We weren’t sorry to say goodbye to the horrible graffiti of Leicester on 12th April. Our spirits soared as cruising restrictions were lifted and mooring restrictions re-imposed, and we cruised along the Soar. We were the first boat to work through Birstall lock and moor up for the day.
But we weren’t the last, with 6 boats overnight and several more enjoying day trips and performing the Suez manoeuvre.
There’s a nice looking canal side pub here, but we’re still not ready to mingle so instead treated ourselves to fish and chips from the Birstall Fisheries. We wonder what it says about us when the “mini lunch” portion is still too much, but it was a good meal and we’’ll use that chippy again.
Eric set to work completing the wiring for the solar panel we had stuck onto the roof last June.
The wiring isn’t the difficult bit, it’s the locating of all the tools etc that get scattered around the boat, usually under the bed that caused the delay. And the realisation that Eric has developed a hayfever allergy that we think is connected to catkin pollen, so pretty though they are, we think we will have to avoid springtime river cruising in future as this happened when we came this way in April 2019.
But at least we are now generating sufficient power from solar to cover the power used the for the amount of cruising we do. I always thought it was a bit of a mammoth task retrofitting solar panels, but I didn’t expect to come face to face with one when we went exploring.
Several miles along this area of the River Soar, were used for sand and gravel extraction. The Watermead mammoth was discovered in the pits along side bronze age settlements and ice age bones. It must have looked very different then, now it’s a well maintained country park with the emphasis on leisure and preserving the wildlife and habitat.
Birstall’s a good mooring spot, although there aren’t any specific boaters facilities, the village has all the amenities you need, several pubs, takeaways and small supermarkets. And with extensive easy walks, there’s a happy friendly atmosphere on the Towpath.