It was about a quarter to when we were sat down with a brew on board Seyella. Boats were already on the move, one was on the lock landing waiting for the lockies to turn up, another was taking on water before heading off towards Market Harborough.
Luke had labrador Zac with him, and he’s a little excitable, so we took both dogs out for nearly an hour, hoping to tire him out a bit before we tackled the locks.
We were able to start on the bottom half of the staircase of ten locks as soon as I booked in with the duty lock-keeper, following another three boats up. But we were required to wait in the short pound at the halfway point to let two boats down who were already waiting at the top.
Mags in the bottom lock at just before 09:30.
Luke and Zac on offside lock gate duty.
Going up, looking back.
The paddle gear is colour-coded to ensure the correct procedure is followed when using the locks. To save water the flight is built with side-ponds which store the water from the chambers rather than discharging it down the flight and wasting it. using these, very little water is lost.
The red painted gear is opened first, drawing water in from the side pond, then the white, which drops water from the chamber above into the pond.
Side pond filling from the next chamber up.
Waiting in the middle pound
Actually 40 minutes later, the two descending boats are past and we’re on the move again.
The towpaths were quiet as we started up from the bottom, but the gongoozlers are starting to build up now.
Top lock, students and foreign visitors looking on, the Leicester plain beyond.
The flight climbs 75 feet through the 10 locks, and was completed in 1810. Seventy-six years later and becoming a major bottleneck, it was superceded by the inclined plane built alongside. The new structure cut passage time by at least an hour. The locks were kept in operation for night traffic, but as trade dwindled, lost to the competing railways, it was deemed uneconomic to keep the lift operational and it was mothballed in 1911 and finally dismantled in 1928. With the amount of leisure traffic now on the canal, the Foxton Inclined Plane Trust believe that restoration is a viable proposition.
Just before 11:00, watered up and moored up above the locks.
After a sit down and a cup of tea, Luke and I took the dogs for a walk around the site of the inclined plane.
How does a creature which spends most of it’s life on the water have a bath?
Top of the lift ramp.
A couple of hours in the morning, weather permitting, to find somewhere in the country for the rest of the weekend. F1 at Silverstone on Sunday…
Locks 10, miles ½