Sileby footbridge and that left-hand bend were not as traumatic as I had worried about. Ian was helming and took FS through and round as sweet as you like. But he could not get FS onto the lock landing! The swirl of the water in the weir stream was just too strong so all he could do was nudge the boat up to the lock gates deciding it was best he stayed on to control FS whilst I jumped off to set the lock. We did notice the gauge was in the amber and well into it not just by a smidgen! So again I ask myself, what is it with the gauge at Mountsorrel lock??
The wind started to pick up on the way to Cossington Lock and it was here we noticed the gauge board! In the red, no amber showing and this was exactly the same when also arriving at Junction lock. Rightly or wrongly we ignored the warning and continued on our way. It wasn't the flow that was the problem but those wind gusts. Stronger and stronger they got until by the time we managed to get to Leicester it was almost impossible to manoeuvre. But hey ho, I'm getting ahead of myself.
So Cossington lock entrance was full of rubbish. Ian got the bottom gates open but trying to get them to close properly once FS was in, well forget it! Took over 5 minutes of me with the pole pushing those wooden posts which insisted on getting jammed between the gates. Anyway, we got there in the end.
|Plenty of wood to cause a jam.|
|River in the amber.|
|Leaving Thurmaston lock|
The nearer we got to Leicester the more crap had to be pulled out from behind the gates. Huge crates, pallets, logs, buckets you name it there they lay before us. Best of all, and a great find if your into that sort of thing, was a Tree Cutting sign. It was also at this lock, Lime Kiln, that a horrible drama unfolded before us of which Ian had to step in to do a rescue.
A massive commotion came from below the lock. FS had by now ascended so stepping off the stern deck I go for a look and see what I initially thought, were mating swans...God did I get that wrong! Swans are very aggressive especially to their own kind when they feel their territory is in threat. This was real fisticuffs and there was no doubt that death to one of them was imminent. I watched helplessly as time and again the weaker and presumably younger swan was being drowned. It managed to make a break for it and try to climb the bank. The aggressive swan got hold of his neck and refused to let go. Ian on the lock offside could stand it no longer and rushed toward them for a rescue. Grabbing the weaker swans neck he managed to pull the youngster away making the larger Cob release its grip. There it lay completely exhausted. Ian stayed to make sure it recovered and sure enough before long it was on its feet and made a hasty retreat toward the upper river.
I know that if we hadn't been there this swan would have died. Should we have intervened? Many will say that we should leave well alone and what will be will be, its the law of the wild. I will let you decide if this was a good deed or not.
Now I'm not a big fan of murals (unless done by Banksy) but I must say there are some very talented youths out there. These on the approach and exit to North Lock, Frog Island.
As I said in the third paragraph the wind was a real issue. Never more so as when we tried to get alongside Friars Mill secure pontoon mooring. I got FS as near to the pontoon as possible, Ian jumped off with centre rope and I managed to drive the stern in. Then the battle began. I got the stern rope wrapped tightly around the cleat and releasing a little at a time when Ian asked for more manoeuvrability trying to bring her alongside. His method was to pull some slack rope, wrap it around the cleat quickly and repeat the procedure time and time again. In this way slowly FS came in. I then hung onto the centre rope while Ian grabbed the bow rope, secured that and finally we could breathe a sigh of relief.
With water on site, we topped up the tank, had very welcoming showers (not had one for 5 days making do with flannel washes instead) battened down the hatches and sat and watched the Rugby. Ian has worked out that we could still make Warwick if nothing else goes wrong. It means long days but after the long spell of inactivity, we are well up for that. The wind at the moment is gusting at above 30mph
And on the journey,
|Best choose the biggest arch then!|
|A short section of the Grand Union which passed Watermead Park.|