Saturday, 13 September 2014

Welford to Foxton return, via Husband's Bosworth and North Kilworth

This was a four day trip from our base at Welford, up to Foxton, through the locks and beyond.  
We popped in to Husbands Bosworth even though The Bell is closed on Monday lunchtimes. On a beautiful day the village was looking very attractive, with pleasant variety of houses and a sprinkling of expensive cars. There is a single general store and post office in a run-down state being replaced, it would seem, by something more contemporary.
The trip through the tunnel was uneventful; the moorings for the village about half a mile away are a bit rough but usable if you beware shallow areas. This shot from mid stream opposite the moorings shows the poster for The Bell, Bridge 46 and the tunnel entrance.

The canal between Husbands Bosworth and Foxton is a green corridor with very occasional glimpses of the Laughton Hills where there is a break in the trees lining the towpath. In good weather, wise boaters have moored there to savour the view, so look out for the ideal sunny spot over the hills.
We moored for the night above Bridge 60 rather than clutter the immediate approach to the staircase of locks (best reserved for watering up or for queuing) and strolled down to sample the site. Access to the locks is controlled by a lock keeper and his assistants and there is a 8am to 6pm limit.
We resolved to eat in The Old Boathouse and to set off promptly through the locks in the morning. Good food (and wi-fi except in corners) but expensive beer. If you prefer to cook for yourself or to have plainer fare try the Bridge 61 café where the beer is 40p cheaper!
Next day we boated the last few yards up the misty morning river to the Top Lock to commence the 45 minute trip through the ten locks. It's a beautiful scene even when descending into the deep slimy trench which is a staircase lock. The countryside is alternately revealed then disappears as if you are going up and down in a lift - er, which you are.

As no-one was heading upwards we shot down at a gallop - except for my bumping into the middle pound, exactly as I did twenty years ago on my very first canal holiday ... (here's the view from just below the pound looking back up to the top lock)

 - then a tight turn right towards the first swing bridge for the Market Harborough Arm. More on that in the next blog.

On our way back, two days later, the locks were busier and we were in a queue, with boats waiting for more than an hour to enter, plus 45-50 minutes to get through. However this did give us time to explore the museum - informative and interesting without being too large.

We reached Bridge 46, the Husbands Bosworth rough mooring, again to spend the night and walked up to the village once more, to The Bell. Frankly its decor feels more like a dishevelled student flat than an eating pub, and the landlord seemed morose and oblivious to his awkward mixture of soft furnishings. Nevertheless, cheered by the low beer price (in contrast to the outrageous mark up at The Old Boathouse at Foxton) we ordered the pub grub - and were very pleasantly surprised by quality and quantity. The landlord's mouth broke into a semblance of a smile when we complimented him on his "cooking" but it really was rather good fish and chips and steak and ale pie.
Wielding our torches we returned to Patience for the night.
Next day, after 12 minutes in the tunnel we dropped in to the very useful North Kilworth Marina for a pump out and a top up of diesel. We also talked to Ben the painter about the possibility of a repaint for Patience, whose sides are becoming a bit worn. A good price offered for 6-8 weeks work, and we'll think seriously about it for next year.
Back to Welford in good time after a successful trip.

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