Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Bandit country

We're moored up in a little sanctuary of safety, secure behind two sets of padlocked gates. Only a pirate boat or strong swimmers could reach us.
Welcome to Leicester, bandit central if you believe the stories. The River Soar (that's what the canal has become) runs in a one mile straight right through the city and there are mooring bollards the whole way. But not a boat sits at them. The few of us who are here are in the special secure mooring attached to the castle park. In truth you're probably safe elsewhere but no-one wants to try their luck.
Which means that boating through Leicester needs as much planning as a wagon train run through the wild west. Once you've left the sanctuary of Kilby Bridge to the south, there ain't no stopping boy. Except at the 19 locks which bar your way. Almost all of them bloody heavy and most padlocked against vandals (or they were until the vandals smashed them off!).
After five and a half hard hours we reached sanctuary. And it hadn't been a bad trip – no ambushes bar a couple of silly kids dancing on the lock beams – and even the "massive unprotected weir" by Leicester City football ground (left) was not much more than a trickle.
So tonight we can listen to the police sirens around and the distant shouts of drunks secure in our little safe haven.

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