Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Sileby to Yardley Gobion 2

Thursday saw us completing the River Soar and having gone through Kings Lock we entered the Grand Union Canal Leicester Line. The water level was really low and we got stuck under Bridge 103 but BW quickly came to our aid and the journey continued. On Friday a tree across the canal was completely blocking our path but again BW came to the rescue and half the tree was cut down and removed so we off we went again. But by Saturday we reached Foxton Locks and moored in the lower pound. A good evening meal in the canal side pub prepared us for the day ahead. On Sunday we changed our plans and instead of climbing the flight we went along the Market Harborough Arm to Union Wharf in the hope that the pump out was working. But when we arrived everything was shut for the day. However a good mooring was available so we prepared to stay for the night. A walk into town found Tesco's open and we had lunch in the Waterfront Restaurant.

By 9am Friday we were ready and waiting for the pump out, but it was broken and never going to be repaired. So we returned along the arm and climbed the Foxton Flight after an hour wait. The following canal length was without locks so a very pleasant cruise. We even managed to find a marina with a working pump out and a quiet mooring. On Tuesday we descended the Watford flight having gone under the M1, and continued to Norton Junction via Crick and the Crick Tunnel.

By Wednesday we were on the GU main line and heading for the 2 mile long Blisworth Tunnel. Things were going well and hoped to get through the Stoke Breune Locks but that we proved impossible so we stopped another night on the towpath bank. The short trip on Thursday morning saw us arrive at the Kingfisher Marina in Yardley Gobion, La Licorne's new home.

So our first trip ended with mixed emotions..............

Sileby to Yardley Gobion

The wettest drought in history stopped us moving La Licorne for a few days since the River Soar was in full flood and the levels were so high that passage was impossible. But fortunately the heavy rain meant that the route through Leicester was now open and we could take the shorter route home. Alex at Sileby Mill Boatyard had fitted the inverter, repainted the engine bilge and lifted Tinking out of the water so that the new sign writing could be completed in the dry shed. We took the opportunity of a delay to have the sink renewed and to have a new thermostatic shower mixer fitted. But on Tuesday 15 May we got the train to Sileby, changing first at Nuneaton where we arrived after a 14 minute delay which meant we missed the connection. Anyway an hour later we got a train to Leicester, there a strike by East Midland Trains staff meant a replacement bus service was operating. Eventually we got to Sileby just in time for a heavy hail storm, still it was only a mile walk to the boatyard.

We stayed the night on La Licorne and were ready to leave bright and early on the Wednesday morning. The river was still high and flowing well so locks were difficult but the journey went reasonably well given it was our first day on a new boat. We moored at Castle Gardens in the centre of Leicester, a secure BW mooring free for 48 hours and an easy walk of local shops.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

La Licorne is officially named

Visited the boatyard today where Jon from LetterKnight was starting to sign-write the new name. He had made hand drawn a full size tracing showing the name, home port and the unicorn. Once we had agreed it he spent a few minutes with a small spikey wheel tracing over the outlines. The tracing was then taped in place and he rubed chalk dust over the small holes cut by the wheel. This left the most delicate outline of the whole design in the right place and ready to paint.

The new inverter had been fitted and the engine compartment was being painted. Alec at Sileby Mill is great and I highly recommend him and his team. A great boatyard, hire company and small marina.

Back there on Monday with lots of things so that we can start the journey home once the river calms down. Still in flood washing down lots of large timber and rubbish which swirls around in large clumps. I will post a copy of the finished paint job then!