Friday, 4 July 2008

Leicester, Hello and Goodbye.

8 Locks, 7½ Miles. Now moored below Birstall Lock.

Due to previous experiences in Leicester by the Kalimera crew it was decided that a 6am start would get us through the city while hopefully all the trouble makers were still in their beds. Going through the city was a real eye opener in that there is over a mile of excellent water front with bollards and mooring rings and not a boat to be seen. What sort of message does this give visiting boaters?

Empty moorings in the centre of Leicester

The other eye opener was the unprotected weirs, some of which were huge. Even on the fens the weirs were marked by orange or green buoys chained together but these had nothing. The river is at present only in the green zone so water levels are quite manageable so I would hate to see these weirs when the river floods and goes into the red zone.

Scary unprotected weirs, thank goodness the river is low

The scenery was quite varied with the new university buildings and the space museum compared to a hell of a lot of Victorian style factories now standing empty and derelict.

National Space Centre

Through the last mentioned area we were stirring up the sediment on the bottom releasing untold methane gas and the water was absolutely black. The water looked as if it was really boiling with all the bubbles rising to the surface. There must have been a lot of industrial waste dumped in this stretch of river over the years.

Beautiful riverside homes in Leicester

Upon arrival at Birstall lock 45 the plan was to go to the local Somerfield supermarket for a few groceries and then carry on but the moorings are in a very pleasant area so we decided to stay for the night. Unfortunately this has proved to be a bit of a disappointment to us due to light fingered kids. Let me explain, just after 6pm we decided that as there was a very nice Fish and Chip shop close by we would have a cooks night off and have a fish and chip tea. As we left the boat there were 3 young lads fishing just in front of the boat. The boys were well behaved and appeared to be of good caliber so we thought no more about it. When we returned the boys had gone and so had an old football that we had wedged between the boat and the wall to stop the boat banging.

Spot the heron, we have seen more today than any other day in the last 18 months.

We did actually find the ball in the water by another boat about 100 yards further down river. We knew that the ball couldn't have got there by itself so we guessed that the boys had pulled it out but when they found that it was knackered had thrown it back into the river. Back on the boat we were just settling down to our tea when we felt somebody on the boat. I shot out through the back doors to find two of the three boys had come back, just at this moment Dot spotted that one of my fishing rods which I had on the roof on the off side of the boat was missing. I shouted to the boys and had a very annoyed exchange of words. They were the only people in the area so it must have been one of them who got onto our boat. Just at this moment another lad with a dog came along and said that there was a fishing rod in the long grass just past our boat. It turned out that this was my rod. Dot thought that perhaps they hadn't realised that we were back on the boat and took their chances but when I appeared out of the back doors they must have dumped the rod before they were caught with it. Hopefully they will think twice about going near a boat in future.

1284 locks, 1847½ miles, 43 Tunnels, 42 swing bridges and 19 lift bridges since Nov 2006

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