Monday 15th July posted later …..
We had a later start today; Dave cycled back to South Wigston for some shopping while Deb did some washing – we hadn’t reckoned on this hot weather and keep running out of shorts and t-shirts! We stopped at Kilby Bridge for water and to empty a cassette. This service area, unlike some, is extremely well kept. There followed another series of very heavy locks, with so much weed and chunks of reed that the gates wouldn’t open properly. The lock fairy was also having a bad day – the locks were mostly against us, and the gates that opened themselves were always the ones you wanted to stay closed and there was a lot of running back for Debby to open the bottom paddles quickly enough to keep the top gates closed! Now we are clear of Leicester the canal is much prettier. Some stretches we cool and shady and now and then we were cruising through clouds of willow fluff (that’s the white bits in the photos!)
We managed to find a small patch of shade at Newton Harcourt for a lunch stop – the banks are mostly very overgrown along this stretch. The weather is scorching hot - we have drunk more squash and elderflower this last week than we did in the whole of last summer!
We thought we had been working hard this afternoon but on one of the locks there was a house being renovated; there seemed to be no road access, and there was a scaffolding lorry parked in a field one the other side of the lock. One of the guys was carrying 2 poles at a time on his shoulder along the field edge, over the fence, across the bottom gates and 50 yards down the towpath while his mates worked in the shade erecting the scaffolding.
We found a good shady spot for the evening near Fleckney and it was time for some painting and cleaning.
We have seen some lovely wild flowers since we left Leicester; flowering rush, water plantain, water forget-me-not, arrowhead, yellow flag, yellow and white waterlilies, pretty blue meadow cranesbill, watercress, and meadowsweet perfuming the air as we passed.
13 heavy locks and 6 miles.