Les Lobbs Diary
Precis of the Nene/Ouse trip.
It was a trip worth doing, with the rivers Wissey and Nene being the most enjoyable. The Middle Levels were boring
and the Gt Ouse itself was not very special, but it has some great places to visit, St Ives, St Neots and our favourite Ely
(with it's ice cream van). I think the most memorable for me was the Drainage Engine Museum at Prickwillow. We were
surprised at how few boats were cruising, the majority that were moving were weekend tupperwares. Among the
people and boats we met were, Gary & Beryl, the gravediggers, on "The Answer", and two single handers, Nigel on
"The James Caird" and Malcolm on "Gwendoline". Sightings included, kingfishers, little grebe, egrets, harrier, seals,
mink, grass snakes, deer and foxes.
We have filled and emptied and moved onto the main arm of the Grand Union near bridge 49 ready for the arrival of
Julie & co tomorrow.
Norton junction, sunny
We had a great couple of days with Julie & family; the weather was good to us, apart from a shower on Tuesday
evening, when Dawn had taken the boys for a hike along the canal. (see pic!) It was drizzling when they left yesterday
morning, so we filled and emptied at Gayton and parked a couple of miles north of the junction, for the rest of the day.
This morning we set off in sunshine and did the Buckby flight, which has brought us here to Norton junction. In the
morning we plan to turn right onto the Leicester arm of the GU, which is narrow beam, and new to us, then through the
Watford locks, which include a staircase between 3 & 6. After that is Crick tunnel, which is 1528yds long and finishes
near Crick village.
Yelvertoft, Leicester arm of G.U., raining
We came up the Watford locks and through Crick tunnel, 1528yds, (two way traffic) this morning. We seem to be
spending a lot of time in tunnels, as we took Julie & family through Blisthorpe, and back again, 3067yds each way. The
levels are low and there are a few boats moving, so we spend a lot of time skating on mud when we pass oncoming
boats. If the weather stays the same, we may stay here tomorrow and clean the boat up. We have received a newsy
email from Marie in France, she runs a guesthouse/ kennels/ camper van park near Genneteil and is always busy.
Market Harborough, windy
On Monday we went down the Welford arm of the G.U. and stayed the night on Welford wharf; nothing much there, but
a pretty canal. A 06.00 start on Tuesday got us through Husbands Bosworth tunnel and at Foxton top lock by 10.00; just
under an hour later we moored up at the towpath below Foxton bottom lock. The views to our right, as we approached
Foxton, were some of the best we have had this year. We were both surprised at how easy the two sets of staircase
locks were and how well maintained the gates and paddles were kept. This morning we did the five and a bit miles into
Mkt. Harboro, where we are now moored, at Union Wharf. As the cupboards were getting a bit bare, we headed off to
Sainsburys and Lidls, where we did some major shopping. After lunch Dawn went back into town for "a look round",
while I did my crossword; we will probably stay here tomorrow and take a more leisurely stroll around the town (bet we
end up at Brantano shoe shop!).
We are now back at Foxton, where we will stay until Monday, and then start heading towards Leicester. In July we had
earwigs everywhere, anything you moved on the deck sent them scurrying away; this month it's spiders, if you go for a
pee in the night, as we pensioners do, you get a face covered in sticky web.
Kilby Bridge, sunny
The locks from Foxton onwards are restricted to 09.00 to 16.00 and two boats per lock, to conserve water, because the
reservoirs that supply the canal are very low.
At our first lock, we met a chap delivering a burnt out boat to Nottingham for refitting, and travelled with him for most of
the following locks. We stopped at Kilby Bridge to empty and fill, and decided to stay here for the night. Dawn did some
washing while we were travelling, so we now have a cratch full of drying shreddies.
When we started the locks down to Leicester, we met another boat, with three crew members, and we have travelled
together since then; as we are the faster boat, we go ahead and get the next lock ready, while they close off the lock
and then follow us. The water levels are getting critical above Leicester, and there seems to be a possibility that the
whole section of the canal will soon be closed completely. While in Market Harborough, with it's long hill, and with our
logistics operative in mind, we invested in a two wheeled, medium capacity, owner steered and operated, conveyance,
in beige (a granny trolley). This has proved a great success.
Another 08.00 start and a good days cruising yesterday; we
were still in the company of nb Reuben with Mark, Heather
and John and spent a most enjoyable evening with them
on their boat. We filled and emptied at the junction of the
River Trent, Trent and Mersey Canal and the Erewash
Canal, where we had a drop of rain, but apart from that
the weather was very good. The hire boats are becoming
more frequent now that we are back on the T&M canal, we
have about 5 more wide locks and then, at Burton on
Trent, we go back to narrow, one boat at a time, locks.
Evening -: We are now moored near Branston after
another great day of wide and narrow locks; in Burton on
Trent we said bye to Reuben and crew, who were trying to
reach Fradley junction before tomorrow.
