Friday 11 August Zouch to Barrow-in-Soar (7 miles, 2 locks, 1 flood lock)
From Zouch we passed the weir, very quiet as the river level is low, well in the green. The waterside chalets have double glazing, these days.
The Soar Boating Club have very strong pontoons, just before some large houses with grand riverside gardens at Normanton-on-Soar.
Past the Plough, with solid wharf and new garden furniture, we spotted the little punt-like chain ferry near the church has a new shed.
We enjoyed the sun and water meadows as we approached Bishop Meadow Lock and Loughborough Lock, which we shared with NB Kiboko, whose kind steerer advised us where to moor at Barrow, their home base.
We moored in Loughborough Basin, John turning Annie and reversing onto the Shortish pontoon. We chatted with the friendly crew, Darryl and Yvonne, of cruiser Blue Babe, before visiting the town. John mentioned he had seen an old paraffin anchor light in the market, and Darryl went there and came back with it!
We set off around the town on the canal, passing high walls and new housing, with some new visitor moorings. The railway bridge has been strengthened and painted to allow steam trains to use it. It has been a lovely day to cruise.
Reaching Barrow-upon-Soar, we moored outside The Moorings restaurant, where we booked a garden table for a Mal with daughters Sarah and Rachel, plus friend Pip. We can recommend the food: starters, pizzas and puddings were good. We played Settlers of Catan face to face, for a change, and Liana won!
Saturday 12 August Barrow-on-Soar to Watermead Country Park, near Leicester
We Woke up late and had a walk around Barrow village centre. Two volunteers helped us through Barrow Deep Lock, after which we used the services by the Navigation pub. Barrow was lovely in the sunshine, with cruisers, narrow boats and plenty of canoes taking advantage of the lovely weather.
We took our time, enjoying the view on the way to Mountsorrel, where we met boats both entering and leaving the lock beside the Waterside Inn, where we had lunch and waited for daughter Rachel to join us for the rest of the day.
Lots of canoes were being hired from the Waterside car park. We passed them on the way to Sileby Mill through scenic water meadows. Liana and Rachel helped an oncoming boat through the lock while John waited and chatted to a family Who had been fishing on the lock landing.
Liana, Rachel and her Golden Doodle Honeypie walked to Cossington Lock across the pastures, where we had to wait again for oncoming boats. A day boat’s crew watched us exit the lock and close the gates, then set off across Annie’s bows towards the lock. Put it down to inexperience. What breed of cattle were these near Junction Lock?
It was good to steer and chat to Rachel as we moved onto the River Wreake and Junction Lock, which we shared with NB Foxes, who had kindly waited for us. Past the Leicester ring road and Hungry Horse Hope & Anchor pub, we moored on bollards at WatermMead Country Park. John and Rachel walked with Honeypie around the park while Liana prepared a meal for us all. Pip arrived and kindly helped Rachel return with her car. after which we chatted the evening away, with the young women socially distancing with blankets in the cratch.