Sileby Lock to Zouch Cut
After mooring last night we settled down as the rain continued to pour. A while later a boat came up the lock and headed up stream, by now the weir was really quite audible from our mooring. We both had taken mental note of the level of water when we’d moored. I had been able to count five stones on the wall approaching the lock. At around 9pm I looked out again and only three stones were visible. The level had risen in four hours by around two foot! We still had another three foot before it came over the side, but this was worrying. We walked down to look at the river level, when we arrived it was in the green, now not surprisingly it was red. We had considered moving to below the lock earlier on, now it was not an option, the amount of water coming over the weir would have pushed us straight into a moored boat and would most probably have pinned us there.
The boat moored behind us was moored using it’s centre rope (as well as bow and stern). The effect of a centre line as the water level rises is that it pulls the cabin top over, this can sink a boat. By now the boat had quite a list, Mick tapped on the roof, there being no response he loosened the rope bring the boat back to level.
Now the faint noise of an engine could be heard getting closer and closer. Soon the boat that had earlier come up the lock appeared, it was fighting the current towards the weir almost moving sideways with it’s bow pointing at us, he just managed to pull into the lock cut. Mick popped out to see if he could help and very quickly suggested that going down the lock would not be such a good idea. A better idea would be to tie up on the lock landing and assess things in the morning. They were a young couple, he’d had the boat for a year and had only pootled up and down a short distance of the river before.
The couple from the boat behind returned and Mick told them that he’d loosened their centre line as it was listing badly. The chap said he had wondered why it wasn’t listing. If our boat went over that far things would fall off shelves, draws would open, better not to tie the rope in the first place.
The rain had stopped by the time we went to bed, with ropes loosened we checked the levels and went to sleep. We slept well, but both of us checked out the window at different times during the night, we were slowly going down.
This morning the level was still dropping slowly. As we finished a leisurely breakfast some boats appeared from up stream. Mick and the young chap went to help them into the lock, once they were told what had happened last night they were fine about there not being much space on the landing. At first I thought it was two boats but it turned out to be three. The last one had difficulty backing up to tie against us whilst he waited for the lock, the current was still strong. Each boat left the lock and gunned it across the wash from the weir, each managing to miss the moored boat.
A while later another boat appeared and he casually was heading down towards the weir before someone shouted at him. A lack of concentration and an inability to see the very large sign pointing which way to go nearly got him into a bad situation. Luckily the level was still dropping and he managed to reverse out of it.
It was now our turn, so we shared the lock with the young couple. In comparison to yesterday we were told by a local to leave the gates open, which we did so that we could get past the weir wash with everyone on board. The young lady wasn’t too keen on climbing down the ladder but it was the only way to do it, then we shot out of the lock with purpose. We took the lead and kept away from the next weir. Our speed turned out to be far greater than our companions and once we’d set the next lock we waited and waited for them. Their boat seemed to be not in the best order, the alternator failing this morning! We waited, what could we do, go back, no just wait. So that is what we did and they sauntered into view eventually.
We shared the locks all the way to Pillings Marina. The flood lock was just open into the cut the off side gate just needing a little nudge. We waved them goodbye, hope their experience hasn’t put them off venturing further afield!
Along the long stretch around Loughborough Mick had to beep the horn as a day boat wasn’t pulling over to let us pass on the right. Everyone on board was exceptionally drunk and loud. All stood out on deck, the roof, the port side, so much so that it really looked like it would capsize before too long! At Chain Bridge we turned down to Loughborough Wharf where we managed to squeeze ourselves in against the wall and another boat so that we could go food shopping and Dunelm came up trumps with a new washing up bowl.
We then winded with ease, despite there being boats in the way. On towards Zouch passing Normanton with it’s pretty summer houses by the river. Once in Zouch cut we pulled in and the doors were flung open for Tilly. No sideways trees here, nothing much to hunt either. I did go for a walk all the way up to the bridge to check if the moorings were better there, but apparently they weren’t. The rain has set in again this evening, at least we are away from weirs and lock landings.
5 locks, 9.87 miles, 24 inches in 4hours, 4 boats going down, 1 numpty, 2 boats caining it across, 0 giant hogweed, 1 colour co-ordinated dutch house for sale, 1 green light, 1 washing up bowl,0 red flashing lights, 0 need for dolphins, 1 cut mooring, 1 walk with Tilly.