Monday, June 24, 2013

Leicester Ring - day 17

Our Willington mooring
Before leaving Willington, we went for a walk down to where an old, former toll bridge elegantly crosses the River Trent. Before the bridge was built, the river separated two communities. When the bridge was built to solve this problem, the people found the tolls to be excessive, leading over some years to a great deal of local pressure to free the bridge entirely of the tolls. This finally happened an 1898.

Other than the bridge, the town seems to have little to offer. The Co-Op was useful, but limited.

After an early lunch, we set off under a cloudy sky, but with less wind than yesterday, and, as we travelled, the sun came out and it became pleasantly warm. Confident in my newly-learned skills, I took the tiller for a good share of the time. The canal was lovely, but the further scenery limited by tall trees for much of the way. The only two locks were single width, and just 3'6” and 3' deep respectively. We passed through Burton-on-Trent, once famous for its numerous breweries, and still having the smell of malt and hops in the air from the few remaining companies.

Dallow Lock
Just past Branston Lock we came into the outskirts of the village of Branston – apparently where the famous Pickle was first made – and moored next to The Bridge pub restaurant. The sun is shining brightly, the wind is low, and it looks as if we might be in for a spell of summer!

Branston Lock

We'd like to issue a plea to fellow boaters! When you hear a warning blast from a boat horn, you answer it with a return blast. We hooted in a very proper manner as we approached, very slowly, a blind bend that turned into a bridge, our way also obscured by a tree. We proceeded with care only to meet the bow of a boat emerging from the bridge. Grace managed an emergency stop and evasive action while they continued on their course, the wife looking like thunder, angry, we presume, at the obtrusive noise we had made; and the helmsman shouting 'we heard you!'  We were, unfortunately, too astonished to shout back the obvious reply: 'Well, we didn't hear you - we'd have known you were coming if we had!"

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