Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The Beacon Boat Gathering.

We have just left The Soar Boating club, host's of the meet at their wonderfully situated base, at Normanton on Soar.  A fantastic location, very friendly members and all had a wonderful long weekend.

We last updated at Kilby bridge.  Leaving our mooring with frost on the roof last Tuesday, we watered up and then began the descent into Leicester. The weather has still not decided which season it is, so we had a dose of each! It even at one stage snowed... So a tad chilly and windy, but we were well wrapped up and despite meeting only two boats moving, we made good progress. This was despite the fact that few if any locks were in our favour.

It is a great pity that in the boating world, Leicester has such a poor reputation. (But not in football, apparently!) There are some fantastic, but underused moorings.  It really does need more boats stopping along the towpath.  As ever, we encountered not a whiff of a problem passing through and by mid afternoon we had reached the Hope & Anchor, moored up and called it a day.

On Wednesday, it seemed only a short hop to Loughborough. We moored up, did some shopping and were considering dropping down to Normanton when the wind rose and the sky darkened. So we stayed put overnight.

Our first ducklings this year

all along the Leicester line someone has been yarn bombing the locks
and on a cold drizzly day they really do make you smile

Cormorant on a power cable

On Thursday morning, the weather looked good, but was forecast to deteriorate later in the day. Two locks, some beautiful river cruising and we arrived at the boat club. We breasted up to Serenity, with Willow Too, Dionysus and Hallyth already present, before the winds became too severe. A short while later, Merryweather and Bisbigliando hove into view and battled the now rising winds to breast up to the other two boats.  Wind was the abiding feature of the weekend, although it was not too damp.  Still a tad chilly though and the fire remained on throughout our stay.

It was brilliant to see Beacon owners old and new and we had a fantastic time socialising. The club welcomed us with open arms and we seemed to make good use of the bar facilities! I think the takings were up a little. It is fair to say, a good time was had, throughout our stay, by all. Those who could not make it by boat made the journey by car and along with club members, enjoyed a memorable Saturday night in the club house.

they were chasing John & Greg

Saturday Evening

Boot Hill Toe Tappers

Thanks to Jo for sorting out the cake

& Pauls perseverance on lighting the candles (that had got a tad damp!)

John conducting the band on Raw Hide!

full clubhouse

Viv doing a great turn on Saturday eve

A very big thank you must go to the Soar Boating club for their hospitality, catering & bar services and to Karen and Ian for their hard work as organisers, along with Geoff. It has been a brilliant weekend, so thank you, and to all those who attended.

My weekend was topped by a surprise party in the Plough on Monday. I am about to celebrate one of those milestone birthdays and family travelled up from Northampton, London and the south coast to help me celebrate it. Thank you Jan & Wul, Jane & Paul. Craig, Michelle & Dave, Graham, Helen, Isabella, Harry and Noah. You really all made my day. I was flabbergasted to see you all. The secret was well kept and I never had an inkling that this was planned.

thanks Michelle for a great cake in design and taste!

Now time to give the liver a rest. We have made a short hop today and moored just above the lock at Kegworth. The weather is looking up they say, although, not just here, yet. Sitting writing this in a downpour! If the sun shines tomorrow, we may pay Nottingham a visit.

Leaving this morning

Greg battling the high winds

then Ken & Linda

then Julie & Geoff

Ally getting the final photos - without whom none of this would be possible & Neil

& finally Karen & Ian

Serenity  & Triskaideka sharing their first lock

Karen & Ian going into their moorings
& finally a huge thank you to Jo for my lovely butterfly,
look out for her selling these in the future!

Miles 30.
Locks 26 broad.

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