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Friday, February 20, 2009

Welford Arm to Market Harborough.

Wednesday 18th February.

Welford Arm to the top of the Foxton Flight of locks, 8.6 miles and 1 lock.

It was a grey foggy morning, so there was very little to see scenerywise and not a day for taking photographs. The low cloud spoilt the view along this stretch of the canal. We left the Welford Arm mooring at 8.40am and headed back onto the main line heading for Husbands Bosworth through wooded cuttings and under red brick bridges. Being shrouded in the fog made us feel very secluded, that was soon broken with the appearance of a Canaltime hire boat coming towards us. With this week being half-term we expect to see a few hirers. There had been a couple of the Canaltime boats moored down the Welford Arm. We were continuing north east, when we saw the bow of a boat we recognised from last summers BCN’s Explorer cruise, it was the bow of NB Gerald No13 with Roy at the tiller. We swapped hellos and destinations with each other before we headed into the Husbands Bosworth tunnel, which is 1166 yds and was opened in 1813 and Roy continued on towards Norton Junction. Through the gloom of the weather we could just about see to the outline of hills, so hope that on the return journey we will get to see them in their full glory. We arrived at the top of the Foxton Locks at 11.45am and moored up.
After lunch we had a very welcome visit from Mo and Vanessa from NB Balmaha, they had walked up from the bottom of the flight to come and see us, which was really lovely of them. Marmite was clearly pleased to see them both as she showed off her fetch and catch talents. People rarely believe us when we tell them she will fetch and catch like a dog. Mo and Vanessa have seen it with their own eyes, so can vouch for her talent. We enjoyed a couple of hours chatting over a cuppa. It was so nice to catch up with them both. It gave us all the chance to swap stories about life on and off of the water.

Thursday 19th February.

Top of Foxton Flight to Market Harborough, 6.6 miles, 10 locks and 2 swing bridges.

We slept incredibly well last night, so were awake nice and early to be at the top of the Foxton Flight for the locks to be opened at 8am.Bill was already opening paddles when we arrived, so the top lock was set for us. We had a nice steady run down the locks as they are some of the easiest to work on the system, as we approached the bottom of the flight, Vanessa came along with her windless to give us a hand to get through the last two locks. We then turned on to the Market Harborough Arm, where we would unload several bags of coal for Mo and Vanessa on NB Balmaha. Vanessa then made us all a nice cup of coffee , which we enjoyed on the stern of their boat.Mo and Vanessa then headed off down the Leicester arm, whilst we carried on to Market Harborough and the basin where Canaltime have a hire fleet. We were lucky enough to get a mooring in the basin, which allowed us to connect to the landline for 50p and stay overnight for £5, which is great because I can get all our washing done. Having moored up we were then asked for coal from a couple of other boats. Our hold is now looking very empty. After having lunch we walked down into Market Harborough to do a food shop at Sainsbury’s, whilst at the checkout, we were approached by someone we never expected to see, and that was David and Margaret from NB Adraestea, we had last seen them in Crick. They had actually come to do a food shop by camper van and very kindly offered us a lift back to our boat, which was really lovely of them, as the walk up the hill did not fill either of us with delight, we had contemplated getting a taxi back. Back on the boat the big wash began, I even had the tumble drier going. I managed to get all the washing done by the time we went to bed.

Friday 20th February.

A cold misty morning greeted Paddy and I as we set off for his morning walk. After breakfast we left the basin mooring and headed out onto the towpath for a mooring, we then set off with our trolley to Welland Valley Foods, to stock up on dog and cat food supplies. It was only a short walk from Union Wharf where we are moored and has everything needed for pets. Having stowed the pet food away in the hold we then walked back down into the town to have a proper look around. Market Harborough has a lovely indoor market and café where we had a coffee and a scone. The town has everything you can possibly need, and is well worth the walk. Back onboard the boat we had some lunch and I thought I would fill the water tank after all the washing we did last evening, because on the towpath moorings there are water points all the way along. Be warned that these water points are incredibly slow, so if you are in any sort of a hurry they are not the water points for you. It took 2 hours to fill our tank and in that time I had some fantastic conversations with people from other boats and towpath walkers, so that was a definite plus. It was noticeable though that the temperature was dropping the whole time I was stood outside in my shirt sleeves. When the tank was finally full and the hosepipe stowed away in the engine room, I was glad to be back in the warmth of the boat, which is where we will stay for the evening.

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