Thursday, 25 August 2016

A flying visit to Leicester

Thursday 25th August; Aylestone to Watermead Country Park

It was a grey and damp day, with occasional showers, but still warm.  I quickly popped up to the farm shop for some veg before we set off for Leicester soon after 9.   The river Soar joins the canal – or is it the other way round? - just below Packhorse Bridge.

1 canal joins river soar

As we drew closer to Leicester we passed the backs of various industrial units.  We wondered if this business just chucks its rubbish over the fence and waits for the next flood to clear it.

2 are they waiting for the next flood to clear their rubbish

Somewhat more attractive was this artwork at St Mary’s Mill lock….

4 artwork st marys mill lock

where we saw a fancy dress charity walk in progress, raising money for a local children’s charity.  The second group of walkers we met at Freeman’s Meadow lock

6 charity walk

where we also passed the stadium of Leicester City FC, last season’s Premiership champions. 

7 freemansnmeadow lock and leicester fc stadium

We had hoped that by mid-morning there would be space to moor at Castle Park in Leicester, as we needed a visit to the big Tesco nearby.  And there was.

9 castle park moorings

We didn’t want to go into the city this time, so after our shop, some lunch and a quick run in the park for Meg we carried on.  In this grey and misty atmosphere some of the weirs are hard to make out until you are almost on top of them.

11 soem wiers are hard to make out

There is some more artwork at one of the locks – North lock I think.

12 artwork at north or limekiln lock

13 artwork  14 artwork

Although it has been defaced by some graffiti, the perpetrators seem to have avoided the creatures apart from the tail of the kingfisher.

There is an outdoor pursuits centre on the northern outskirts of the city and our progress was slowed somewhat by groups of children in various kinds of small craft.  They were having huge fun.  The river soon got pretty again although it rained on and off.

16 pretty soar

Although there was mooring available at Birstall we went on to the long canalised section by Watermead Park, where there is plenty of access to the paths round the lakes.  The rain had finally stopped, so off we went for a walk.  The sculpture is looking a bit weather-beaten now.  It is of a scene from Shakespeare’s King Lear.  Lear was a king of the 8th century, who legend says lies buried in a chamber under the river Soar.

18 lear sculpture at watermead park

8 miles, 8 locks