were up and ready to go at 0830 for the 15 locks to Foxton but would definitely prefer sailing in convoy, so we let them gather their senses, have a fry up and then leave together  … at 0940.

We didn’t take many pix as we had come this way before. Much easier going back as we’d done this stretch all on our own some 3 weeks ago. Gosh is it only 3 weeks – seems like we’ve been out for months. Easily losing track of the day now. We arrived at Foxton hours ahead of any plan that we might of had, even though we were following a day-hire boat who’s occupants drove at 1 mph all the way from Saddington tunnel to Foxton. Odd.

Still much to our surprise, Foxton wasn’t that busy, it was late afternoon and so we were added to the Lock keeper’s list of boats. As soon as Life Goes On (also from Yelvertoft) comes down we could go in! Viv was going to drive this time and I’d do the locks!

A big Grockle centre this and a pain to “moor and wait” as opposite to us is a tour boat’s moorings and there are so many others coming and going . .  you can see here the two pubs plus souvenir shop … right off we go Viv . .

Viv did a grand job of driving the 20 ton, 65 feet boat thru all these cavernous lock chambers

all I did was wind up the very easy paddles and chat with the volunteer lock keepers and grockles.  All the gates were opened by young children …good.

Quite a quick uphill climb and a moor up at the visitor moorings along the top level but we had a problem – loud rumblings from the prop and no steering!

No waurez. Boat’s not going anywhere. Up with the stern hatch and open up the weed hatch to reveal a huge square of thick, black plastic neatly collaring the prop – sorted:

After a longish day, time for a remedial pint of Inclined Plane at the Bridge 61 pub and then back for turkey risotto leftovers.

So that’s it, no more locks, we’ve done 144 in total and will have covered around 166 miles. 

We’ll move from here later, after the rain (which has so far failed to arrive) to Welford for the Bank Holiday weather (yes a whole day of rain forecast) and then hopefully some of that remedial painting if we can.

Then it’s back to home at Yelvertoft and then back to the house to try and get it rented out.

Day 19 Leicester to Kilby Bridge


A nice bright day as we bid farewell to the city of Leicester. Dozens of swans gather on this stretch as we head for Freeman’s Meadow Lock. I snapped this one coming in to land.

We did see a neighbour, Peggy Ellen, opposite but they didn’t seem ready to go so we pushed off … they came along later and caught us up. So, in convoy again – nice, as these locks can be heavy.


Kilby bridge for lunch & overnight.


A scenic spot. Evening meal was over in the Navigation. Friday night is fish night, so Steve had a Navigation burger (£6.95) and Viv had Thai fishcakes. Very tasty and good value with Adnams Broadside to wash them down.



Day 18, I think, Leicester!

We decided to stay a second night. Something we’ve not done for a while and also to give the solar panels a chance to prove their mettle in keeping the batteries alive. Had to wait for the sun to come round but at full sun it was putting over 20 amps out … nice. Also chance for Viv to visit the open market:


Quite a pleasant city . .


Quite a lot of fuss over this chap … whose remains they dug up under a car park …


Saw his tomb in the cathedral but wasn’t too keen to pay the £7.65 to visit the Richard III experience … I can’t but helping thinking about the rhyming slang!


Saw this strange craft passing by … it’s a weed cutter.  It has a giant underwater cutter … could have done with this ahead of us on the Erewash Canal.

Bought some fresh seafood in the market to supplement the frozen ones . . another pauper’s supper:

Wanlip to Leicester

We spent the morning walking the dog in the Watermead Country Park – a huge park – once gravel pits but now a series of large lakes, which Toby just loves. As the sun then came out, we thought we’d push on to Leicester – just 3 hours away. A beautiful, scenic route along the Soar:

There’s that Space Centre again

Swan’s nest bridge and on into Leicester to those visitor pontoon moorings again:

An evening sortie into the city . .  past the cathedral …

and our quest … to locate the Ale Wagon – owned by the Hoskins family, who used to have their own brewery (Tom Hoskins) many years ago. Some good beers (Tiny Rebel – “Dirty Stop Out”, oak smoked stout, nice and a few of their own beers too). 

Then on to the Criterion …

where we tried their Pig Pub beer “Weiner Citra” – very nice.

Day 16 – Wanlip

Shortish day today as rain promised in the afternoon. We’ve had very Camelot weather on this trip, i.e. sun during the day and rain at night or after we’ve stopped chugging along. So 3 to 4 hours today – lovely bimble along the river Soar. The boat really does pick up her skirts and zoom along. It’s actually nice to retrace our steps … we went too fast & too rushed coming down, so chance to have another look. Some very twisty bits, then Barrow-upon-Soar, Mountsorrel … then back to Wanlip and Watermead Country Park – full of lakes for the Boggle to go for a swim or six.  We decided to moor at the Hope & Anchor (is there a theme to this trip??), as there’s free mooring, a water point and open views to assist the solar panels … although in the rain – they don’t do much. Still, an amp is an amp. We’ve collected nearly 300 ampere-hours so far … only 36,000 to go to recoup the outlay!  The main point of having them is to lay off using the engine to charge batteries in a nice secluded & quiet spot.

Talking of that black Boggle, here he is.  Still a bit skittish over boat life and every bump makes him cry “Let me off!”.  Still, I’d like to think he is getting better.

