How to get there - Barrow is off the A6, South East of Loughborough. The Boat House Inn (LE12 8PN) have an extension carpark on the North West side of the Barrow Road bridge which says "for Patrons only" but I asked, and they didn't mind me leaving the car there. There was also a large paddling group camping. They seem very supportive of paddlesport - check the website.
For those with SatNav the postcode is LE12 8PN.
Get a map with driving directions to start or end (enter the postcode of your starting point at A)
Suggested Launch Site - You can put in directly from the carpark through the hedge.
Description - 8.5k down the Soar, and 8k back up the Grand Union. Paddle down to Pillings Lock (1k ). Go through lock if open ( summer ) and exit canal right. Look for paths down to river on right. Railway bridge at SK565183 has large wooden posts restricting passage either side of the central metal bridge supports. Only clear route through is immediately to the river right of the central bridge supports, about 3' beam clearance. Weir under Cotes bridge SK553206 is metal edged, in low flow, can stand on edge of weir to let your boat down gently if you want. Stoney beach at 536220 for a pull out for lunch. Turn Left at the canal junction, portage the lock, and turn left again at SK532201, paddle back to start.
The trip is 10.5 miles with 3 locks and two weirs to portage.
Comments on this trip
SoaringDragonsCouk 20 Aug 2017
Took our dragon boat round the loop today. We managed to get around and over the obstacles in our path. Great fun!
Paul 27 Nov 2013
Had a great paddle along this suggested route on a crisp, sunny November day. Good parking facilities in Barrow on Soar. Took 4 hours to paddle the loop circuit, 18km recorded on GPS.
Graham Bolger 13 Jul 2013
This is a good launch site. We launched from here and headed the other way, south, under the bridge and followed the river past the caravan park. The river follows a wide arc to join up with the canal again. Its a guite interesting stretch with some smart houses, farmland and some narrow, shallow stretches. We returned the same way with the current.It is about 2 miles each way, making a nice few hours on a nice day followed by a good cream tea at the boat house pub.
Howard Denton 04 May 2011
Looks a nice trip. If when you get to the junction with the canal to the north of Loughborough you carry on with the Soar to the north about 3/4 mile you soon come to a very nice waterside pub at Normanton on Soar with landing stage. Good food. There is also a public slipway to the far side ie the northern boundry of the pub.