I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Wednesday 17 May 2023

May 2023 - Kilby, King's Lock and River Wreake Junction

Kilby Bridge – Number 87 (Leicester Line) – Saturday 13th May

The cygnets are in the water.  They are gorgeous, I do wish we were in the marina.  Andy Burns’ photos are amazing. 

It was a strange day lockwise!  We got to the first lock, which was against us, and Richard got into conversation with a guy walking who said he would set the next lock for us, very nice, thank you Sir 😊  In fact out of the 7 locks we did, he set 4 of them for us.  We actually met 5 boats coming up the canal so had help with two more. At the last lock I got into conversation with our Samaritan, and he said that he walks the canal every day and helps out when he can.  Such a nice man and really helpful. 

I am really unfit so have decided to try and walk about half a mile a day to start with.  One of our locks was called Top Half-Mile Lock, which was followed by Bottom Half-Mile Lock, so I went for it.  Big mistake as it was really muddy and at point I almost fell over.  My shoes and jeans were thick with mud.  Oh, and it was .056 of a mile – so much for Half-Mile locks!

We came across a swan family of 9 cygnets who, according to our good Samaritan, are a week old.  Apparently, there were 10 but one went missing   I wish my photo’s were as good as Andy’s.

We pulled over for lunch and tried to decide what we are going to do.  We really need to moor at King’s Lock so that we can go straight through Leicester without stopping, well other than doing some fresh food shopping.  We decided to move 5 minutes further on and moor for the night at Kilby Bridge.  CR&T have services here and that’s about it though it does have nice moorings with bollards and concrete to walk on.  There is also a pub which we did not frequent.

Since leaving Foxton, the canal has been really quiet.  We came across a wide beam yesterday who is going our way and, in fact, is moored in front of us today.  The 5 boats we saw this morning are the only other boats we have seen moving.

2½ miles
7 locks

Kings Lock – Number 38 (Leicester Line) – Sunday 14th May

A bit of a grey start but gradually the clouds lifted, and it turned out to be a nice warm day.

We had hoped that the boat moored in front of us would be going our way and share the locks with us, but they were turning round.  The first lock was full and so were all the rest!  At the second lock a couple out walking stopped for a quick chat.  As they left, she said “enjoy your day and enjoy your life”.  What a lovely thing to say.

We passed someone’s garden pub, I just loved it! 

With the warmth and the sun shining it was so nice to be out on the canal.  I have to say that the past few days haven’t been my favourites.

The May blossom is out and so lovely to look at.  The smell isn’t that bad though it could be nicer!

The canal has been dead boatwise.  We didn’t pass a moving boat all day though one came past us after we had moored up.  However, it was lovely to see so many people walking the towpath, from youngsters to the not so young.  There was a young Mum with her 2 year old son at one lock and she was explaining to him how the lock worked – he was much more interested in Muffin.

Richard had to go down the weedhatch. 

And he found – weed!  That makes a change from pieces of plastic and old mattresses!

Finally, just before we moored up for the day, I could see a field of horses with lots of people milling around.  It was a horse sanctuary, called Foll's Field Home For Life 

We pulled over just above Kings Lock as there is no mooring until Leicester and, to be honest, we don’t like mooring in Leicester.

5½ miles
8 locks

River Wreake Junction (Leicester Line) – Monday 15th May

We were both awake early, so we were away just after 9am.  Look who watched us having breakfast. 

Our first lock was Kings Lock and then we were joined by the River Soar.  

At St. Mary’s Mill Lock there are the old mill buildings.  It’s such a shame that no-one has tried to convert them into flats.  I did wonder that, as there are two lots of electricity cables going over the top if anyone would want to live there. 

The next lock is Freeman’s Meadow Lock which is the home to Leicester Football Club.  It is also a very difficult lock as there is a weir and the wind blows across the meadow pushing the boat towards the weir.  It wasn’t too bad today but last time we were this way it was a bit scary.

Then into the Leicester straight.  You can see from my Waterway Routes map that it used to be wonky.  There is quite a bit of mooring, but most people wouldn’t stay there for long.  We needed fresh food, we had run out of milk and bread.  I had also ordered a couple of things from Amazon which had been delivered to Budgens which is a 5 minute walk from the river.  Sadly, Budgens wasn’t a very good shop, but thank goodness there was a Tesco Express a 2 minute walk from the boat.  They still didn’t have everything I wanted but we have enough to see us through the next couple of days. 

A boat passed us as we were unpacking the shopping, so we buddied up with them through the next 3 locks as they were stopping in Birstall.

We passed the National Space Centre.  Their website says “With six interactive galleries, the UK’s largest planetarium, and the iconic 42m high Rocket Tower, the award-winning National Space Centre is an out of this world experience”.  Maybe we will visit one day. 

We were really hoping that we could moor at one of our very favourite spots just below Thurmeston Lock, but it wasn’t to be.  There were two boats there.  We carried on to the next mooring place and tied up in very long grass and cow parsley.  We had lunch and decided to move on as it really wasn’t a very nice spot. 

We finally stopped just before Junction Lock at the River Wreake Junction. This junction is/was for the Melton Mowbray Navigation which was formed in 1797 when the River Wreake was made navigable.  It was largely river navigation and had 12 locks.  With railway competition, and the closure of the Oakham Canal, to which it was connected, decline was rapid, and the canal closed in 1877. Two hundred years after it was opened, the Melton & Oakham Waterways Society was formed, with the aim of returning the navigation to a navigable waterway once more. 

9½ miles
9 locks

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