There’s the pretty and the not so pretty

I guess every city has its less salubrious side, and it might be an unfair impression, but Leicester seems to fair badly. We left the pretty, well maintained rural mooring with its throngs of happy energised towpath trawlers to continue our journey north. Kings Lock Tearoom was closed when we cruised past in Spring 2019 and it still is. As it looks like someone’s home I wonder if it will ever open again.

Kings Lock

And this is where that tiny little beck of a river and the canal merge to take us onto a river cruise.

Merging of the River Soar and the Grand Union canal

Word has it that the River Soar can rise and fall rapidly when it rains. Some narrowboaters are reluctant to cruise on a river fearing the flow, flood and lack of suitable mooring. I think we fall into the respectful category. We’ve checked the weather forecast and know that we can limit the days we’ll spend on the river if necessary. However, apart from a bit of snow, it’s been relatively dry, both recently and for the foreseeable. So we said goodbye to the pretty countryside and drifted towards the city centre. The debris in the water and hooked around the vegetation at flood level is sad.

This is so sad

But the graffiti is foul. The next lock is shameful and I won’t post a photo of the worst that I saw.

St Mary’s Mill lock

Don’t get me wrong, we both enjoy seeing street art, and we dont underestimate the talent of some artists, but this is vandalism and doesn’t do anything to create a sense of pride in a community. The river runs along the West side of the city, with one or two old bridges over to the residential side of town. With bollards and hard standing, there is potentially a lot of mooring available in the city centre, but the beer bottles and cans of nitrous oxide warn us off.

Heading towards Newarke Bridge

But thankfully there is space at the official Castle Gardens secure visitor mooring for a few days.

Castle Gardens visitor mooring