Start 8:15am, finish 8:20pm
GU Leicester Section
26 miles, 22 locks
Today began with the twelve wide locks between Kilby Bridge and Foxton. They were hard going as all of them were against us, and a chill wind was blowing. But the countryside was very pretty, all rolling hills and lambs gambolling. We were also cheered when we heard from Kath on Herbie, who said that they would meet us at Foxton staircase to help us with the locks. I also found time between locks to call Midland Chandlers and buy various expensive things at their special “freaky Friday” 20% off rate, including a fridge and 4 leisure batteries!
It was lovely to see the Herbies and their grand daughter Grace at Foxton locks, and the flight was mostly very relaxing after the morning’s slog. The only incident was when an over enthusiastic volunteer lock keeper opened a paddle before we were ready, trapping Willow’s fender between the gates. It was quickly resolved however, and we were up to the top in just under half an hour, enjoying a cup of hot chocolate with the Herbies before pressing on.
The summit pound was very tricky, but was a fair challenge for steering. James managed to keep a good pace up, though he said that whilst he managed to get around the corners, at times it wasn’t particularly elegant. We overtook a Canaltime boat who had left Foxton just before we did, and who were travelling at tickover. They were happy to wave us past just before the tunnel, which was a relief as we were able to rig up the 240v floodlight in the well deck pointing up at the tunnel roof, and the 12v floodlight on the engine room cabin top. This meant the tunnel was very well illuminated, and we were able to admire the brickwork, concrete repairs, and the marks left by maintenance and other purposes.
Although progress was slow on the winding parts of the summit pound towards Yelvertoft, we managed to press on and just as the last light was beginning to fade moored up outside Yelvertoft Marina on pins. We originally thought about going to the top of the Watford flight, but because we were slightly slower than we thought we would be over the summit pound, didn’t make it in the daylight; had we left at 7:15 or 7:30, we might have made it, however. Either way, it’s a pretty good days boating.