Friday, August 31, 2012

One up on the enemy at Foxton.

The Leicester section of The Grand Union Canal is very rural and one of our favourite stretches for peace and tranquility. Our plan for Thursday was to get to Foxton Locks by mid afternoon, giving us chance to descend in good time even if there was a queue. The weather was supposed to improve as the day went on, but we did stop briefly for a downpour as we approached Welford Junction.

It was a welcome relief when Luke & Annabelle offered to steer us towards Foxton, negotiating Husbands Bosworth tunnel in the process, whilst we enjoyed a beverage in the front deck. Annabelle had her first attempt at steering and did very well (judged by the fact that no wine was spilt).

On arrival at Foxton, we were soon beckoned to descend. Luke steered whilst the rest of us worked the paddles and gates. It is such a lovely place and as usual we got into conversation with a number of the gongoozlers. Annabelle soon learned the process of red before white and enthusiastically wound paddles up and down. As we emerged, Louise went to open the swing bridge and witnessed a lady fall in as she tried to get back on her boat on the other side of the bridge, much to the amusement of the clientele of Foxton Locks beer garden !!
The young 'uns doing the work

We moored a short distance along the arm and Luke enjoyed some good fishing and Annabelle also caught her first ever fish. We had an excellent meal at The Black Horse in Foxton - certainly one to recommend, especially if you like real ales. 

Today saw us continue into Union Wharf at Market Harborough. A lovely early morning trip in bright sunshine. Two kingfishers and breakfast on the move - what could be better. Luke & Annabelle were heading home today, so we walked with them to the train station and saw them off, before doing a bit of shopping on the way back to the boat - they were actually back in Derby before we were back at the boat !!

We left around midday and headed back to Foxton. Louise went to find the lock keeper to book us in, but he was no where to be found. Even the second lock keeper didn't know where he was. Twenty minutes later and he was located in a secluded spot having his lunch - not that he had bothered to tell anyone !!!

We were told to begin coming up the locks and then wait in the middle pound for three boats to pass us which were coming down, which we did. As we set off again, a family with two teenage boys got talking to me as I locked. I couldn't help but notice that one of the lads was wearing  a Nottingham Forest tracksuit top. Now I'm more a rugby man, but the rivalry between Derby and Forest is a good one, and I couldn't let this opportunity pass. They were mildly keen to help and open gates, but I encouraged them to help open and close each set of gates and by the top few locks, Mum was getting involved too.

The view back down the locks
As Louise brought Blue Moon into the top lock, I looked over at Mum and said 'It'll make their day to know they've helped two Derby fans'. If looks could kill - their faces were an absolute picture. Some banter was exchanged, but they were clearly gutted. I was assured that things would be put right on 30th September when the two teams meet. I don't think my comment about Derby only taking ten men to the City Ground was too well received - Derby fans will know what I'm talking about - as will any Forest fans :-)

We treated ourselves to a well deserved cherry ice cream as we filled with water at the top of the flight before cruising down towards Welford for the night.

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