Friday, 15 August 2014

A staircase, a living milestone & a moraine!

Monday 11th August

On our way back down the Harborough Arm we approached the Road Swing Bridge with trepidation after the traffic jam we caused on the way up.  Luckily the Gods were with us & we managed it without a hitch.

The Foxton Flight
 Foxton Locks is the largest flight of staircase locks on the English canal system with two 'staircases' of five locks.  As you can imagine it is quite a tourist attraction and there is no lack of Gongoozlers. We had thought that by avoiding the weekend we would also avoid the queuing.  No such luck.  Each lock will only take one boat at a time & there is only one passing place in the middle pound.  We had to wait 1.5 hours before we could start the ascent.

There was however plenty to look at while waiting, like this ambitious Roof Garden.......

...and this rather colourful boat adorned with traditional canalware.

Taking a moment to admire the fantastic views at the half way mark, on a bench dedicated to our friend Marion's parents who loved to visit Foxton Locks.

And what an amazing view over the Leicestershire countryside. Unfortunately the photo doesn't really do it justice.

From Foxton the canal follows the contours of the hills, so that you find yourself looking up hill to the right....

...and downhill to the left. Both views are quite picturesque. 

Soon we were in Northamptonshire and a little further along we turned off onto the Welford arm, only 1.6 miles long, and moored in the basin. A pub & the pretty village of Welford are nearby, from where there are several interesting walks. This very short arm was built to supply the main canal & Foxton locks with water from the nearby reservoirs.

Rejoining the main canal again it became very narrow in places as the vegetation spread out from the banks.

It made passing another boat very interesting!

These metal signs denote the site of a living milestone.  Most canals have milestone markers, usually wood, stone or metal but this stretch of canal has trees planted as mile markers, hence the 'living milestone'.  I guess when first planted the trees stood out, but as the hedgerows grew more dense another form of marker was needed.

You come across some odd sights on the canals.  This one left me wondering how on earth it got there!  The very rounded hill in the background also seemed an oddity.  It is called Cracks Hill and is a moraine. No I didn't know what that was either. see

We shortly arrived at Crick Marina where we were made to feel very welcome by the staff.  Having filled up with fuel and availed ourselves of the services, we spent our last night aboard for a week or so.  This morning, in torrential rain, we picked up our hire car from the nearby village & set off for home.

14th August 2014  -  618 miles & 388 locks!

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