After the Flood

Just before the last lock we went through on Sunday I was surprised to see a large bright green light shining up the river.  I presumed it could also display a red light which would indicate that the river was flooded and unusable.  We went through the lock and then moored up on the lock bollards.  Yesterday’s showery weather dissuaded us from moving on.  We went for a walk in the last of the evening sunshine as far as Pillings Flood Lock.  The riverside walk was very pretty in the golden light, though it didn’t feel as warm as it should in June,

Riverside.  Trees line the opposite bank of a wide still river.  The trees are bathed in the golden glow of a low sun.  The sky above is blue with small dark clouds.
Golden Sun on Riverside Trees

This morning we made another trip to the supermarket in Barrow-upon-Soar (in case no other supermarkets were available) and then sat out another shower before setting off.  With the batteries nearly full and the sun shining on the panels, I drifted off in gentle electric drive.  As I approached the bridge I realised that the water was heading for a different arch than us.  I pushed the throttle forward, but was only saved a collision with the bridge by the railway track guard rail.  I must remember that we are on a river.

Centre arch.  From the stern deck of a narrowboat the centre arch of a stone road bridge is directly ahead.  A metal guard rail has been placed to prevent boats being taken under the arch to the right.  There is a very dark cloud in the sky above.
Guard Rail to Protect Bridge and Boats

It wasn’t long before we reached the flood lock.  There were enormous signs saying not to proceed “past this point” if the red light was flashing.  We couldn’t see a light, and we couldn’t see a mooring either – are you supposed to wind in those circumstances?  The rain came on as we approached the lock.  We had seen on our walk the previous night that there were contradictory instructions.  A large sign indicated that the lock was normally fixed open between April and September.  It had been open two years ago, but this year it was not.  One paddle at each end was marked in red and signs said to leave these open.  One of them was broken though, so it was impossible to follow that instruction.

Clare improvised and got us through – the level difference was almost imperceptible, just enough to stop the gate opening without fiddling with the paddles.  Once through, I decided to moor up until the rain had gone off – and it was also a fine time for lunch.  Looking back before we cast off again, I saw another huge sign urging us not to proceed when the red light is flashing.  I still have no idea where the red light is.

Flood lock. A high canopy of trees overshadow a shallow lock.  The black and white painted gates are all closed.  On one side is a sign bigger than the lock gates.  The sign says not to proceed when the red light flashes.
Where IS the Red Light?

In the bright sunlight I crawled along entirely on electric.  In these conditions we could make progress entirely on solar input.  The peaceful countryside made this an enticing option.  There was evidence of flood damage to the towpath despite the extensive flood protection infrastructure a short distance upstream.

Flood damage.  A section of towpath has been temporarily shored up.  The repair has been effected with sandbags and a temporary wooden frame.
Temporary Towpath Repair

As we reached the outskirts of Loughborough I spotted a piece of bank suitable for a mooring.  I remembered that mooring had been tricky last time we’d been here so we decided to stop.  This evening we had a walk to the basin in town with an eye on mooring options.  It looks like this time I was being needlessly cautious, let’s hope things don’t change dramatically before we arrive tomorrow.