Saturday, 28 May 2016

The Leicester Arm - Welford to Foxton

Welford is on a short arm off the Leicester Arm of the Grand Union. We've often been up to Foxton Locks (see previous blogs) as it's just a three hour trip to the top lock with good moorings, interesting museum, attractive scene and the only lock is that at the end of the Welford Arm.
This time we thought we'd go further north and maybe venture into Leicester itself. However there are negative comments about the canals around Leicester, suggesting yobbish behaviour, broken windows, damaged locks - none of which we have any proof for, but tended to put us off. The general opinion was that Kilby Bridge was a useful and safe place to stay and by mooring there for two nights we could avoid the suburbs and more locks, while having easy access by bus to Leicester.
And so it proved. Foxton Locks was unfortunately busy with boats heading for the Crick Festival so we were queued at the summit, then again in the central pond while eight boats went up. It took just short of three hours to get to the bottom - including a challenging couple of minutes while Duncan conducted a complete circle in the central pond, whisked around by undercurrents. Or so he said.

Memo to users of Foxton Locks: the ten locks are deep but the paddles are easy to wind and the gates well balanced so the two flights are less exhausting than they first appear. However the locks are fed by side ponds which recycle the water and while economical on water use there is a danger for spectators (and there are always spectators at Foxton) of falling in (it has happened ...) and the inrush of water causes treacherous currents which can drive a boat in odd directions in the pound.

Anyway, we eventually moored just north of bridge 62 (see above) and enjoyed first a thirst-quenching pint at Bridge 61 then a pleasant meal at the Foxton Locks Inn. Tomorrow we would be in unfamiliar territory as we aimed to pass through 12 locks and a tunnel from Foxton to Kilby Bridge.

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