Wednesday 22 June 2022

Summer Cruise Market Harborough to Braunston

 Tuesday 21 June Market Harborough to Foxton Locks (6 miles, 2 swing bridges)

Last night, John had to run the engine to recharge the leisure batteries, a rare event in summer, so we guess the deep shade prevented the solar panels doing their job while we were away. 

 Up late again to a sunny blue sky first day of Summer! John steered while Liana tidied, passing those fancy houses, then the overgrown canal meant we had to keep an eye out for oncoming boats.  

It was quiet all the way to Foxton village, where Liana needed help with that heavy, sticking swing bridges. The lady from an oncoming boat helped, too.  Again, a kind CRT volunteer helped her with the pedestrian swing bridge at Foxton Locks. 

Once Liana’s sister Alison had arrived, we soon got called to go up the ten Foxton Locks, with plenty of gongoozlers / visitors watching and chatting to the girls and John. The CRT volunteers are helpful and professional. 

Once up, we moored, relaxed and played a few games of Settlers of Catan. Liana and Ali both won - guess who didn’t!

Wednesday 22 June Foxton Locks to after bridge 23 near Yelvertoft (15 miles, 1 tunnel)

Bright sun and a clear blue sky saw us leave the metal canal horse and our moorings into the quiet, tree-lined country canal through the sparsely populated high Leicester plateau. Gliders scudded by cotton wool clouds.

CRT had built a scaffolding towpath for fifty metres. We were surprised they hadn’t driven new piles in to do a proper job.

Apart from occasional oncoming boats, we were alone, with Liana washing the roof and solar panels as we went along. Husbands Bosworth Tunnel is quite straight, and we passed through alone. 

North Kilworth moorings were full up, so we congratulations  past the large new marina, the junction with the Welford Arm to a lovely shady mooring before bridge 38, where we got the chairs out for a relaxed lunch.

This rural canal is quite overgrown in many places, so we had to take care on blind bends and bridge holes. John had to take avoiding action several times.

We moored a mile before Yelvertoft, got the chairs out and chilled. Red wine and reading seem to go well together!

Thursday 23 June Yelvertoft to Watford Locks and on to Braunston 

Friday 17 June 2022

Summer Cruise Leicester to Foxton and Market Harborough

 Monday 13 June Aylestone Meadows, Leicester to Kilby Bridge (7 miles, 12 locks)

First job this sunny morning was check oil and water before ascending Kings Lock.

Tuesday 14 June Kilby Bridge to Foxton Locks (10.5 miles, 12 locks, 1 tunnel)

We set off with Dave and Dil(ys) on NB Trundle, to share the twelve locks up to Kilby Bridge. Some of these wide locks are hard work, so we had a happy time chatting and working the locks.

Wednesday 15 June at Foxton Locks

Liana and I awoke to the sound of the Foxton bottom lock clattering, as the first boats began their ascent. It wasn’t Al & Annie! By the time we had breakfasted and emerged, They were readying themselves by the 61 pub, so we walked over and went up all ten locks with them, Lady Margaret , plus “Burb” and Annie in their cruiser Kraken. The two Annies soon had the red and white paddles sorted, with help from the friendly lock keeper.

At the top, we celebrated with ice creams.

Later, we realised we (John) had mislaid a set of boat keys, so we asked at pub, shop and lock keepers, but no joy. We left our phone number, just in case.

Thursday 16 June Foxton Locks to Market Harborough (5 miles,  0 locks, 2 swing bridges)

In bright morning sun we walked up the ten Foxton Locks, checking for our lost set of keys one last time. The lock keeper said he’d put a note in their book about it. 

John turned Annie in the basin while Liana unlocked and opened the pedestrian swing bridge. Once through, Liana needed the help of a kind CRT volunteer to push it close again. Passing moored craft and oncoming boats, we soon arrived at Foxton village swing bridges. A dog walker kindly helped Liana here, as he said it was even harder work than the first one! We let a following boat through, too.

This five mile branch is pretty, quite overgrown by trees, with plenty of water plant encroachment. You box the compass around Gallows Hill, on top of which is Gartree Prison. John honked the horn on blind bends, and needed to, as we passed four day boats and even more oncoming cruisers and Narrowboats on the way. 

We passed old ex-working boats, maybe waiting to attend the rally at Braunston in two weekends time.

Reaching Market Harborough, we passed luxurious houses and moored boats on our way to the now  busy basin, with its hirebase, pontoons and restaurant, which we tried later (not cheap, but quite nice - the mussel sauce was salty).
After using the services, we moored outside the basin, as you must pay within.

Friday 17-20 June Market Harborough and South Wales

We had a phone call to say our keys had been found, so we popped to Foxton Locks on the way to South Wales, where we had a great time babysitting our grandchild Hope!

We visited Goytre Wharf and chatted with the volunteers on the Mon, Brec & Abergavenny Canal Trust trip boat.