Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Day Thirteen: At the Crossroads

Loughborough - Shardlow

GU Leicester Section, River Trent, Trent and Mersey Canal

12 miles, 10 locks

6 hours

Today was a day of contrasts. We began in the urban landscape of Loughborough, which quickly gave way to countryside. This section of the Leicester Line is basically a river so the going was quick, and we made good progress.

Just outside Loughborough is the stretch which the rowers use. Its as wide as the Cam's widest part, with smooth curves. The rowable stretch is about the same length as in Cambridge. We saw a sign warning boaters that they may encounter rowers, but no actual rowers. The last one was a sculler in Leicester.

We managed to share only one lock on the way to the junction with the Trent, but there aren't too many on this stretch so we still kept up a good speed. Soon we were on the Trent itself, and after days on the canals, we felt dwarfed by the sheer scale of this mighty river! We throught abouts topping at Sawley but the facilities mooring was in use so we pressed on. It was with some sense of relief that we reached the rather more comforting scale of the Trent and Mersey canal. We love it already, having decided to stop the night in the pretty little canal village of Shardlow. It has an excellent chandlery, where we got a few bits and pieces. It even has a charity bookshelf. James was running out of reading matter (which is a crisis in the Duck!) so I was pleased that he found a few books to keep him going for another day or two! We've sorted out a few to donate tomorrow morning and keep the bookshelf stocked.

Now for an evening walk around Shardlow, having had our earlier walk curtained by a sudden downpour. I'll post a few pictures of this pretty village tomorrow when we will hopefully have a better signal.

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