Saturday 27th August; Loughborough to Trent Lock
It was reasonably bright when we set off to cruise down as far as Chain Bridge in Loughborough. We moored close to the bridge and went up to Sainsbury’s for a few bits and pieces, not expecting the forecast rain to have arrived before we came out again …. it was light though, so a speedy walk back down from the basin meant we didn’t get too wet. We had a cup of tea, then as the rain eased off I nipped back up to Sainsbury’s where I had spotted some recycling bins – paper, card and glass. Just before we left six boats went by going in our direction, so we were not in a hurry to set off! We arrived at Loughborough lock to find a single boat shuffling up on the lock moorings, so we teamed up with Northern
Star Light for most of the other Soar locks.
Our initial plan was to use the facilities at Bishop Meadow lock, but the Elsan there is now closed. We should have turned left at Chain Bridge and gone up to the basin where there are facilities. One of the liveaboards offered the use of their Elsan in the car park – not really to be recommended as there was no tap to rinse your cassette or your hands either, but needs must. Anyway, on we went past Normanton with its photogenic church.
We met a couple of CRT chaps measuring up a lock gate back in Leicester – it looks as though more locks will be getting the footway widening treatment. Most if not all of today’s locks had already had extra width added which makes crossing them much easier even for smaller people like me.
We decided to stop above Zouch lock for lunch, though our companions opted to eat on the move. We had a delightful break in the sunshine, dropped down the lock and enjoyed the long cruise to Kegworth Deep lock where to our surprise we caught up once more with Northern Light. They had arrived to find six narrowboats and a widebeam in front of them and had only just reached the head of the queue!
As we got closer to Ratcliffe lock the power station at Ratcliffe on Soar began to come into view. The rain had started as we left Keqworth Deep lock and was steady but not too heavy. Another short queue at Ratcliffe lock, and then at last it was our turn. A boater having a break on the offside mooring bollards came to give us a hand as the weather worsened though I don’t think I would have been using an umbrella - as we chatted there was a flash and a mighty clap of thunder. The storm continued as we dropped down the lock. We said farewell to Northern Light as they were going on to Shardlow. Luckily there was a boat coming up so I could get back on board. The photo doesn’t show the pouring rain!
The IWA Boat Show was apparently happening at Redhill Marina. There were lots of boats moored, though we had no idea which were just visiting and which had permanent moorings here. One had some fabulous artwork; named for the film presumably.
Something was certainly happening at the marina, or would have been if it hadn’t been raining! Several boats were there for viewing, some gazebo-type stands with lone and glum volunteers or salespeople, and no punters to be seen anywhere. In the deserted children's play area the operator sheltered inside his bouncy castle.
Northern Light drew ahead of us as we turned onto the Trent, as we approached the moorings below Trentlock at the start of Cranfleet Cut. We wanted something easy in the foul weather and there was one perfect space opposite the sailing club. Dave turned so we were ready for the morning – we will be going up the Erewash, not down the Trent – and we were sitting inside with a cuppa before the really bad weather hit.
We wondered about going to one of the pubs to eat. On a Bank Holiday Saturday they would normally be packed, but with the weather as it is there weren't many visitors about. But after we had walked Meg in a short dry spell the storm returned and the rain was even heavier so we junked that idea and stayed on the boat.
10 miles, 7 locks including 2 flood locks