Monday, June 10, 2013

Sunday & Monday

Our departure from Leicester was not nearly as pleasant as our arrival. We came in from the south on a broad sweep of river lined with clean, tidy and impressive buildings of all sorts (many of them owned by the University). Our journey up through the north of the city and its suburbs was dreary at best, passing through the unkempt butt-end, littered with rubbish and graffiti, and lined with shabby old business properties, many of them derelict. The water smelled foul, the locks were dirty and vandalised. It was good to get out of the built-up area and move out into the extensive parkland beyond, acres and acres of water meadows, now turned into a very attractive public recreational facility.

We moored up for the night at the Hope & Anchor pub restaurant just past bridge 19. It was late lunchtime on a Sunday, and the pub was extremely busy, the car park full. We took a look at the menu, and decided against eating there, but it was a good place to stop, being far enough away from the bulk of the diners for us to avoid feeling somehow out of place on the boat, and being very quiet throughout the evening and night.

This morning was chilly, warming slowly as time passed, but never being particularly bright. The countryside was lovely, however. We spent much of our time, not on the narrow canal, but on wider and deeper rivers, the Soar and the Wreake which share their channel with the canal on and off for miles. Where they are separate, they run alongside each other, and the whole length is dotted with weirs of various sizes, often with impressive amounts of water rushing over them. The water meadows continued, and the whole scene was beautiful.

On rivers, you can't generally just stop and moor at the towing path, as you can most of the time on canals. Instead, you have to find a designated mooring, such as the one by the pub. We chose one at Barrow-on-Soar, but needed to do some shopping first, and find water and waste services.

In fact, that turned out to be difficult. As we discovered last year, it is often the case that our map books - latest editions - have wrong information regarding where these services are to be found, and, as was the case today, we have on several occasions stopped for services at marines and boat yards, to be told that we can't use them there, or they are no longer available. Today, we were finally successful at Sileby Mill Boatyard.

Shopping was also a problem. The best place we could find on our map was the town of Mountsorrel, but couldn't stop there because no moorings were provided! How much more trade the local pubs and shops would do if boats were welcomed!

The shopping was finally done at Barrow-on-Soar, where we took the last remaining space in one of the two mooring places, and settled in for the night.

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