Sunday, 9 April 2017

Welford Junction

Today's Canal - Grand Union Leicester Branch

We had planned to visit Crick parish church for the 9.45 service but first had to make an early start to pass through the tunnel and find a mooring as close to the road bridge as possible.

Although it was another bright sunny day it had been quite cold overnight and everything outside was not pleasant to touch!  It took just half an hour to reach Crick Wharf and luckily there was just enough room for us to fit in.

We walked into the village - just over a quarter of an hour, including the time along the towpath and up to the road. The village itself it not large - population still under 2000 - but on its outskirts are large warehouse developments including DIRFT, a large road-rail interchange. This is why a bypass was built around 1999 - traffic through the Main Street must have been getting pretty unbearable!

Now, the village is a pleasant, quite quiet place with a couple of pubs (plus the one at the Wharf), a Post Office, Co-Op convenience store and another small shop selling decorative artefacts. It aslo has a junior school, an ex-serviceman's club - and yes, the parish church.

We were made very welcome when we arrived, rather early by local standards but it was a baptism today in place of their usual family service. Baby Freddie was supported by family and friends. It was a very informal service with every effort made to connect with a younger congregation but also managing to retain the older members as well. Supporters were encouraged to take photos to remember the day.

They have a large screen for all the words of the service and the hymns - at the end we took the opportunity to photo it - it is remotely controlled and not only does that roll up the screen into its box but also lifts that box right out of sight.

As we looked around the church after the service we discovered that Archbishop Laud was parish priest here for many years. However, in the seventeenth century, being Rector was not quite the same as now and a local history web site says, "It was in the two years ending in 1621 that he was Rector of Crick as well as President of St John's. Records indicate that during that time there were at least two occasions when he actually visited the village!"

He was a controversial archbishop, mainly during the reign of Charles I but his high church practices were not to the liking of the Parliamentarians and he was taken to the Tower of London in the first part of the Civil War and later executed.

We called at the Co-Op on the way back - it seems that we might need some sun block today! Back at the boat we had a cup of coffee and changed into boat wear before setting off just after mid day for an hour's run - it was too early for lunch yet.

After lunch we continued - all day we have been on the summit pound which stretches from the Watford Locks we came through yesterday to the Foxton flight which we should just about reach tomorrow (depends on meeting up with Andrew again) Just after leaving we passed Cracks's Hill - after which Crick is named.(It seems that Crick originally meant hill)

It was as very pleasant cruise - quite a few boats about, sometimes inconveniently wanting to pass under a bridge at the same time as we did. At one corner it seemed as if an improvised cannon was aimed at us!

At this time of the year, before many of the trees have sprouted their leavs, a bright day can give some attractive scenes against the clear sky.

At times there was a fresh breeze - when it did then we were much fresher, when we were sheltered it was almost like summer. The wind certainly picked up for the moments when we came to moor at Welford Junction and it was somewhat of  a struggle to keep the boat alongside whilst hammering in mooring pins! Given half a chance (and at one point we almost did) the wind would have taken the boat right across to the opposite bank.

On a couple of occasions, one just as we moored, we saw a glider being towed up for a flight.

12.3 miles - 0 locks

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