Leicestershire - River Soar and Grand Union Canal - Barrow upon Soar to Barrow upon Soar (Circular route)
This page was submitted by Peter Robinson
How to get there -
Start points could be at the marina for Barrow Boating, or Pillings Lock Marina (both in/near Barrow upon Soar), or somewhere in Loughborough. If you plan to use one of the marinas you may want to phone ahead to ask permission.
All fairly close to the M1.
Get a map with driving directions to start
(enter the postcode of your starting point at A)
Suggested Launch Site -
Barrow Boating Marina (LE128LQ) would seem to be a good launch site but the gates were closed on the November day we planned the trip, so we moved on to the new Pillings Lock Marina (LE12 8FE). After asking in the marina office we were given permission to park in their large car park (avoid the numbered bays) area and launch. Alternative launch sites in Loughborough may be suitable but we did not explore these possibilities.
After leaving Pillings Lock marina turn right along the Grand Union Canal towards the lock. Shortly before the lock there is a path on the left hand bank which leads down to the river Soar, with a reasonable launch point (below the weir). Left down the river which is a beautiful meandering paddle. The river was high on our trip so no problems with the weed which is seen on satellite images. A few small waves under the Cotes bridge and I have read elsewhere that this is some form of weir (with metal retainers) in low water - but it was not visible to us.
After about 5 miles the Grand Union Canal joins the Soar and the route turns left up the canal. Into the edges of Loughborough, left at a junction under Chain Bridge, and back on up to Pillings Lock. The trip can be extended by going on past the marina, through the lock and up to Barrow upon Soar. There are many more options and overall a nice trip.
Good cup of tea in the cafe back at Pillings Lock Marina!