I am Linda and along with my husband Richard and our dog Muffin we enjoy our summers on the UK's canal system

Sunday 14 May 2023

May 2023 - Welford Junction, Foxton and Newton Harcourt

Welford Junction (Leicester Line) - Wednesday 10th May

There was rain forecast again for the afternoon, so we were away by 10am.  It should have been earlier, but we are useless at doing that!

It was a quiet day for me, catching up on things and starting on the planning for our BIG trip next year.  We are off to Singapore, New Zealand (6 weeks in a campervan), Tasmania, Sydney and finally San Francisco before heading home.

Meanwhile Richard navigated Crick Tunnel and braved some rain!

We passed four goose families within a few yards of each other. I wonder if they usually hang around together.

We wanted to moor just before Welford Junction, which we did, but the hedge has grown up since we were last there.  I kept asking Richard to move a few yards so that we could get a good view.  This was our final spot! 

Just beside us were some steps leading downwards.  If we had gone down, we would have found the River Avon.  This is the Warwickshire Avon which has its source at Naseby, a short distance from where we were.  The river runs through an aqueduct under the canal. 

The Welford Arm was opened in 1814 and was originally built as a navigable feeder to link the Sulby, Welford and Naseby Reservoirs with the 'old' Grand Union Canal.  The wharf at the end of the canal served the needs of the local industry and limestone was bought in to be burnt in the kilns alongside the wharf. The wharf was also used to unload and sell coal from the local towns.  Originally there were three mills along the Welford Arm. Bosworth Mill beside Bridge 1, then Naseby Mill and finally Welford Mill just before Welford Lock. All that remains of the lift bridge that served the mill is a single wooden post.  When trade stopped the canal fell into decline and ceased to be used for navigation. The Welford Arm fell into disrepair in the early part of the twentieth century and was re-opened to navigation in 1969.
12.44 miles
0 lock

Rainbow Bridge – Number 62 (Leicester Line) - Thursday 11th May

The forecast for today wasn’t good but, in fact, it turned into a nice day where we were!

Paul Balmer’s Waterway Routes maps name a good many bridges - I don’t think we will moor at number 50!

We had Husbands Bosworth Tunnel to do today.  I have often wondered why it is called Husbands Bosworth.  Some research showed me that the prefix 'Husbands' was not established until the late 16th and early 17th century and is believed to have been adopted in order to distinguish between the village of the 'husbandmen' and Market Bosworth.  So, what is a husbandman?  It is one who cultivates the earth – a farmer.

We moored up at the top of Foxton Locks for lunch and then made our way down.  There was one boat on its way down in front of us and two behind us, but fortunately there were none coming up.  The lock flight consists of two "staircases" each of five locks and are the longest, steepest staircase flight of locks in Britain and were built in 1810. They raise boats 75ft and can be a real bottleneck in the summer. In 1900 an inclined plane was built alongside which raised boats in 12 minutes. This was expensive to maintain and was only used for 10 years. The large amount of leisure boats using the canal today has led to a plan to rebuild it.

We moored up just after the bottom lock and the sun shone all afternoon, but someone was getting quite a storm – we could hear the thunder crashing in the distance.

We went to the Foxton Locks Inn for dinner.  The food was very good, and they are dog friendly, with dogs having their own menu but there are only a few tables inside which are dog friendly.

7.63 miles
10 locks

High Bridge – Number 79 (Leicester Line) - Friday 12th May

The cygnets back at Dunchurch Pools hatched yesterday.  These wonderful photos were taken by Andy Burns at the marina.  I hope there will be some more when they are allowed out of the nest. 

Our plan was to get as far as lock 27 today but we gave up quite a bit short of it!  It was a cold, grey day with a chilly wind which blew the boat all over the place at locks.  The 5 locks we did were all empty, so we just didn’t have the motivation to go any further.  We have days in hand, so it isn’t a problem.  We had come through a very dark tree lined bit of the canal then came out into open space again.  We moored up with a view of fields and a tree lined hill in the distance.  Oh, and we had the heating on

At Taylor’s Turnover Lock there is a wedding venue which is new since we last came this way.  It consists of a large wedding tipi, as well as a beautiful bridal suite, glamping pods and bedrooms.  I looked it up on the internet and if you have time do check this out, I think it’s great thing to have on your website.  Bridge House Barn

Yesterday we saw this enormous pulley wheel.  It was one of 10 such wheels which guided the cables from the winding drum at the top of the Inclined Plane Boat Lift down to the bottom and back up.  If you would like to know more about the Foxton boat lift, have a look here.  Foxton Inclined Plane Boat Lift 

7 miles
5 locks

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