Friday, July 17, 2015

Leaving Leicester behind for something more beautiful

The next morning's drizzle did nothing to make Leicester look any more pleasant, so we lowered ourselves out of the fag-end of the city, happy to leave behind at last the almost incessant sirens of police and ambulance services which had been with us since our arrival. Slowly, the deserted, derelict mills and warehouses disappeared behind us, and the trees, hedgerows and fields became the scene. The Watermead Country Park and boating lakes were home to a huge number and variety of birds. The best bit of Leicester, I should think. The river got wider, grand at times, and very beautiful, sometimes merging with the River Wreake. There were several locks, remote and quiet. We saw very few other boaters, and those we met commented that they had, too, and were very eager to chat, as if they'd been parted from human company for too long.

After lunch at Sileby Lock, we moved on to Mountsorrel, where we met with a large party on a hire boat. It was all a bit stressful, to be honest. They had no idea how dangerous moving boats can be, despite warnings from others, and children climbed over it and walked up and down the gunnel as the boat was being eased into the lock alongside us. The guy at the tiller was obviously very new to the task, and struck the wall outside the lock very hard, nearly throwing two of the children into the water, and then drove into the lock gate that I had closed behind Kantara. It would have been her they'd hit otherwise.

Wood sculptures at Sileby Lock

On along the wide and beautiful river towards Barrow-on-Soar. A group of twenty or so small children stood by a host of canoes, awaiting their instructors' permission to get in and have fun. They waved their arms and paddles, cheered and shouted enthusiastically, and Grace and I passed, waving like Tim and Pru. At Barrow Mill Basin, we got the last visitor mooring. It's a pleasant, peaceful spot, the only noise being the nearby weir. We tied up for the night.

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