Don’t Let The Swans Through! 20th August

Between Locks 21 and 22 to Ellis’s Bridge 86


Kingfishers could be heard darting along the canal, then as we made ready to push off more of the high pitched calls could be heard from the pond/small lake just behind our mooring. Maybe we should have got chairs out last night and sat down there waiting to see them.

St Wiston’s Church and cows

One more lock and a mile before we reached where we should have been last night. Here the towpath is narrow, so we’d not have felt happy having a barbecue even if the wind had died down. However the view is good across to St Wiston’s Church all the meadows were filled with buttercups on our first visit here back in 2015.

Newton Top Lock had a sign on it’s top gates, warning to not let the swan family down as they would then fight with another family. We took our time, once the lock was full I leant against the gate to keep it shut until Oleanna’s bow had been positioned in such a way to hopefully exclude the swans, Dad was the ring leader, but we kept him out, the gate closing as close to the rudder as was possible. Thankfully today there were no signs about C&RT running water down the locks, this next section used to have problems with low levels.


Below the second lock sat a boat, moored on the lock landing. Someone has written the reason for the boat being there on the lock gate.

Top Half Mile Lock is one where the camera has to come out. For some reason I like the tree alongside it, it’s on my favourite tree list. It has a pleasing shape, it’s position by the lock makes it photogenic no matter what season you pass in. I took lots of photos, then struggled as usual to try to keep the lower gates closed.

Cherry Pickers galore

Behind the hedge, across a golden field three cherry pickers had people hard at work, the electrification of the Midland Main Line, no trains today.

A half mile until the next few locks, each and everyone of them empty, we were following someone towards Leicester, most probably NB Raggamuffin who passed us yesterday, they’ve not been seen since.

Those bottom gates are annoying, requiring to be closed before filling up the lock, cracking a top paddle at Bumble Bee Lock 29 is the only way to keep those gates closed. When we dropped down the gates opened themselves, Mick pushed Oleanna over to shut the offside gate and lower the paddle. We both held the gates closed for a while, they lulled us into a false sense of security staying shut until our backs were turned. Oleanna had by now positioned herself below the lock so that it was hard for Mick to step back on board despite having taken a centre line with him. I however could get on almost at the bow, then walk through the cabin, disappointing Tilly as I went as we’d not stopped for the day.

Bloomin gates!

Once we were both back onboard we glanced behind us, both gates wide open again as they had been when we’d arrived above! Heyho.

A suitable mooring was soon found a distance away from the road, maybe deep enough to eat out this evening after a small amount of nettle pruning. Tilly wasn’t impressed though the sideways trees not interesting enough and quite dense and don’t ask me about the footfall! I don’t know where it falls from!

A catch up phone call to the London Leckenbys was made, news of holidays, birthdays, house sales, future plans and Andrew and Josh’s current backpacking in Scotland were exchanged. Mick interrupted me, a Policeman had stopped to ask if either of us had seen a young lady. In the photo she was wearing a mortar board and thick rimmed black glasses, the Police were concerned for her. There had been numerous people come past since we’d stopped, but none I’d really taken much notice of. I hope they find her safely at a friends.

Blue, fluffy, golden, green

The amount of footfall including bicycles put us off sitting out, instead our meal was cooked in the oven. Baked Basa with garlic and lemon with roasted vegetables. Basa a first for us, just a white fish really, nothing to write home about.

It was okay

During the day a visit to the leak on the Stainforth and Keadby had been made by the chap who runs the Trentlink group on facebook. He’d come across two banksmen. The foliage around the area had been cut back so that the leak could be monitored more easily, the rest of the stretch still quite overgrown. More photos and a video were on view. It’s a worry as there’s quite a lot of water where it shouldn’t be, but the levels in the cut remain at normal height due to the pound being fed from the River Don.

8 locks, 3.7 miles, 1 photographic tree, 4 troublesome gates, 1 missing person, 1 outside not being awarded with any stamps, 1 heel turned.