A fine but chilly morning as we left Welford and set off towards Foxton Locks some 8.5 miles away. We passed through Husband Bosworth Tunnel en route (1166 yards).
We booked in with the lock-keeper at 1.25pm and joined just two other boats queuing to descend. At 2.10pm we moved into the top lock and 70 minutes later we’d reached the bottom of the ten locks (two staircases of five locks with a small crossover pound between the two).
These locks all have side pounds and there are two sets of ground paddle mechanisms at each lock, one painted red, and one white, and you are instructed to open them in that order. The red mechanism for the bottom lock of the first staircase as you descend is situated beside the sixth lock and is easy to overlook.
Beside the locks you can see what remains of the Foxton Inclined Plane. In the early 1900’s this mechanism was created to bypass the locks and would carry boats in two big cast iron troughs to the top of the hill in 12 minutes as opposite to the 70 minutes via the locks. It only operated for ten years and was considered a bit of a white elephant as it came too late in the lifetime of the canals. http://www.fipt.org.uk/lift.html
This site is very popular with sightseers and it was nice to walk back to the site in the early evening when everyone had gone home. We moored up along the Market Harborough Arm, close to the pretty Leicestershire village of Foxton
9.5 miles, 10 locks, 1 tunnel
Oh no, still raining. We donned our wet weather gear which included our new army surplus waterproof gloves (the first we’ve ever had that actually are waterproof) even though they look quite sinister – a bit “Dr No”. We acquired these at Crick Festival at a bargain price and we don’t have to take them off to untie ropes!
We motored on until lunchtime by which time our waterproofs were perspiring inside out and we moored up for lunch, and we later decided, for the day.
We lit the stove. We’ve not need this for weeks now and had stored everything away for the Summer but with the damp seeping into everything we sat and steamed for the rest afternoon. I can hear my mother reminding me that “one shouldn’t ‘cast a clout til May is out …”
(5 miles, no locks)
It’s still raining!
We are very impressed by Tesco who arrived promptly at 11am, even though the booked slot was for an hour up to 12 noon. Only one slight problem, the marina office is closed on a Tuesday and therefore so was the gate – a half mile uphill walk from the marina that seems more like a mile. Thankfully we’d been forewarned and so Storm had already donned his waterproofs and had set off in good time to man the gate.
The charming and helpful driver helped us carry the groceries to the boat which were all present and correct.
We were now ready to leave the marina and, whilst our stay had been very peaceful, we were glad to escape to the relative freedom of the canal away from the oppressive rules of marina life.
As the weather was so atrocious, we only motored for about a mile and instead spent the afternoon planning the next stage of our journey because after all the rain we’ve had and are forecast still to have, we’ve decided to give the River Nene a miss for the time being as it will be in flood and therefore un-navigable.
After trawling through the maps, the guides, and our books on places of interest to visit, we’re going to head to Market Harborough; an area we’ve never visited before so log on again over the next few days for more thrilling adventures …
Raining again and so we decided on a cooked breakfast after which I placed my first on-line grocery order with Tesco and booked a time slot which should mean this will be delivered to the marina tomorrow morning before we leave to continue our travels – fingers crossed.
The rain subsided briefly at lunch time so we ventured out with Max and walked down to Crick Marina and back. The show was still attracting lots of visitors despite the weather even though they were trudging through thick mud in places.
We got back to the boat just before the rain set in again for the afternoon and we spent a cosy afternoon reading and, in between preparing dinner, I made some bread.
We had a hasty breakfast and headed off back to the show to try and beat the crowds and to have a closer look together as we’d walked round separately yesterday. We bumped into Pip and Mick and invited them over to ours for dinner tonight. We booked to look around two new boats so that we could compare layouts, fittings etc. We bought all sorts of things and also a couple of Christmas presents for the kids and then we walked down to the village shop for supplies before returning to the boat late afternoon.
The forecast today was for rain. A walk into the village for the papers with Max resulted in one soaking. We were expecting two different groups of friends about lunch-time and they arrived while it was still raining so we sat and nattered over coffee and cake. We headed off for the festival about 1pm by which time the rain had ceased and for the majority of the afternoon we enjoyed dry conditions while we strolled around looking at the various stalls and new boats on display.
At about 5pm I headed back to Yelvertoft with one group while the others stayed on to look at one or two other things. Midway home the heavens opened and it absolutely bucketed it down, and included hailstones too, and there was absolutely nowhere to shelter. We were armed with umbrellas and all had coats but by the time we got back to the boat we were drenched and couldn’t have been any wetter if we’d swum across the marina! Towels were handed round but these provided little comfort and one very steamed up car left soon afterwards with four very damp ladies!
The other party returned about an hour later, all dry as they’d found shelter in one of the tents at the festival, that just happened to sell beer!
After waving them goodbye we didn’t venture out again and spent an evening keeping warm so as not to risk another soaking.
We spent the morning finishing off the jobs we didn’t get round to yesterday. Just as we’d finished and were planning a cup of coffee, a boat came hurtling past us and pulled out our mooring pins and so we decided to move off then up the canal, wind and return to Yelvertoft Marina where we’ve booked for four nights for the duration of the Crick Boat Festival at the neighbouring Marina.
We negotiated the narrow entrance without incidence and pulled onto the first available mooring opposite the entrance. We then went to the office to announce our arrival, where we were met with blank stares. Thankfully I’d printed off a copy of the confirmation email I’d received and then there ensued a discussion between the three people in the office disputing who’d sent the email, while we sat there bemused. This discussion was interrupted by telephone calls, restarted, interrupted and eventually we were asked for our payment and we left them to decide who was responsible for booking us in and we returned to the boat. By now it was raining so I spent the afternoon baking.
The sun came out in the evening, which was lucky because we were hoping to meet up with Pip and Mick whose new boat is moored in Crick Marina. Pip rang us and we arranged to meet at 9pm and to join them in the festival beer tent for a drink. We had a lovely evening catching up on news and hearing of their cruising plans and they also invited us to have a look round their lovely new boat.
We waved them goodbye and agreed to meet up again over the weekend, and walked back to our boat by torchlight along the path between the two marinas and marvelled at the beautiful starry sky.