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Sunday, 6 July 2014

Into the City.

What a lovely morning for a cruise. We left Birstall ans passed through the park with loads of walkers, cyclists etc. The cut is very bendy here and luckily we didn't meet anybody in wrong places. Helen helped a single hander as he went up through the lock and we followed him. She told hime that we were going to Leicester and we could go together but he didn't take the hint. We caught up with him at Belgrave lock just as he was closing the gates. I hooted a few times and fortunately a passer-by noticed and opened the gate.

The River Soar Weir at Belgrave Lock with the National Space Centre building in the background.

It turned out that he was fairly new to boating and hadn't been single handing before and was realising that it was harder work than he had thought. In fact he was trying to get away from a weekend with his Children and Grand Children! We passed by Abbey Park without seeing anything of it and then came to North Lock which is in a very rundown area.

Canal side factory converted to flats by North Lock.

The secure moorings were just round the corner. we could see that there were some boats on the pontoon as we approached West Bridge just as a couple of PCSO's passed and we asked if the tow path side moorings were okay. They said that there had been no trouble there for a long time. We decided that we would stop anyway. As it was there was just space for us on the pontoon so no problem.

West Bridge from the Leicester Pontoon.

The pontoon is in Castle Park which is a lovely oasis. The Watermate key opens the gate, and if after the park closes (at 2000) the key also opens on of the external gates. From the park you can walk up into the Newarke through cobbled streets and old buildings by St Mary de Castro which started as the place of worship in the castle.

Tudor gateway into Castle Square.

Next to the castle was the Newarke area which was a religious precinct that was started by the House of Lancaster.

The Turret Gateway built around 1423 and was one of the gateways between the castle grounds and the Newarke religious area.

We just arrived at the other existing gateway when we learned that there was a free guided tour of the Magazine Gateway so we joined it. The guide very kindly showed us the way to the Tourist Information Office and we armed our self with maps and leaflets so as to make a plan for tomorrow. Then we went window shopping in the vast areas of shopping. Everything look new and interesting. We also learned that the Cathedral Gardens were opening today so we wnt to have a look. There were all sorts of things going on so we listened to the stage shows and had an ice cream.

The statue of Richard III has been moved here from Castle Park, near the mooring pontoon.

Of course Leicester in now making a big thing of having found the body of Richard III and are opening and exhibition and museum later in the month about the story.

The Guild of Corpus Chritie building that later became the Town Hall, with the Tower of Leicester Cathedral in the background.

On the way back to the boat we found a Weatherspoons and had a pint of Village Green by Nottingham Brewery Lincoln Green and a pint of Rutland Panther by Leicestershire brewery Grainstore.

The Magazine Gate House that would have housed the Porter's accommodation and rooms for visitors to the religious precinct. The walls would have joined from the right and left.

Tomorrow we will 'do' the museums etc and have a good look round possibly the largest indoor market in the country.

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