Soaring along the Soar

Lots of lovely cruising along this final part of the journey before we joined the Trent.

Early morning at Birstall

We cruised straight through Loughborough, but came across some pretty villages

Normanton on Soar

With gongoozelers

Alpacas at Barrow upon Soar

I had quite a lot of hard work to do

Cheryl closing the gate

But we were rewarded with some lovely mooring

Barrow boats visitor mooring

There’s some impressive houses, we wondered which country we were in at one point, this developement even had it’s own private marina

And some very impressive bridges. This is Mountsorrel mineral railway bridge. It’s a grade II listed building and as it helpfully tells us it was built in 1860

Mountsorrell bridge

The nearer we got to the Trent, the more dire the warnings became about the potential for the river to flood. These wooden railings are the final emergency mooring facility before the Trent. And surveying the low lying ground around I hope that bungalow is built on stilts. I can’t imagine how terrifying it would be if we needed to use such a facility, but I know how grateful I’d be if I did.

Emergency moorings on the Soar

Our final night on the Soar was at Sutton Bonnington tucked in the bend known as the Devil’s Elbow

The mooring on the Devils Elbow

Our final morning on the Soar saw us cruising past the coal fuelled Ratcliffe power station. It’s been churning out electricity for 50 years, but it’s days are numbered.

Radcliffe power station

We saw these cooling towers last year when we looked south from the mouth of the Erewash canal.

Radcliffe power station

Leaving Leicester

I get the impression there’s a lot more still to do and see in Leicester, but Castle Gardens is a 2 day pontoon. We moved up to the 14 day Friar’s Mill pontoon, all of 5 minutes cruise and still within walking distance of the centre, but it is in the midst of redevelopment and noisy. We were excited to see electric hook up, but nothing seemed to be working.

Friar’s Mill mooring

We didn’t stay long and continued past Frog Island, and if judging by the size of the frog on this mural probably safer not to.

Frog Island mural

Frog Island is actually a suburb of Leicester and houses some of the Victorian mills and factories and has some fascinating history.

Sadly the canal and river is still full of rubbish that accumulates on the bends and around locks.

But looking beyond, the countryside was lovely. It’s a flat landscape with many lakes that have been developed into nature reserves, Watermead Park. I don’t know if any of the lakes are manmade left over from mining or gravel extraction, but we could imagine navigation being impossible in flood season.

We moored up for the night at Birstall, a nice village with all the facilities a boater needs, pub, co-op, and takeaway.

Birstall Mooring