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Monday, 1 October 2012

From Loughborough back to Debdale

Monday 24th September The rain that started falling during Sunday afternoon carried on all night and all through the day. The river Soar was obviously going to go into flood and we preferred to be tied up in Loughborough rather than being stuck at a lock. We did various things including catching the new Sweeny film using Orange Wednesdays, we enjoyed it, but it didn’t need a lot of brain power! I also saw another Spitfire fly over! We contacted Mike & Jo on Sarah Kate to find they were shut in at Zouch cut with the flood gates closed.

Thursday 27th and we reversed into Loughborough basin to use the services and to top up with fresh fruit from an excellent fruit shop on ?Church Gate. As we got back to Lily, Mike & Jo arrived and we arranged to set off after lunch, though Mike added that Jo needed to do a quick (?) shop.
It was 2.15 when we set off, reasonable weather but some showers as we made our way to Mountsorrel where we stopped for the night and arranged for Beryl from Wasp to come over for a wine fuelled natter after we had eaten. The five of us had a really good chat and realised how much had passed since last we did so.
Above Mountsorrel Lock, Lily & Sarah Kate on towpath
Beryl's Wasp moored offside on her land

Friday 28th we set off just past 9 as there was slight drizzle, and by the time we had travelled the short distance to Sileby Mill it was very wet! We stopped there to add 100 litres of fuel at 92p and then carried on to Leicester. We didn’t share any locks and only met a few on our way to mooring at Castle Gardens in Leicester. Our daughter joined us for the run from Thurmaston into Leicester, the rain having stopped by the time we arrived to pick her up.
Above Junction Lock a super quality towpath being built as part of
a Sustrans route, just further along work has started on a new bridge
at the river Wreake junction that is being built to a navigable height.

Saturday 29th and a wonderful day forecast, with poor weather on Sunday, so we set off after a Costa by 10 and made our way up the locks. We found that the first 4 locks were against us and that the towpath gate was open......someone wasn’t shutting them! We caught them up at Kings Lock, before which we had crossed 3 boats, and another came down as we went in, but the other boat said they’d stop at Blue Bank for us to join them.
At Freemans Lock new landscaping replaces old brambles etc

The other boat crew were lucky they did catch them up as they had just collected the boat from Pillings Marina near Loughborough and were taking it to Bath. One of the men had a boat already and he had forgotten to bring a BW key and the locks from Kings Lock through to Kilby Bridge have many paddles locked, so they were not going to progress far. They said they had been shutting gates as the gates behind they hadn’t, and they were clearly going to be yet other “Continuous Moorers” near Bath. The incredible thing was the one helming the boat was moaning to Carol about lack of maintenance, so she said it was significantly because so many people were not paying mooring fees or boat licences. For good measure she pointed out that they might have difficulty getting up Foxton Locks as their licence had expired 2 months before!
Big locks, big wash but the bow rope holds Lily from banging around.

In Top half mile Lock, lovely sunny late afternoon

We worked steadily with them to Kilby Bridge where they stopped to get milk & cigarettes, we carried on to Wistow where after 12 miles and 22 wide locks, and after walking I suppose 5 miles, we were very tired.
These cows greeted us as we reached our mooring

Sunday 30th the last day of our annual cruise dawned overcast but far better than the forecast rain and wind! I was casting off as a Canal Time boat came past so I told them we’d catch up with them at the next lock. I don’t think they understood why I said what I did, they were three very pleasant members of an Afrikaner family and had not realised two boats could share a lock. We had a very pleasant time working with them, father was 70 he said, looked under 60, mother was petite and daughter a charming woman who had left her husband at home whilst she came to spend 3 weeks in the UK with her parents.

At Kibworth Top Lock we bade them farewell as they set off before us, it had been a pleasant way of working through the 5 locks. Sadly as we exited Saddington Tunnel, having just passed a day boat, I noticed a warning light on. I expected that we had again thrown a belt off our domestic alternator but investigations later show it is more serious & is going off for checking....thank heavens we got back and are able to stay plugged into mains power.
We execute a 180 degree turn into our home base at Debdale Wharf

So our trip ends, we covered 596 miles, worked through 463 locks and around 20 swing bridges. The engine ran for something near 700 hours, but when the engine alternator didn’t run the clock didn’t either so it is an estimate. We were away for 22 weeks

Finally I don't normally blog whilst at base but we intend to head out for short trips and also I've got quite a few photos I meant to put in during the cruise but managed to forget to do so. Look in every now and then. Next cruise proper should start in April 2013, thanks for looking.

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