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Roger and Lynne Lainé
Leicestershire Ring cruise
TAKU, Viking 23 n/b 1991, 15hp Honda

These pictures were taken on our first long distance cruise in Taku, which we acquired earlier this year from David Mawby Sales in Nottingham. We did the Leicestershire Ring clockwise in June/July, and Taku performed brilliantly over the 11 days.

We did the 140 miles and 100 locks with barely a mark on the boat, a nearly broken nose for me, and a few hairy moments in locks and tunnels. The scariest incidents were the drunken boat-loads of girls and boys out on their weekend hire narrowboats, bouncing off everything in sight: have you ever seen a family of 6 ducks surfing down a canal on a boat's wake? Shouldn't there be laws about this?

The best moments were reaching the top of Foxton Locks in just over an hour and looking down the staircase (see picture from halfway); and mooring up in Braunstone after the scary 2000 yard S-bend tunnel, passing 3 very well-behaved narrrow boats in the middle of it, luckily there is an all-day pub for nervous types to recover in.

Best marina en route was certainly the excellent Raynsway marina at Thurmaston north of Leicester, can't praise it enough, everything to hand, all credit to Dave the manager, we stayed there 2 nights getting Taku set up for the rest of the cruise. We also had a warm welcome at Crick marina where we were the only GRP cruiser amongst a huge collection of the biggest and brightest narrowboats we've ever seen: the owners must all go there to polish the boats once a week!

The most amazing day was the rainy afternoon when we put the canopy up and set off from Tamworth, cruising non-stop (no locks) to Fradley Junction in 3 hours without seeing another boat on the move the whole way: the other boaters did not want to get wet I suppose. It was incredibly tranquil passing through the countryside and the villages with no interruptions.

The worst day was the last day when we went from Fradley to Sawley in a single day and had no luck: locks ALL 13 against us, queues, rubbish in the locks and in the prop, slow boats, fast boats: moral is to never to cruise against the clock, just as with driving really.

Top tip: some of the urban canals have quite a bit of rubbish floating about: I found that a cook's knife taped onto the boathook was the best means of removing carrier bags and weed.

All in all we can't wait for the next cruise.

Roger and Lynne Lainé