Sunday, 4 September 2016

East Mids Exploration: Day 4

It was sunny first thing, but still very breezy. We had a pretty relaxed start, having porridge for breakfast, then when the boat behind us started its engine, we put ours on and got a wash load underway. Once the washing part of the cycle was done we set off, at about 9am. I've done quite a few boat tests from Debdale Marina, so the stretch between Foxton and there is quite familiar; further north, I didn't really remember much at all. It's pretty, but slow going as the canal seems very shallow.

Our new friends on Unknown had gone past before we were up, and we passed them on their field mooring and had another quick chat. You can see right through Saddington Tunnel from way before; boats can pass inside, but the approach to the southern portal is amazingly overgrown, and you wouldn't want to meet a boat there.

After a five mile lock-free cruise, we reached Kibworth Top Lock. Adrian worked the first five. By Taylor's Turnover Lock was a field where there had been some sort of party, with a huge marquee, a bar in a horse box, and even portaloos.

There's a mile gap, then the next locks, which I worked. Newton Top Lock has an attractive cottage alongside.

There was no rhyme or reason to how we found the locks. Some were empty, some were full, some were somewhere in between. I needed to fill Bottom Half Mile Lock, but the next one, which is very close, was almost full so I lifted a paddle, and the gates opened by themselves when the lock was ready, meaning Adrian could go straight in.

We stopped for lunch below the lock, then did the final two to Kilby Bridge. The final lock, Bumble Bee, had water coming over the gates, and a mysterious pair of boots and socks left by the lock side.

At Kilby Bridge stopped on the service point to fill with water and get rid of rubbish. We moored for the night at the end of the moorings opposite. As the towpath is now on the other side, we washed that side of the boat, which was badly in need of attention. It's very quiet boatwise; we've seen just three boats going the other way today.

10 miles, 12 locks. (72 miles, 45 locks)

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