I attended Morts birthday/banter. It was a well attended event with 40+ people there. Most of them where off the forum with a few locals all descending the boat inn at Thrupp. I did take a pic of the birthday girl, however I would not be that cruel and will spare her blushes. Neither of us where feeling very well, so after a short time socialising and eating the lovley stew I retired home early..
Oxford is quite unique, instead of a getting a local so called celeb to turn the christmas lights on it used the local schools. They had a parade through the city centre and as they passed each set of lights, they where then turned on...
I thought I would take the final post of the trip to look back at the last 6 weeks or so.. A rough calculation and I have travelled nearly 300 miles and gone through just over 200 locks.I have had a fabulous time. I have discovered the Caldon Canal, which was a great place to visit. We even managed to take the boat through Froghall tunnel. The Macclesfield was stunning as was the Marple flight too. Even the canals leading into Manchester were as not as bad as everybody thought. I popped down several arms included the Welford and the Market Harborough. I have meet some lovely people and even sat in the pub to long drinking with them. I should also mention those we have helped me along the way. The Yeadons, both Mike and Maggie, who separately and together have crewed cooked and lock wheeled for me and with me. To Robert and Mary, who Rob helped us for two days in and around Manchester, Mary who also did some washing for me and we had two lovely evenings with them. Helen who helped me into Birmingham, lock wheeling and generally putting up with me, who’s running style is legendary. A special mention must be made of the T’s, who boat I affectively boat kidnapped for the whole time and this trip would not have been possible. They trusted me with the boat for all this time and I managed to destroy two fenders, in the process. I can’t thank them enough, for letting me borrowing their boat. The boat has been brilliant and is ideal for long term cruising. It has not missed a beat and apart from me putting it on the bottom several times has not failed me..
I chugged on quite happily this morning, the waters were deep and wide, so I made good time. If my memory serves me right then for Number One this is where it all started 20 years ago.
Even amongst all the narrowboats, there was an exception or two, this was one of the better ones..
The RBOA sticker does work, I even managed to bump into the ex chair of the RBOA and had a nice chat with her. She has a lovely mooring which she bought over ten years ago..
This is one of the many non lock. locks on the Soar it is left open but can be closed in case of flooding I can't believe this is the journeys end. I am returning to the Marina tomorrow and then off in the morning to see a friend of morning coffee. Is this me back to civilisation, or as the saying goes, we take it with us..
As we had avoided Leicester because of its reputation I was surprised on in places how lovely it was. I soon passed the local football ground, not quite as spectacular as old trafford.
Along side it was this lovely weir
As I steamed through Leicester as it is river there, I passed some nice bridges, this one had a pub called the "Soar Point " on it, very apt maybe..
The locals have made an effort to tidy up the area and this was just one example.
The view from the lock though was quite stunning. In fact Leicester is surrounded by gravel pits, so is able to accommodate all water sports.. It was almost a shame as I left the edges of Leicester and tied up for the day.
As we had spent the extra day in MH, we decided to push on had head for Kilby Bridge. It had good road access as Mags was coming over for the weekend. She did have to work Saturday and I have my driving experience day as well.
We set off not to early and made good chugging back to Foxton and beyond. The views of the canal at this time of year are brilliant, I think I prefer this time of year to any other, just when the leaves are turning.
We also passed an old manor house, we couldn't see the main house, but you can still see the church.
We pressed on as soon hit a very spread out flight of locks, it didn't help the beams were not balanced properly, so they kept swinging open, however there was plenty of water in them...
There are also some nice bridges, which are numbered and named, this one was particularly nice.
We soon hit Kilby bridge
Then it was off to the pub, my first one of the day.... We went back in the evening waited for Mags and then had a lovely meal and evening, it was a nice birthday.
Mike and I decided to have a day in Market Harborough. When we awoke it seemed an even better idea as it was raining. We paid for last night and tonights mooring and also we managed electric plug into, saves us having to run the engine.
We took a stroll down the hill into the town passing what looks like a gate house which is now an office.
The town is full of old coach houses some are still pubs others now are shops. The Swan has one of the oldest wrought iron sign in the country.
We thought the Angel was a bit saucy...
I have the usual picture of the church, the working boat will follow.
The town is very well stocked with shops, local butchers, bakers etc live along side the large supermarket.
Back at the marina one of the blogs I have been following Hadar are tied up here too. It looks like no one is home though,shame
Even though the Leicester section has the bottom of the canal very close to the top it is still very nice to look at..
We soon hit foxton locks, two staircase locks with 5 in each. We had the usual problem of trying to find the lockie, otherwise we would have been through a lot quicker.
As soon as we were through Foxton we turned right and headed down the arm to Market Harborough, which going back all the big gardens is the land of sit on mowers.
By the time we go to the basin, we didn't find a space on the towpath moorings, so stayed in the basin, saw Hadar there but no-one was home. Think the plan is to stay here for a till Friday morning and then head off. As can have plug in and is a nice mooring for the town...
We hit stockton flight early it was chilly but we had glorious sunshine and not a cloud in the sky.
I had the usual plethora of working boats at the top stockon, but I did like this one..
I also saw this boat, I am sure it is a friends old boat, I am sure they will correct me if I am wrong.
We finally hit Braunston. We went to the fender man and bought two fenders for the boat was also did the domestics filling up with water before we hit the flight. The approach can be a little tight sometimes.
For us we finished early tying up around 4ish at the top of the flight. Mike decided to hang his flag he had bought.. Question is can you name the county.....
answers not on a postcard, can be entered in the comments though, no prizes apart for being a smartarse..