Friday, 31 January 2014

Wild Wet and windy Winter Weather in Welford

After some awful weather we are still up the end of the Welford arm.Even the walks around the village are now becoming quagmires . Its not so bad for us but the dogs having short legs and being white get caked in mud. If ever we have another dog we will make sure its a dark colour……I was just wondering if they do a brown dye for dogs…. ?

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                                We had a dry spell on Tuesday and made the most of it by taking Molly and Hamish for a walk around Welford reservoir.

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                    There are two reservoirs separated by this dam. There is then a valve in the middle to control the flow from one to the other.

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  This is Sulby reservoir the higher of the two reservoirs . They were both built to feed into the summit level of the Grand union canal and keep the levels up .

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                                                             I know what she's thinking………………..That's a good plot for Gary !.

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                                                                                        This pair reminds me of some people i know.

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                                A lot of churchyards we walk around have headstones all around the outer walls , but we are not sure why.

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   This is the most aggressive swan we have come across. He pecks on the side of the boat then when you open the side hatch to feed him he attacks you.

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These two chaps came by in their little boat. One of them walked along the towpath with his tape measure while the one in the boat measured the depth of the canal across its width. You would think in this day and age they would have some hi-Tec piece of kit to do the same job.

Today (Friday) after our Tesco delivery we had lunch in The Wharf Inn which is very handy as its only a hundred yards from our mooring. And surprise surprise it was very good food and a very good pint….Just the ticket.

We will try and move this weekend as we feel we have been here too long and also there is now no wood on the roof . We have a couple of days worth of wood in the boat but after that we will be burning coal in the day which we don't like doing because it costs us money, and remember after all…..  I am just a young age pensioner !!!

                                                                    Happy Days

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Wet Welford

We spent last Wednesday night moored at the junction of the Welford arm. While moored out in the country we made the most of the wide towpath and logged up the rest of the wood on the roof. Our wood stock is getting down and there doesn't seem to be a lot around at the moment perhaps a good storm is needed to blow some trees down.

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On Thursday morning we pulled pins at 10 o'clock and headed up the Welford once there and picked up this mooring just before the end. Its a 14 day mooring but i don't think we will be here that long….But you never know.

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          On our first walk up to the village we came across this old Traction engine. The driver was busy lubricating the moving parts..

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                                                                 “Look” said Hamish…..”Spring is here”……….. Don't count on it

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                      One for my old work mates ….. We came across this, its the Welford STW… It has 8 rbc’s…. with reed beds….WOW !!!!!!!

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      For some reason it is ok for this boat to moor on the water point . He has now been there for 24 hours…Naughty naughty!!!!!!!

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On Saturday afternoon we had an almighty thunder and lightning storm followed by a hail storm. The skies turned black and all the marina lights came on and the noise on the roof was unbelievable. You can see the hail hitting the water then settling on top.

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                                                                                                 The hail building up on the back of Inca.

We are in no hurry to move at the moment. There are loads of walks although very muddy and we have all the facilities we need. The weather is not that brilliant but we have been out during breaks in the rain. We don't have to be in Braunston until mid February when we have our hull inspection and our Bss (4 yearly boat mot/safety check) Oh! and to check what happened to the rudder when i had my dopey moment and caught the cill on Buckby top lock. Could be an expensive job..

ps   The boat on the water point did eventually move.

                                                    Happy Days

Sunday, 26 January 2014


We left Market Harborough on Wednesday morning and headed back to Foxton. The temperature was just below 1 degree C and with the sun shinning it was ideal cruising weather. Just outside of the town we came across the canal completely frozen over so we pulled in to let it thaw a bit before continuing. After about an hour a boat came in the opposite direction and cleared a channel through the ice. So off we set again.

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After a couple of hours of cruising we arrived at the bottom of Foxton and picked up a mooring with good TV and Internet. Being a weekday the locks at Foxton were very quiet. We went for a walk at 15.00 and had it all to ourselves Above is Inca on her mooring at the bottom of Foxton.

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                                                                                 The sun going down over the Foxton Inclined plane.

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       On the lock flight the paddles are painted in different colours and when operating the locks they have to be operated in the correct order or else !!!! There is a saying that goes “Red before white and you will be all right”…”White before red and you'd wish you were dead”. But you always have lockkeepers on the flight to watch over you and the locks are padlocked when no keepers are on duty so there should never be a problem.


