Friday, 28 August 2015

Home waters!

Ali reckons I am showing the signs of early onset Alzheimer's! This may well be true, but as we gained familiar ground, the journey became something of a blur. Not that the area is in any way unpleasant, far from it. But it is so familiar that you tend to forget what a wonderful and diverse landscape the Leicester line offers.

 Today we have moored opposite our marina of choice, for winter. This is Crick. Being the start of the bank holiday weekend, we rather expected the run in to be busy, not so. Very quiet up to now.

After leaving our mooring at Kilby bridge last Saturday morning, we were lucky to enjoy the company of another boat (NB Tiggywinkle) up all the broad locks towards Foxton. This made life a lot easier and we were soon into the swing. All was going well until we noticed that the pounds appeared to be lower than normal. We did not get grounded, but our companion boat did just before entering the lock. A quick flush of water through the lock from Ali gave them just enough water to make it in.

All did not go as well on one of the locks. The gate paddle on the top gate on one side proved awkward in that it could only be operated one way. As Ali was lowering the paddle the windlass slipped and spun, hitting her hard on the left arm. She was in great pain and had a cut, but carried on. Thank God for frozen peas!  It was only later when the bruising came out that the severity was apparent. It just shows how careful you need to be at all times.

We carried on through the beautiful area towards Debdale, the canal here an SSSI. A tad narrow, but worth it. Just prior to Foxton, we moored in rural solitude, away from the majority of the gongoozling masses. Still quite a foot fall along the towpath though. As I stood on the rear deck, two couples with a pair of dogs happened to walk past. The dogs first. One had an enormous crap just past our mooring ( the dog I hasten to add): and I watched as the owners blithely walked past it. I hailed them, pointed to the pile and requested its removal...or words to that effect. It was collected!

On Sunday, with a dire forecast for the next day, we poodled into Market Harborough. £10 per day with electric included is not too bad. We managed to moor against the wall, so we were not swinging about on the somewhat short finger pontoons. Good use we made of the power supply.

We ended up staying in Harborough until Wednesday. Sat out the foul weather, did all the chores and had the engine serviced. This also gave Ali the chance to meet up with family.

So Wednesday saw us cast off the electrical umbilical, and off towards Foxton again.  We arrived just missing passage up the lock flight, so lunched moored up outside the pub. For some reason, it did seem to take a long time before we began the ascent, first in the queue, but we flew up, assisted by a very young lad and his granddad, opening and closing the gates.

Moored up for the day just above the locks.

On Thursday we enjoyed the lock free summit pound, with its splendid views. Well it was lock free until we decided to visit Welford.  One lock, and use of the services and we decided to move on back onto the main line. So up the same gentle lock and south again. We moored once again in rural isolation and I did a spot of fishing. Sods law, no camera and a large mink swam past, only darting into the undergrowth when it spotted me.

The sun shone today, although it has been a little windy, a feature of this year! We are moored virtually opposite what will be our winter mooring and in sight, just, of N.B. Panda, resplendent in her new paintwork and sign writing.

Not entirely sure where we are heading after Braunston, but the south Oxford looks promising, if the water levels are OK.

I know there has been and will be controversy about the mooring rules/restrictions at Foxton, but this sign is beyond me, how can you moor to a concrete bank and solid towpath?
Sign - 7 days

Bank - concrete! 

12 Broad locks
12 Narrow locks.
42 miles.
Saddington tunnel 880 yds
Husbands Bosworth tunnel 1166 yds
4 moveable bridges.

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