Gt Haywood, sunny
We left Branston on Monday and travelled through to Rugeley, where purchasing had a field day at Morrisons and Aldi.
This morning I set off at 05.30, while the crew had a lay in, and we had a good run through to Gt.H. ; weather was good
until we got within 5mins of the marina, it then decided that a drop of rain and a good blow would help us through the
entrance and into our berth. Our housekeeping manageress is now seeing how much laundry she can cram into the
marina's washing machines, while I play on the computer. Looking back on our cruise along the Leicester arm, we had
a varied trip, with an instructor on a hire boat deciding to turn beam-on to us with no indication whatever (I don't think
he even knew we were there!) to demonstrate how to turn a nb round; I questioned his parentage as we passed. Further
along we were treated to a display of nude sun bathing before we entered Burton on Trent. Overall I think we both
enjoyed it, and would like to do it again sometime.
This afternoon we plan to take the van into Stafford, to return an electric toothbrush that doesn't work and pick up a few
things from the chandlery at Penkridge. If the weather is OK tomorrow, we will head north and do the four counties ring
again, one of our favourite cruises.
Using nine consecutive numbers, fill in
the blank spaces so that each row,
column, and diagonal add up to the
When Dawn had finished the washing, we took the van into Stafford and
got a few bits from B&Q, to make a drop down panel in the cratch; this will
make filling the water tank and tying off the bow line a lot easier. Mid
morning today, about 09.00, we set off from the marina and had a good trip
to Stone, where we are now tied up for the night.
Old Patrick died and wanted to be buried at sea, so Paddy and Murphy got
a rowing boat and put the coffin in it. They rowed out about a mile and
Paddy said "I wonder if it is deep enough here?" so Murphy jumped over
the side, but the water only came up to his waist, so they rowed out another
mile and Murphy jumped over the side again, but the water only came up to
his neck, so they rowed out another mile. This time, when Murphy jumped
over, he disappeared; after several minutes he came up and said "Yes, this
is deep enough, pass me the shovel".
Before Harecastle tunnel, cloudy
Another late start, 09.30, but not too many hold ups at the locks. Pretty country sections, but Stoke on Trent is definitely
very un-pretty, with all it's disused riverside buildings. After we left Stoke, I called Dawn to confirm what I had seen, a
terrapin; it was about 6" long and was sunning itself on a tree stump. We are moored beside Westport lake and when
talking to fishermen, I found that there are indeed "turtles" around here. Tomorrow, weather permitting, we go through
Harecastle tunnel and start down "Heartbreak Hill" towards Middlewich and real fish & chips.
Happy Birthday Ann xxxxx
This morning, we got pole position at Harecastle tunnel, and were through and on our way by 08.45. The weather has
been drizzly, with odd spells of brilliant sunshine, but not at all cold. The chief lock operative has excelled by doing 24
locks in 11 miles, with barely a grumble; a lot of the locks on this section are twins, (side by side), which means less
waiting. There are a few boats travelling, with the odd hire boat, usually parked on lock moorings, grrrrrrrr. Another 6
miles and 6 locks should see us in Middlewich for the weekend; we will most probably "do" the arm to Ellesmere Port,
through Chester, as we have not been there before.
This morning we did the last few locks down into Middlewich, and then turned left onto the Shroppy and up one lock to
these moorings, which we have used before. As there is a Tesco nearby, we dodged the showers to top up the fridge
and fruit bowl; that waterproof jacket you gave me John has come in very useful!! For lunch we had the fish and chips
we had been looking forward to, and they were every bit as good as we remembered. This afternoon I went online and
bought a "senior" fishing rod licence, so that I can dangle a line when we are moored in the country.
Wimboldsley, after bridge 22, drizzly (proper bank holiday weather)
We moved out of Middlewich yesterday and tied up a mile or so after the first lock, where we did a bit of re-piping to
the primary filter for the diesel heater. It rained on and off all day, so we were both well wet when we had finished; we
don't like it when we can't sit out. Today we cut, undercoated, and fitted, the drop down flap for the cratch, this was all
we could do until we get better weather and then we can cut the perspex window, for the new opening. As the
batteries needed charging we have moved along a bit further and are now overlooking a large lake, which would be a
very pleasant view, if the sun was shining.
Yesterday we got a drop of diesel and a gas bottle and stopped just before the junction with the Chester arm, out came
the chairs and a pot of tea and we were finished for the day - until the wasps arrived. We untied and decided to move
onto the Chester arm and look for a mooring there; after several locks we found moorings outside the Shaded Oak pub,
where we felt we had deserved a meal. We had an excellent meal and a good quiet mooring, so we will probably call
there on the return trip. Today we reached Beeston, with it's castle dominating the skyline and moored just after the
town, all by ourselves out in the country.