Saw this fellah, opposite our mooring today. We also spotted an otter swimming across the river.

The 1860 conveyor or Echo bridge, No 25 near Mountsorrel.

A bit damp but our mooring for a night or maybe two

With heavy rain forecast overnight – bit concerned to see their flood defences in the car park. Time to ease springs …

Day 15 – Back to Loughborough

With rain forecast later (we aim to avoid boating in the rain), we set off from Trent Lock at 0840 and steamed from the Trent to the Soar … Kegworth Deep Lock, Normanton, Zouch (pronounced Zotch, we’re told) and back to our mooring right beside the Albion pub.  We gave Toby a decent walk into town via the Organ Grinder (a Blue Monkey Brewery pub – we had some Infinity (quite good) and some Marmoset (OK) – a great place!) and then the Queen’s park.  A beautiful park with magnificent flower beds, a bandstand and even an aviary. We also got Toby’s blue ball stuck in a tree (how does Steven do that??). We asked a kid (Assim?) to help with his small football but no luck – we even got that stuck too – really embarrassing!! Then a group of students came over and some lads climbed onto one another’s shoulders and pulled bits of tree down until the ball fell . Cheers, guys.

Time to return to boat to chill …

Viv takes the helm … not much she can hit, she says on the wide river Soar

Seems to be a pecking order here – seagulls on top, ducks below

We passed Pinxton Roses – all safe and snug at the Soar Boating Club!

Day 14 – Back at Trent Lock

Has it really been a fortnight?  Seems more like a whole month or two?  Had a slight lie in – didn’t start up until 0840. Just a short 2 -3 hr trip from Sandiacre, down the Erewash to Trent Lock and moor on the Trent for the night.  A pint in the Steamboat (oo err, 3 times in a week??) to say Goodbye to Bob & Carolyn – won’t be the same without them!

looks picture – postcard

a happy Viv & dog (both off the boat!)

Not long before we see the power station hoving back into view

Ah, Trent Lock and already the crowd gathers . . 

Could it be the Steamboat pub?  They had Dragon Slayer and a Double Stout (Nottingham brewery and 7.3%). Plus a Turkey roast dinner for £7.95. Time to say our farewell to Bob & Carolyn and moor up for the night.

a very windy spot and a lee shore but nice to be next to a great expanse of water again.

Day 13 – Langley to Sandiacre

Time to head back down the weed-strewn, shallow canal. Plan to take it easy. Moor at the scenic Sandiacre cottages by the weir.

always time for  tea & biscuits

There goes Mr Robert (Bob) Harding in Pinxton Roses – our travelling companion for the last few days.

why can’t all pubs be like this one?

Viv & Carolyn take a stroll to view the famous Bennerley viaduct

After struggling back through all the weeds and unwieldy locks, we arrive back here, a nice serene spot. And the site of the former entrance to the Derby canal.

26 degrees! A hot day but music to the solar panel’s ears:

All charged up and on float – despite all the cloudy & rainy weather, we’ve still put 131 Ah’s into the batteries, which is nice.

End of Erewash – Langley Mill

Still travelling with our lovely companions: Bob & Caroline, we agreed a set off time of at 0845 and travelled with some trepidation as the outskirts of Ilkeston were supposed to be a bit, well, dodgy.  However, it all seemed fine to us. Still finding all the locks very heavy, hard to shift and paddle gear that refuses to budge. Bob’s magic ratchett windlass managed to shift em all.Some very low bridges and the final stretch above Eastwood lock was a mass of green – covered in weed and propeller grabbing reeds underneath. Very slow progress – African Queen stuff indeed but we made it and even managed to fit in the wee basin at the end.  This is the end of the Erewash but the start of what was the Cromford canal and Nottingham canal. Not a very scenic spot but very handy for Asda, B&Q and a great pub: The Great Northern.

An unusual sign – looked around for em but didn’t see any.

The start of the green stretch …

The Great Northern Basin

Nice meal in the pub (2 for £10! Plus Oakham beer …) and then the trek back tomorrow … .

Erewash Canal

Yesterday was spent retracing our steps back through the Nottingham canal (pitstop at Sainsbury’s – again!) and then back up the Trent to Trent Lock. So confident was I that Viv was in control of the boat, that I took a shower and left Viv on the helm for this river trip. Magnificent. More rain overnight but beer back at the Steam Boat Inn, nice.

Today we started off in the drizzle but it soon cleared as we actually passed thru Trent Lock and into the Erewash Canal.

Not a great deal of boats come this way as it is a dead end; about 12 miles and 15 locks to a basin …  and then back again!  It’s all D.H. Lawrence country  . .

lots of houseboats

and mills . . 

Sandiacre lock cottages

Steve operates the lock & Viv drives …

Quite an ordeal, to be honest, with shallow canals full of weed … but we made it to Potter’s Lock – just before Ilkeston (or Ilson as they say). two-thirds the way with just 5 locks and 4 miles to go. We met a lovely couple on Pinxton Roses – both pensioners and a treat to share locks with.  They made the journey all the more easy.

This is a piccie for Jenny – a baby Coot eating blackberries!  I do hope you get some roofing felt. Cheers!