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LEICESTER RING 25 SEPTEMBER - 4 OCTOBER 2004

11 Days, 150 Miles, 100 Locks

 

Days
Miles
Locks
From
To
1
9
4
Barton Turns Marina
Willington
2
16
8
Willington
Kegworth
3
17
11
Kegworth
Thurmaston Lock, Leicester
4
13
15
Thurmaston Lock, Leicester
South Wigston
5
9
14
South Wigston
Foxton
6
19
10
Foxton
Watford
7
12
13
Watford
Hillmorton
8
23
4
Hillmorton
Nuneaton
9
8
11
Nuneaton
Polesworth
10
16
3
Polesworth
Fradley
11
5
6
Fradley
Barton Turns Marina
 
150
100
 
 

 

 

Saturday 25th September
Leaving Barton Turns Marina we headed east towards Nottingham on the Trent & Mersey Canal, coming immediately to the first of the 100 locks we were to do on this trip, Barton Turns Lock. Passing through Branston and Burton on Trent, we passed Shobnall Marina and on to Dallow Lock. By now the weather was turning nasty so we decided to moor up for the day at Willington, outside the Green Dragon pub.
Sunday 26th September
Continuing up the Trent & Mersey Canal we came to Swarkstone Lock, the first of the double locks with a height change of 12ft 4in. Passing Weston Lock and Aston Lock we approached Shardlow Lock, at the entrance to Shardlow itself. Soon we passed Derwent Mouth and on to Trent Lock, where we turned right and entered the River Soar navigation.

Straight on for Nottingham, right for The River Soar
The river here is quite wide and deep, and the boat seemed to make very good progress towards Redhill Lock, another double lock. In fact all of the locks on this section were double locks, until we came to the Foxton Flight. We moored for the night at Kegworth Shallow Lock.
Monday 27th September
Leaving Kegworth Shallow Lock we continued down the River Soar. The River Soar is a tributary of the River Trent and is approximately 40 miles long, running mainly through Leicestershire. We passed Zouch, Normanton on Soar, and on to Loughborough. Leaving Loughborough we passed Barrow upon Soar, Mountsorrel, Cossington and on towards Leicester. We moored up beside Thurmaston Lock on the outskirts of Leicester, deciding to do Leicester itself the following morning.

 

Tuesday 28th September
We entered Leicester, past the National Space Centre, a strange building quite close to the canal and housing rockets and other space equipment. The Leicester stretch was quite pleasant for a large city, the canal being quite wide and passing through lots of student accommodation for De Montford University.

The National Space Centre
We carried on through Aylestone, Glen Parva, Blaby, South Wigston mooring at Lock 31, Double Rail Lock, just below South Wigston.
Wednesday 29th September
Leaving Double Rail Lock we passed Kilby Bridge, Kilby, Newton Harcourt, and entered the 880 yard long Saddington Tunnel near Fleckney and Smeeton Westerby. We moored up for the evening at the foot of the Foxton Locks, which are two sets of single 5-rise locks climbing 75 ft up the hill from the Market Harborough branch of the canal. We had dinner in the nearby Shoulder of Mutton pub, which was excellent.
Thursday 30th September
It was raining quite hard as we set off on Thursday morning to do the Foxton locks. A pity really as they are a spectacular set of locks and are Grade II listed, being built nearly 200 years ago. Apparently 200,000 people flock to see these locks each year, and it is heaving in the summer. We moored up at the top of the staircase to allow the rain to cease before going on. We soon came to the Husbands Boswoth Tunnel, 1166 yards long, and on past the junction of the Welford Arm. Passing through Crick Tunnel, 1,528 yards long we moored up at the top of the Watford Flight for the night.

The Foxton Flight
Friday 31st September
We did the 7 Watford Locks early in the morning, comprising a single, a staircase of 4, and tow more singles. This brings you out immediately adjacent to the Watford Gap services on the M1, and you can literally climb over the fence in to the service station for shopping if you want to. How many times have we stopped at Watford Gap without realising that the canal is right next door?

A Boxer van?
At Norton Junction we turned right for Birmingham, passing through the Braunston Tunnel, 2,042 yards long and arriving at the 6 Braunston Locks. We moored up at Braunston to do some shopping in the village, and even found a good fish and chip shop for lunch.

We left Braunston early afternoon and turned right up the Oxford Canal towards Hillmorton. We moored up near bridge 72 for the night, just below Hillmorton Locks.

Braunston

Saturday 1st October
We ascended the three Hillmorton locks, which are paired singles and continued on our way towards Rugby and Hawksbury Junction. Hawksbury Junction, also known as the Sutton Stop, marks the junction of the Oxford and Coventry Canals, and is notable for an elegant bridge built in 1837 and the Greyhound pub.

 

We passed through Bedworth and past the Ashby Canal arm entrance which swings off to the right. From there it was on to Nuneaton, where we moored for the night near Bridge 27.

At the Sutton Stop
Sunday 2nd October
We continued up the Coventry Canal past Atherstone, and on to Polesworth where we moored fro the night due to poor weather.
Monday 3rd October
We continued up the Coventry Canal past Fazeley and on to Steethay, where we stopped to buy diesel. We then continued to Fradley, mooring just below Junction Lock in a good position for a walk to the The Swan for dinner.
Tuesday 4th October
Now on the home stretch, we cruised the 5 miles and 6 locks back to Barton Turns Marina. It was as windy as ever upon our return to Barton, but at least I was able to moor the boat in to its pontoon backwards at the first attempt!