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This is in interesting boat, its an ice breaking boat. As the canals were the highways of their day they had to be kept open at all times. This boat had up to 15 men in her rocking from side to side and it was then towed along the canal by 12 horses. What a sight that must have been.


On Wednesday morning we pulled pins at 09.30 and headed for the locks. On route we stopped to fill up with water and got rid of all the waste at the services. Carolyn then went up the locks to book in with the lockkeeper but he was nowhere to be found. She came back down and checked in the shop and the pub, well you never know he might of liked a drink. After going back up to the top again she found 2 CaRT workers who said “No lockkeeper today you will have to do it yourself”

So off we went with Carolyn remembering which order to do the paddles and she soon had it sorted .Half way up we had help from the crew on nb Harnser which speeded up our ascent.


When we got to the top we were surprised to see 4 boats waiting to go down. Last week they only had 4 boats all week using the flight. It must have been the good weather today that has got boats moving.

The next place we want to visit is Welford. It is up the end of an arm that was originally built to supply the main canal with water.We have been told its a good place to spend a few days as it has a shop , Pub and all water and waste facilities and plenty of good walks.

                                                 Happy Days

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Down we go

We woke on Monday Morning to a very hard frost and the temperature at minus 2 degs. We pulled pins at 08.50 and had the first problem which was trying to untie frozen mooring ropes. We headed for the water point at the top of the Foxton flight but it was frozen solid and we were told by a fellow boater that the one at the bottom never freezes ,so we put the hose away and headed to the lock. Carolyn contacted the lock keeper who booked us in and prepared the top lock for us.


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                                                            A cold and frosty Inca on our mooring above Foxton locks.                                       

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                                         With a hard frost on the top of Inca and the temperature still at minus 2 we enter the top lock.

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                  The view from the locks is not so good today due to the early morning mist .The 10 locks drop you down 75 feet from the top to the bottom.

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                                                                                                                     Carolyn just loves locking.

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           The flight is made up of 2 staircases with 5 locks in each staircase. This is Inca entering the pound for boats to pass between the two staircases.

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At the bottom of the flight we turned right after filling with water and went through the swing bridge at Foxton and headed towards Market Harborough. After a short distance you come to another swing bridge but at this one you have to stop the traffic. Earlier we met another live aboard couple who helped Carolyn operate the bridge.

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             After cutting through some thin ice at the bottom of Foxton it soon cleared and we had a good cruise all the way to Market Harborough.

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At the end of the canal arm you come to the basin where there are several hire boats and lots of private boats moored. We winded (Turned) and picked up a mooring just outside of the basin. With the town just 10 minutes away Carolyn was soon off for some retail therapy.

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      When Carolyn returned from shopping we had a walk around the basin with the late afternoon sun casting some great reflections onto the water.

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                                                                                                                        A piece of canal art.

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The basin seems like a good place to moor and i think you can book winter moorings here. There is a lot more room between the boats than we had when we were in Crick marina making it a lot lighter inside the boat. You never know one day we may decide to take the soft option and moor in a marina for the winter. I must admit there are times when it would be good not to have to be constantly looking at how much water you have and watching the state of the batteries all the time, and not to forget all the waste as well.

We managed to get good TV reception on our mooring but no Internet so i think we will spend the night here and then move back towards Foxton in the morning.

                                                        Happy Days

Tuesday, 21 January 2014


Welcome to the one hundredth post we have posted. It all started last March with the survey on a narrow boat called Inca. A lot has happened since then, we have had our ups and downs and even one or two crossed words (Well maybe six or seven crossed words ). Anyway we are still hear and enjoying the life.

On Sunday we pulled pins at 08.00 and set off for Foxton top lock moorings.

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                                  It wasn't long before Carolyn spotted these aeroplanes having a race !!! . Well i must admit you couldn't see the cable.

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                                                                          A bit blurred but we are working on it. Trouble is they wont sit still for very long.

