Monday, 11 August 2014

The Good, the Bad & the Ugly

Monday 4th August

On the way back to Nottingham we stopped for water at Holme lock.  On the way down we knew we were in the vicinity  of Holme Pierrepoint, the National Watersports Centre, but as we didn't get off the boat, had no idea that the White Water Slalom ran right next to the lock.

On the other side of the lock landing was this dream boat for sale.  If only!

Once back in Nottingham we moored up outside the Magistrates Court, right in the middle of town for lunch, and then moved a mile or so for supplies at Sainsburys where we were able to wheel the trolley right back to the boat.  What a convenient city Nottingham is for boaters.
River Soar
About 8 miles outside Nottingham we joined the Grand Union Canal Leicester section which is made up of part River Soar, part canal & below Leicester, the river Sence. The River Soar sections are very tranquil and very pretty. In parts it is so clear you can see the bottom.

At Mountsorrel there is this attractive housing development which on approach looked like renovated old buildings on a wharf, but on closer inspection proved to be a new housing development with moorings.  Neat eh!

This grand bridge at Mountsorrel carries the railway which has recently been renovated by a group of local volunteers. As early as 1860 there were eight and a half miles of track serving the local quarries of the Mountsorrel Granite Company, now owned by Lafarge Aggregates. The line ran from the Great Central Railway at Swithland Sidings, around the quarries, over the Grand Union Canal at Mountsorrel, to the Midland Main Line at Barrow-upon-Soar. The line fell out of use in the 1950s, the track was taken up in the 1960s, and most of the route was abandoned.
As we approached Leicester the National Space Centre dominated the skyline.  Unfortunately there was nowhere to moor in order to visit it! 

As we entered Leicester City, all changed. The canal-side became very industrial, mostly dilapidated, the towpath was littered with rubbish, graffiti adorned the walls and where there were no buildings the tall hedgerows & trees shut out all the light giving a claustrophobic feel. The locks leaked and were in very bad repair and hard work. Pretty Ugly really.

All that is left of the old Wolsey Textile factory established 1744.  The rest was demolished in 2009 to make way for a housing development.  At one time Leicester was the centre of the hosiery trade. see

We had been warned that  Leicester had only one safe mooring pontoon and it was definitely not advisable to moor anywhere else.  It certainly wasn't worth writing home about so we continued on our way. 
 Leicester has a lot to offer the visitor and should be ashamed of it's canal-side. It could certainly take a leaf out of Nottingham or Newark's books.

After the depressing journey through Leicester and it's outskirts it was a real pleasure to reach the countryside again.  We were now in famiiar teritory as some 15 or so years ago we lived in nearby Market Harborough.

We moored up near Wistow and took a walk to the Wistow Rural Centre accross the fields.

A glimpse of the beautiful Leicestershire countryside through the hedgerow.

Aylmer emerging from the Saddington Tunnel.  The guide book said there were bats in the tunnel so I opted to walk the half a mile over the top while Tony drove through the tunnel.

Arriving at Foxton we opted to turn left towards Market Harborough & leave the famous Foxton Locks for another day.

After a small incident with a road swing bridge,( where we somehow locked the whole system up & held the traffic up for bout 10 minutes until some helpful boater came to our rescue)  we approached the Union Wharf at Market Harborough.

Marion, a very good friend drove over from Corby to visit us. The expected rain held off, the sun came out & we sat on the back deck having a good ole chin wag!

We holed up in Market Harborough during the promised storms with a quick foray into the town between showers.  On Monday morning, after stocking up with supplies, we set off to tackle Foxton Locks.

Mum, by the way, had a successful double hip operation and is now recuperating at home. We are making our way to Crick where we will leave the boat and hire a car so that I can get home & care for Mum while the rest of the family are away on holiday.

Monday 11th August

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