Leaving Kilby Bridge mid-morning on Tuesday, we thought we'd easily get to Debdale Wharf Marina eight miles away and fill up with diesel before 1700hrs - no such luck! The twelve locks were pretty shocking - most of the lock gates opened themselves spontaneously so you had to shut them and then quickly run to the other end and open the paddles before they re-opened. I did the first one and then gave up and handed over to Barry or we'd have taken even longer than we did!
Luscious greens and a bright blue (and white) sky
Old and tired lock gates looking weary
Barry took the opportunity to do a spot of boat cleaning along the way - balancing blithely on the side
Lock after lock, after lock ...
The occasional one was in our favour which helped
One out, one in
It's not such a bad life when the sun's shining (or even when it isn't to be fair!)
Rich vegetation everywhere
Note in the distance the lock gate is opening itself up
We saw more boats today than recently, many old working boats that could be returning from the Braunston annual working boats rally which was held last weekend.
We were also on the lookout for a supermarket (no meat or salad left on the boat!), but the only place on the way anywhere near the canal already had a boat moored in the one available spot; so on we travelled.
A church at Wistow - what a chilled countryside scene
Sandra and her crocheted paper hat - just wait till it rains, it'll all turn to mush
British Waterways workers out in force, fixing and painting - they've certainly got a full time job with these decrepit old locks, but it may need more than a coat or two of paint to improve them!
feeling feeding a little hoarse horse! and how they grow with a bit of grass ...
After negotiating the 880 yards long Saddington Tunnel, we realised we had no chance of getting to Debdale before the Marina closed, so we moored up equidistant to two small villages so we could walk to a pub for a meal tonight - either that or it'd be beans on toast which, after a strenuous day, wouldn't have sufficed I don't think!
Sandra with tunnel vision! Apparently you can fit two boats in here - wouldn't have liked to have tried it!
Another working boat on its way home no doubt
Bet he's just been to Braunston for the weekend?
The view of the countryside from our mooring - doesn't come more peaceful than this (apart from the occasional passing high speed train!)
We chose to walk to Saddington rather than Smeeton Westerby (don't you just love those place names?), and we reckon we made the right choice as we had the best Indian meal I've ever tasted at 'Swatlands' restaurant in 'The Queen's Head'. A very relaxing venue, delicious spicy food (and such a variety on the menu Barry was totally overwhelmed!), along with superb service - well worth every penny and we had to more or less insist on leaving a tip rather than feeling 'bullied' into doing so which I find in most restaurants in England (you don't routinely tip in New Zealand which is so refreshing).
The walk up the hill from the canal to Saddington
Old furrowed fields stand out on the hillside
Lots of excellent Indian food - and Indian bitter, brewed in Leicester - also note that Barry's shaved his beard off!!
The Queen's Head in Saddington - looks like a typical English pub, but with a difference
St Helen's Church The Manor House - lots of fine abodes here!
Walking off the food we checked out some of the village, including St Helens Church which advertises tea on Sundays, once again very friendly and welcoming - unusual in such an obviously up-market area.
It'll be on to Debdale tomorrow, Wednesday, with the luxury of NO LOCKS for a couple of days as we're then continuing on to Market Harborough. Of course once we've been up that arm and down again we've the staircase of ten Foxton Locks to contend with, but we'll be rejuvenated by then.
Even dandelions can look delightful - along with some random orange coloured wild flowers of unknown variety!