Thursday, July 3, 2014

Through Leicester...Bandits, Beer Cans or just myths?

The first decision for today was whether we tackle Leicester in one big hit, or have just a a couple of hours to Thurmaston and then do Leicester the following day. In the end we decided to go for it. I have to say that the rumours and myths about the potential for problems in Leicester are probably aired more than the good experiences, but you are always on your guard just in case.  

The first few miles were very pleasant, Mountsorrel and Sileby Mill are lovely locations and the amount of wildlife around the overgrown bank vegetation was vast. We met a charity trip boat at Thurmaston Lock. "Are you going through Leicester today?" asks one of the crew. "Yes" was the reply. A wry smile was followed with the words "Don't stop". Safe to assume he's not working for the local tourist board, but his comment was based on what I wondered. 

Sileby Mill
When we came through Leicester last year, Belgrave Lock was simply a disgrace. Full of cans, plastic bottles and plastic, but today it was unrecognisable from that scene. There were two rafts of people picking up the rubbish and doing a great job of making the place look tidy....well done to them and Leicester should be thankful.
Space Centre near to Belgrave Lock
The litter pickers doing a great job
On into the city and the old textile mill is being converted into apartments by the looks of things. New windows and clean brickwork really stand out.
Renovated Textile Mill
The locks are quite heavy and some of the paddle gear missing, but we got into a good routine of working the double locks alone. Lots of folks speaking and offering help, which we took at every opportunity. We met a few boats coming the other way, and each commented on us being the first boat they had seen all day. So why is it that we had to turn nearly every lock as it was full when we arrived? Yes lock gates leak, but not that much. We still haven't got an answer, apart from the obvious one that there was in fact a boat ahead and nobody saw it. 

We eventually ended our big day just short of Kilby Bridge in a lovely peaceful spot. A glass or two of wine and feet up was about all we were good for.
Tonight's mooring.....lovely
Our experience of Leicester today was another good one. Our only observation was the amount of folks who use the waterways area to go and drink. Leicester must be the centre of the universe for those that drink Carlsberg Special Brew, Stella Artois and Holsten Pils, and we know where they usually chuck their tins........

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