Saturday, July 05, 2014

Better weather than expected

After yesterday late afternoon’s rain, which continued on and off through most of the night, we planned to go just a little way today, expecting it to be damp. But by 10:00 it had dried up, and so far it’s stayed fair, even an odd glimpse of the sun to be had.

Gloomy leaving the top of Foxton this morningIMG_0083

I think the Leicester section of the GU is very much an undervalued waterway. The summit in particular is very pleasant, quiet and rural, with some fine views of the rolling Leicestershire countryside.IMG_0086

From here to Norton Junction the navigation channel was built to broad beam dimensions, only the lock flights at Foxton and Watford preventing barge traffic from the north of the Trent right down to London.

Wide bridges on the Leicester Line.

Some of the lush vegetation could do with some attention, though.IMG_0088

We didn’t intend to go so far, but with the fine conditions soon found ourselves entering the cutting heading to Husbands Bosworth Tunnel.

Tunnel CuttingIMG_0090

We’d only seen a couple of boats so far, but the passage through the 1166 yard long tunnel saw us meet two more, one about ¾ of the way through, the other just inside the south portal. Both were hire boats, and both were sensible, passing at tick-over speed.

Some steerers lose their nerve and drop out of gear when meeting oncoming boats, the only thing worse than not slowing down at all. Out of gear means no propulsion and no steering, the flow of water caused by the advancing boat will tend to pull the drifting boat into the centre of the bore with inevitable consequences.

Out of the tunnel a couple of miles brought us to Welford Junction, where the short navigable feeder from Welford and Sulby Reservoirs joins the navigation. We pulled in on the good moorings here.

A bit congested at North Kilworth WharfIMG_0095

Moorings at Welford Junction, looking south into Northamtonshire.IMG_0098

We’re just about 50 feet from the county boundary here. It follows the course of the infant River Avon, after it’s rising near Naseby, just 3½ miles to the east. One of several Avons, this is the one that runs through Warwickshire and the home of The Bard before losing itself in The Severn at Tewkesbury.

We moored in time to get the aerial up and watch an interesting qualifying session for tomorrow’s Silverstone Grand Prix. Hamilton seems to be having a lot of luck this season, all of it bad. An error of judgement saw him lose a potential pole position, finishing up 6th on the grid. Gives him some work to do…
His team-mate and rival for the championship, Nico Rosberg, sits in the prime starting spot.

The weather is improving steadily through the afternoon, so much so that the glider school out of Husbands Bosworth Airfield is operating. A steady stream of tugs and gliders is passing overhead.


Locks 0, miles 7½

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