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After 5 hours cruising and going through a fishing match of miserable anglers we arrived at our destination and moored before the bridge and 24 hour moorings. We have been to Foxton a couple of times before but only as Gongoozlers.(Canal watchers). After mooring Inca we took a walk down the flight. As usual there were hundreds of people milling about . But there were no boats going through the flight. Apparently there were no boats all of last week and only 2 on Saturday and 2 on Sunday. In the summer months boats are cued at the top and the bottom locks.

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                                                             At the bottom of the locks we walked over to the site of the old Inclined plane.

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The view from the top. Boats were put into Large counter balanced tanks which were on the rails you can see and then raised and lowered on the plane. It opened in 1900 and only lasted until 1910 when it became clear that the railways were taking most of the trade away from the canals and it was not economically viable to keep it open.

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                                                                                                         The top of the Inclined plane.

Tomorrow we plan to head down the Foxton flight. The locks open at 09.00 so we plan to be at the top lock and be first in the cue. Not that we expect there to be a cue.

                                                            Happy Days

Saturday, 18 January 2014


We are still at Yelvertoft  and we had planned to move today  (Saturday) but after waking to heavy rain and winds we made the decision to stay for another day.



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A short walk away is the village of Yelvertoft. A very upmarket  place with houses built of red brick and they even have a reading room. It does have its own post office/village store and a butchers. We bought some lovely black cured bacon and a free range chicken and for a village butchers it wasn't that expensive. Amazing as it may be but Carolyn came out of a shop having only spent 50 pence on a newspaper

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                               No visit is complete until we have had a wonder around the local church…… No Carolyn i don't think i want to end up in this one.

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A bit of sunshine and a few amps from the solar panels are most welcome. The most we get at this time of the year with full sun is about 7 amps.

Tomorrow (Sunday) the plan is to get up early and do as many miles as possible. I would like to be stopped by half past one and have a mooring with good internet….Spurs on sky go…Come on you Spurs.

We are heading for the famous Foxton locks and then a right turn at the bottom lock then into Market Harborough. Then after a day or two we will go back up the Foxton flight and head towards the Welford arm and the village of Welford and have a couple of days in the basin at the end of the arm.

                                     Happy Days

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Leaks in locks are called ?

We left Grafton on Friday morning pulling pins at about 09.30 and headed to the locks at Stoke Bruerne.


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                  This is the spillway below the lock flight. There is still loads of water around even though it has not rained for a few days

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          At the bottom of the locks we met this Aluminium built boat called Bright Water. So with sharing the work we locked up a lot quicker.

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Just after Stoke Bruerne comes Blissworth tunnel. We had been told it was wet inside but had never seen it so bad. There was a waterfall coming from the last airshaft on the Blissworth end and there was nothing we could do to avoid it and we got absolutely drowned…… But its all good fun.

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                                                                                                                       I don't like tunnels anymore !!!!!!!!

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We then spent the next couple of days at Nether Heyford. On the first night there this boat came drifting by at about 10 o'clock at night. We managed to grab it and moored it up behind us. It looked as if it had been untied as all the mooring ropes where on the boat and not dangling in the water.

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                                                                         On Sunday we woke to minus 3 deg and the canal frozen.

After a couple of days of sitting around it was time to move again and on Monday we headed for Norton junction which is above the Buckby flight of locks.Half way up the locks we came across a struggling Canal and River Trust man.

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What are you doing Mr ???? asks Carolyn….. Some one has thrown this piece of railway track in the canal was the reply. I Pulled over and tied up Inca then went back to see if i could help . But even with 2 of us it wouldn't budge so he got on his phone and arranged for his mate to come with a winch.

We then spent a couple of days at Norton junction and while we where there we arranged a Tesco delivery. Its an ideal place as the van can get right next to the boat.

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On Thursday we pulled pins at 09.00 and with the sun out and the temperature at 3 deg it was perfect cruising weather. We decided to turn right and head up the Leicester arm of the Grand union. It was not long before we arrived at the staircase locks at Watford. Todays lock keeper was Maurice who guided us up the flight.

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                               There are several leaks like this in the locks. Apparently the old boatmen used to call them Pi**er’s for obvious reasons.

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After 5 hours cruising we finally moored up at Yelvertoft .The furthest we had been before on the Leicester branch was Crick so this is all new to us We will have a day or 2 to explore here then move on again.


                                                   Happy Days