Tuesday, 11 April 2017


Today's Canal - Grand Union Leicester Branch

As we had a date with Sam of Foxton Boat Services this morning, we set the alarm for an early start, aiming to be the first boat through the Foxton flight. Indeed, although Mike had walked down the flight whilst waiting for a lock keeper to arrive for the 8 o'clock opening, and met the keeper just before the top, it turned out that he was the first to register for going down and as the flight was set, boats from the top took preference for a start (probably to the disappointment of another boat waiting at the bottom)

All went smoothly and we made the passage in just a little under the standard 45 minutes. At one lock Mike, who was steering at the time, had quite a surprise when the boat behind emptied a lock - the side ponds were quite full - and water came cascading over the gates - fortunately he was not too close!

At the bottom we moored temporarily whilst Christine went to locate Sam. As it happened he was still setting off one of his day boats and so it was not until nearly 9:30 that we could reverse back down the Harborough Arm to the Boat Services location.

Sam set about the engine and gearbox servicing which is quite a routine matter. Nevertheless it took well over an hour before he was able to turn to looking at the heater.

Meanwhile, Andrew retrieved his car from the top lock, off loaded some more stores before finding a place to leave it for the rest of the week.

During this time, Christine took a walk around the site of the former inclined plane and took a number of pictures. Sadly, it seems that the project to re-instate the plane in working condition has had to be abandoned as impractical in a modern context.

During the servicing, Sam had a visit from the Beta Marine customer support person whom we had spoken to about a service agent. In the process we ended up with three good quality branded mugs!

In the event, we were not able to leave Foxton until almost four o'clock.

We did not plan to go down any locks, which start shortly after Saddington Tunnel, but in the event went down just one in order to find a suitable mooring spot.

5.6 miles - 11 locks

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