Saturday, August 18, 2012

Where did all the boats go?

It’s not been busy further up the canal, and yesterday there were a few boats knocking about around Foxton, but today we’ve seen three, maybe four boats all day! Such a fine day, too.

Near Fleckney this morningSAM_2360 Fine morning

The locks have come steadily today, the first one just around the corner.

Kibworth Top Lock Cottage, being renovatedSAM_2361 Kibworth Lock Cottage

In Kibworth Top LockSAM_2362 Kibworth Top Lock

Behind us now are the easy narrow locks of Foxton and Watford, these are all broad from here, designed for a pair of narrowboats or a wide barge. Wishful thinking, as Watford was always going to be a pinch point without the locks being widened.

The gates and paddles are quite heavy, and there’s a lot of walking around to do.

A few years ago we came up here in the autumn, and the two pounds below were almost empty. Mags ran aground on the mud coming out of Pywells Lock, and I had to run water down from the pounds above so she could scrape along the bottom to the next lock.

Going nowhere, October 2008October 2008 151 Aground above Pywells Lock B.jpg

Not a problem today, an excess of water in fact!SAM_2363 Pywells

We made steady, rather than rapid, progress. Unfortunately we were following a boat, always just out of sight but definitely there judging by the wet walls of the empty locks. So I had to fill every lock bar one before we could use it. We met one boat at Crane’s Lock, so used the lock he’d left.

We were tempted to pull over near Wistow, but it was still before lunchtime, so decided to press on to Kilby Bridge as planned.

Fine views across the parkland from the moorings near Wistow.SAM_2367 Wistow
There used to be a village here, the medieval  Wystowe. All that remains is the church and Wistow Hall, nestling in the trees. The village was depopulated in the 17C to make the parkland we see now.

The locks on this section tend to be grouped together, and there are another three in quick succession near Newton Harcourt.

Newton Bridge and Newton Top LockSAM_2370 Harcourt Br and Lock

The delightfully named Bumblebee Lock was our last for today.SAM_2373 Bumblebee Lock

The lack of traffic allows water lilies to flourishSAM_2376 Water Lilies

We arrived at Kilby Bridge at around 13:15, filled the water tank again (we’d put all the floor rugs through the washer on the way today, drying them on the roof), then pulled over onto the moorings opposite.

Kilby Bridge WharfSAM_2377 Kilby Br Hardly any boats here, either!

We’ll stay here tomorrow, girding our loins for a non-stop trip through Leicester on Monday. Well, that’s the plan. The fall-back position is to break the journey at Aylestone, we’ll see how we go. With this few boats about I guess we won’t have the benefit of a locking partner.

Locks 12, miles 5

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