Holding Up His Majesty’s Mail. 19th August

Between bridges 8 and 9 to between Locks 21 and 22

Princess Sparkle and Bilbo Bagins let go of the timeshared outside before Tom and She did. The outside moved slowly away, but it moved slower for them. She said we’d just about caught them up when the bridge drifted up to reached us.

Heavy bridge

On arrival the bridge had only just closed, the crew from NB Drifter just about to climb back on board after letting themselves through, some road traffic and then a couple more boats. I walked over, turned the key unlocking the barriers which are manual here. I closed one side and was walking across to do the other one when a Post Office van arrived. The Postie offered to help push the bridge, a welcome offer as it is really quite heavy. He was also happy to wait for a following boat to come through too, he said he was used to it, normally helping the day boats through. We were all soon on our way again.

Boats everywhere

At the bottom of Foxton boats were here there and everywhere. A day boat wanting to wind from it’s mooring, NB Drifter had opened the bridge and were now backing up the otherside of it towards the bottom of the inclined plane to wait for water. The boat in front of us was trying to find a suitable place to pull in before checking in for the locks, we just waited until there was a suitable pause and headed through the middle turning right under Rainbow Bridge towards Leicester.

Back in the world of widebeams we passed one which you could say was moored in a winding hole, but it’s a big winding hole, they’d taken time to find places for their ropes just below the waters surface. Past Debdale we were now where we should have been last night and entering the SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSI area.

When we first did this stretch we noted the amount of reeds, how narrow the channel was and how few moorings there were. Now it’s pretty much like most canals, certainly there was little difference on our way to Market Harborough. The wind blew the reeds about, a wave of green alongside Oleanna, but thankfully the gusts didn’t seem to be catching us out.

Tunnel mode engaged for Saddlington Tunnel. A chap at Foxton the other day had been saying how long it was and that he’d be cycling over it later. I told him of Standedge Tunnel and how it was six times as long, certainly no way of seeing from one end to the other. With our powerful torch at the back we could see all the bat boxes, you are meant to be able to see the bats swooping out of the tunnel at dusk.

A pause at a mooring for lunch then onwards to the locks.

For Sale

The Top Lock Cottage is for sale, a renovation opportunity apparently, even though it has quite a new kitchen. A big amount of land comes with it too for a guide price of £650,000. They’ve been very careful with their drone photo to include the lock and not too much of the sewage works the nearest neighbour!

Back to wide locks

A C&RT chap was busy running water down, paddles open at both ends of the lock. He was surprised to hear that North Lock in Leicester was fully booked for Tuesday, he didn’t understand why they didn’t just get on and mend it. I suspect that will happen once the school holidays are over with and the height of the season has passed.

Glistening water

At Bridge House Barn it was the lull between ceremony and evening do at a wedding. New guests were arriving at the big teepee, Mick waved at the kids who soon would be busy on the dance floor or hiding under the buffet tables.

We dropped down the first four locks, one pound most definitely low, nowhere near the bywash. I walked ahead to set the fifth lock hoping to moor overlooking Wistow. But then a space with a view showed itself, half an hour short of where we’d planned to be, we pulled in. A good wide towpath, trees friendly cover for Tilly, the willow tree needed a touch of a prune before the pram cover could be lifted, but all good. We just needed the wind to die down now for a barbecue.

A dry bywash

Sadly the wind kept coming and going, it would have fanned barbecue coals too well, so we abandoned that idea and had kedgeree instead.

Feet and bricks

Late evening, photos appeared on a facebook group of water flowing out of the side of the Stainforth and Keadby Canal near to the M18. The poster had reported it to C&RT at midday, no notice had been issued. Speculation of a breach started to spread through social media. We’re not due there for several weeks, but if there is a problem we’ll be needing to take a different route. First decision will be at Trent Lock, if we carry on up the Trent the next decision will be at Keadby whether to go round Trent Falls. For now we’ll watch and see how things progress and hope that our friend David and the other moorers on that pound are okay and don’t end up sitting on the bottom.

4 locks, 8.3 miles, 2 bridges, 1 held up, 1 right, 1 tunnel, 0 mysterons, 1 windswept bride, 1 low pound, 1 boat heading our way, 1 mooring with a view, 2 windy to sit out, 1 happy cat, 1 band playing 80’s 90’s hits into the night.