Hemplow Hills

This morning we felt cheated. Waking at 9 am when really it was 8 am, meant we had missed out on an hour of sleep. The weather however made up for this, as the sun was bright and the sky clear blue. After the furry crew had been on his morning walk, we wandered off back towards the Wharf Inn for Sunday lunch. Today it was roast pheasant, followed by treacle tart and ice cream. Returning to the boat we got ourselves ready to get underway, it was 1.45 pm. Today we were aiming for a spot somewhere between bridges 36 and 32, roughly four miles away. We navigated through the lock and along the Welford arm, turning left at the Junction. The canal was surprisingly quiet, especially as today was the warmest day this year so far. We found our spot midway between bridge 34 and 33. The towpath is wide, flat and grassy, we have a 4g phone signal and satellite reception, perfect. This will be added to our list of favoured locations, and from the picture below you can probably see why.

Mooring Hemplow Hills

Having secured the boat, the weather was so fine the starboard side got a wash. Unfortunately, our stay here this time will be brief, as we have Easter activities to look forward to.

  • Totals 4 Miles 1 Lock
  • Running total 13 Miles 2 Locks

Welford

Well our internment at Yelvertoft for the winter is now over, and we are once again in cruising mode. The winter months have allowed us to conduct some essential maintenance tasks, and the boat has also successfully passed its first BSS (Boat Safety Scheme) check. We did manage a few days trips, along the Leicester section summit of the Grand Union, and we have survived unscathed, from the harshest winter we have experienced since owning the boat. The engine has been serviced, and we have restocked our supply of filters, oils and other consumables, ready for the year ahead. We have also purchased an anchor, which will allow us to use some of the river navigations from now on. Our departure day was set as Wednesday 21st March, but upon waking, we found the Marina had frozen overnight. Fortunately the sun was up, and after a few hours, the crust of ice had turned to mush and we were off. We were aiming for a regular mooring spot near bridge 28, and after cruising for an hour and a half, we reached it to find it empty of other boats. The following morning, we got underway after breakfast, heading for Welford Junction. There was no sun shining, and the wind had picked up a bit. It felt much colder. Not long after setting off, we noted two boats astern who seemed to be traveling a bit quicker than we wanted to. We pulled over to allow them past, then continued our slow dawdle. On arrival at the straight moorings prior to the Junction, we once again found it completely empty of other boats.

All alone at Welford Junction

After lunch we took four legs for a short walk, heading towards North Kilworth. This took us past the new Marina, which has been under construction for a few years. It has recently been filled with water so it must be getting close to completion, although there still seems a lot of work needed to finish it off.                           

North Kilworth Marina

We continued on to the Wharf opposite, and purchased some firelighters. We didn’t really need any, but we always try and support the smaller canalside businesses. Back at the boat we settled down for a peaceful afternoon. Friday 23rd March, after a solitary night we set off for Welford. Turning right at the Junction we soon encountered a work boat blocking the canal. The workers were busy clearing substantial overgrown vegetation. They moved their boat allowing us to continue our passage along the Welford arm, towards the single lock ahead. Once through the lock, we trundled along to the end of the arm and found it completely full. This is where all the boats are. We winded, and took a mooring just prior to the lock landing. With hindsight this is a better spot, and may well become our regular spot for future visits here.

Mooring at Welford Lock

After securing the boat we had lunch at Totty’s Tea Rooms, before returning to the boat for a relaxing afternoon. We will stay here for a couple of days, but keeping an eye of the changing forecast for the weather next week.

  • Totals Wed.    21/3. 3 Miles
  •           Thurs. 22/3.  5 Miles
  •           Fri.      23/3. 1 Mile 1 Lock