So on Saturday morning we were up bright and early, and after a cooked breakfast to set us up for the cold we set off to the top of Foxton locks.
Help with the paddles, yeah!
Although not new to boating, D had not done the staircases at Foxton before, so remembering the maxim, 'Red before white and you'll be alright', which applies to the order you wind the paddles, we made our way down the first staircase of 5 locks and passed a Canal boat club boat in the middle pound before going down the second staircase.
halfway down, looking down,
and looking up.
Unusually for this time of year there were several lock keepers and BW staff around as it was an open day for volunteer lock keepers. Rather a wet, windy day, but then we boaters do it in all weathers! There were still some gongoozlers out watching us on our way down despite the rain and cold.
Foxton locks and side ponds
We took the chance to stop and have a good look around the site of the incline plane which sits alongside the locks.
Incline Plane, Foxton
Looking up the slope where once boats were lifted up the hill instead of using the locks.
Two narrow boats could go up and two go down at the same time in 12 minutes, compared with our journey today of about 45 minutes. The Lift consisted of two tanks or Caissons linked by wire rope. A steam driven winch at the top, wound the rope on to one side of its drum and simultaneously let it off the other, raising and lowering the tanks.
This greatly reduced queueing times wating for the locks in the early part of the last century.
A boat showing the access point from the canal at the highest point to the position of the caissons.
The Foxton Inclined Plane Trust are raising money to reinstate the lift.
We moved on to Market Harborough, where we had a wander around the town before settling down for a meal and games in the evening.
On Sunday we made the return journey to take D back to his car, this time in the sunshine and at Foxton we were met by our daughter and some friends on their way back to Sussex from Leicester.
Time for ice cream break
Our daughter has stayed with us, and D has gone back to work (hee, hee,)(sorry D).
21 miles, 20 locks, 4 bridges, 2 tunnels