Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Spring Cruise - Part Three

Day 5 - Tuesday 18 March

Another cold, bright day. We left our moorings at 8.45, and made our way through the two swing bridges and the moored boats, to the bottom of the Foxton Locks. Fortunately, there's a post box by the Foxton Locks Inn, complete with a big enough slot for our two remaining cards. We found ourselves in the middle of several inexperienced Canaltime crews -- two in front of us and another behind. We could tell it was going to take longer than 45 minutes to get up the flight, and the lock keeper was rushing up and down trying to keep an eye on everyone. He apologised for not giving us any attention! The boat immediately in front of us gave a classic demonstration of how not to cross the middle pound. Quite how they managed to get crosswise in such a short distance is still a mystery.

We needed to top up the water tank, but as the boat in front had stopped for breakfast, and there was another Canaltime behind, we decided to keep going. It was also some of the calmest weather we'd had, so it made sense to make the most of it. We caught up with the first boat up the flight (named Emerson's Speedway, but who seemed to be stuck on tickover) and eventually got past them. The it was on through the Husbands Bosworth Tunnel.

At Welford Junction, we turned left onto the arm, went up the lock, and right to the end where we tied up on the water point. We had lunch while the tank filled, then I walked into the village to go to the little shop. While we were moored, a team of BW guys loaded about five sandbags and a shovel onto a boat, and then had to phone someone to tell them how to start the engine. Once they'd set off, and I'd returned with the shopping (principally a carrot cake, and some Leicestershire bacon), we winded in the basin and set off back down the arm. In the next mile and three quarters we passed more moving boats than we'd seen in any stretch since we set off. They included the Canaltime which had been behind us, Mad As A Hatter, the BW boat returned minus sandbags, and Emerson's Speedway, now with the son at the tiller and moving at a rather faster rate.

Turning left onto the main line, we carried on until about 4pm, and tied up in a lovely spot just before Bridge 36.

13 miles, 12 locks. (56, 38)

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