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The Odyssey 2011: Day 37

Posted by indigodream on 1 September, 2011

Loughborough to Hope and Anchor Bridge (just outside Thurmaston)

Friday 5th August

Happy hounds Archie, Henry and Ranger.....

We had the usual tedious trip up to the boat, despite leaving home quite early in the afternoon. We had a boating blogger’s meeting on the cards as we’d heard from the crew of nb Matilda Rose – they were moored just in front of Indigo Dream and ready for another pint or two and the now inevitable chat about the BCN Challenge and how to come first next time ๐Ÿ™‚

We got to the boat around 8pm – we had no worries as Graham had already texted us earlier in the week to tell us she was fine – boating bloggers are a fine bunch! When we arrived, we quickly ascertained Daisy the cat’s whereabouts (she was safely on board) and got Lou and Lynx aboard. We had planned to go out to eat, but unfortunately Jill was feeling under the weather so we plumped for a chinese takeaway on our back deck with Graham and his grandson. Although we missed Jill’s company, we had a merry evening, with Graham regaling us with tales from his fascinating life in the airforce. It was actually warm enough to sit outside for the whole evening and it was gone 11pm before we knew it. We bid them a fond farewell – they were planning to stay put for now, while we had to head South.

We knew we’d be leaving around 10am so we made cat/greyhound arrangements (contact to be avoided at all costs) and went our separate ways….

Saturday 6th August

Sarah, Andy and regulars Ranger, Henry and Archie joined us for some more cruising today. Graham was on board when they arrived – he’d come over to arrange delivery of a new computer using our computer (always a dilemma – how can you order a new computer online when your old computer is dead owing to an overdose of red wine?). It was another merry meeting and Jill soon joined us. Before we knew it, they completely changed their plans and cruised with us for the day. It was late morning by the time we set off, but luckily we hadn’t set too demanding a target for the day – we’d decided to aim for Thurmaston/Birstall which Sarah had recommended as having excellent dog-walking.

nb Matilda Rose leaving our moorings in Loughborough...

We had one of those wonderfully spontaneous days – all new waters for us but familiar to the other crew so they could point out useful pubs, moorings and dog walks. With big double locks, even locking became a social event, with mugs of coffee and whatnot being passed between boats – we even swapped crew, with Richard joining nb Matilda Rose for a while!

Now, I have a bit of history in this region – many moons ago I set up and looked after a graduate training scheme for pharmacy students – this involved tedious, exhausting and lonely trips to all of the schools of pharmacy looking for likely candidates among the mainly disinterested student population. There are a lot of Schools of pharmacy hereabouts – Nottingham, Loughborough and Leicester, which have grown up around local pharmaceutical industries. I’ve had a rather jaundiced view of these settlements so I was surprised to see how pleasant Loughborough is from the water. It also has interesting mill buildings – there’s a potted history here – I was surprised at the great age of the settlement and the trials and tribulations its endured over the years.

We did have some entertainment at the expense of two day boats, being inexpertly crewed by a gaggle of girlies on a hen party. It caused us a bit of a delay – they hadn’t worked out how to get the crew back on board after descending a lock and ended up with girlies scattered all over the towpath on both sides of the canal. They did eventually pick up their wayward crew –ย  we’ll never know how they didn’t capsize or fall into the water. Sarah assures me that we were laughing with the girls, not at them, even when Graham played the relevant part of “the laughing policeman” song at full volume!

With Daisy cat on board, the greyhounds, along with Baxter and Muttley, had some great rummages. We stopped for water by Mill Lane Bridge and the two packs had a rummage down the lane and Lou had a splosh in a quiet part of the weir stream – watch your hounds here though as the main weir stream is fast flowing, even with the current low water levels. We had thought to stop for lunch in the nearby pub, but the moorings were busy so we pressed on to Cossington. The moorings were busy here too, but we just managed to squeeze in right at the end of the moorings, ‘borrowing’ one of the lock bollards for an hour. We took the hounds for a run in the adjacent fields, which offer great walking and another opportunity for Lou to have a little paddle – she does love it! We then went off to the pub – our combined pack of 7 dogs (5 greyhounds and 2 tibetan terriers) causing considerable interest. The pub did good beer but alas no food so I had a human rummage and managed to find enough food for a surreptitious picnic in the pub garden.

We rarely stop for a proper lunch, and in such good company we started to put down roots which proved hard to shift. However we did need to get as far as Thurmaston (at least) today so we packed up and moved on. We’d had a fine day’s cruising, but the skies were dark and grey as settled onto our overnight mooring just beyond Hope and Anchor bridge (Bridge 19). One of the attractions of this mooring is the miles/acres of excellent dog-walking in the adjacent lakes/country park. We took the hounds for yet another walk – Lou had another splosh – before coming back to out respective boats. We fed the hounds then went off to the Hope and Anchor pub for supper. We debated sitting outside, but there was a slim majority for eating inside – just as well – soon after our starters arrived there was a torrential downpour. We stayed dry and had a convivial evening with our firm boating, blogging, dog-loving friends…..


Loughborough has a pleasant waterfront...

Industrial remnant - old mill building presumably...


Sarah and Andy, Indigo Dream's relief crew with Jill and Graham behind us on nb Matilda Rose...

Flood lock...

We were soon back out in the countryside - the river seemed much quieter today....

Soar views...

Not all weirs are as obvious as this - but then again this is part of the flood defences...

Underneath the arches....

Gate paddles create a fearsome flow...

But the turbulence isn't a problem when there's two boats in the lock....

These cycle paths are getting everywhere!

Fine bridge built in 1860 - there's quite a bend here - we go under that bridge!

Weir below Mountsorrel lock....

It was a joyful day....

It's behind you.....

There are some pretty places here....

Day boats Rumble and Fumble living up to their names!

What is this and why did we take a photo? ๐Ÿ™‚

Great dog walking at the start of the vast Watermead country park...

4 Responses to “The Odyssey 2011: Day 37”

  1. Geoff said

    Hi all
    Glad you’re enjoying the Soar, my Dad lives only a mile from Sileby Mill, so we know the area well. The “what is this?” is an old military Bailey Bridge, used by the farmer until removed from the navigation. I don’t know when, though. It’s been in that field as long as I can remember, going back to my canoeing days in the Scouts at Thurmaston.

  2. indigodream said

    Hi Geoff

    I knew that someone would know – I often come across mysterious photos that made sense when we took them, then 2 weeks later it’s gone!

  3. Karl said

    Hi, Just checking out you photo’s and i saw myself (its behind you picture pink t-shirt) I remember that so well as we had just let a guy who was on his own through the lock only to realise to our disgust that he wasn’t alone at all and had “duped” us into helping him. i still laugh now thinking about him saying thanks and the lady that was with you shouted back “like we had much choice”

  4. indigodream said

    Hi Karl

    Think yourself lucky that you were going in the other direction! Glad that you remembered to check with the photo, I have been a bit slow supplying Sue with photos so she is a bit behind with the blog

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