Stormy at Foxton

We arrived at Foxton Locks yesterday afternoon and have moored in ‘the Foxton mooring zone’. This area is I believe strictly time controlled, due to it being a popular tourist attraction. The area we are in restricts us to two days, and we could only stay a max of 14 days in the whole zone in any one month. After securing the boat for the impending arrival of hurricane Gonzalo, we went for a walk descending the lock flight. At the bottom is the junction where we carried on walking in the direction of Leicester. The wind started to pick up, especially when we reached open countryside and the clouds were begining to darken. The decision was made to return to the boat before we got a soaking. Most afternoons now the stove is lit, so we are nice and toasty by the evening. 

Today we went for Tuesday lunch at the Foxton Locks Inn. This is a very dog friendly pub and even has free treats for dogs when the owners have lunch. 

We have not yet decided whether to spend a further full day here or to depart tomorrow. We shall have to check the weather reports as I don’t fancy moving with the winds gusting as much as they are currently.

Windy in Welford

Weekly update – Having spent 13 days moored in Yelvertoft it was time to move on. It was only a short hop to bridge 19 and the water point where we had a fill up. This seems to take anything between half an hour to 45 minutes. Oscar is usually off the boat during this time and not much escapes his attention, especially a dripping tap.

             Oscar testing the water quality

I should state that during our stay near Yelvertoft we visited the Knightley Arms P.H. for our Sunday lunch. I can say without doubt it was the best pub meal that we have had. Once the water tank was filled it was onwards towards a regular mooring spot near bridge 28. Although this is a nice south facing spot we only stayed one day.
Welford junction was our next port of call. There is straight stretch of canal with mooring rings just prior to the junction. We arrived here on the Friday and planned on staying the weekend. The mooring slowly filled and one boat in particular caught my attention. I went and spoke with the occupants and confirmed my initial thoughts. It was Ian and Irene from Free Spirit whose blog can be viewed in my blog list. It is great meeting fellow bloggers especially experienced ones who can give us advice about our new lifestyle. Free Spirit is our second blogger meeting, having met Seyella, also in my blog list a couple of weeks ago.
The weather on Saturday was a bit hit and miss with the rain, however it was really mild. Today we woke to clear blue sky and bright sunshine. The wind however was fairly blustery. Being Sunday it was pub lunch day, so we walked the couple of miles into Welford for lunch at the Wharf Inn. We found our usual table free and Oscar was remembered from last time. Following a visit to the village shop we returned to the boat for an afternoon of relaxing.
Our plan for the next week is to travel back to Foxton and stay there a while. This means an earlyish start tomorrow and the deployment of the tunnel light. This will however be weather dependant. Whatever happens, if the forecast is to be believed, then we don’t want to be moving on Tuesday.

A few maintenance jobs

We have stayed put since Friday, moored close to the entrance of Yelvertoft marina. The weather has taken a turn for the worst with some quite heavy rain, and a blustery wind blowing. Inside the boat however with the stove lit it is warm and cosy. 

Prior to the arrival of the rain I bought a hat for our chimney. This is designed to just balance on the top, and a good gust of wind I suspect, would deposit it in the canal. Currently I have it clamped with a G clamp, but today I took a trip into Rugby and purchased some self tapping screws which should make a more permanent solution.
Yesterday I spent doing a few jobs in the boat. The main one was balancing our radiators so that the heat output is mainly concentrated in the living area and the bathroom, with slightly less in the bedroom and rear room. I have also been reading up on battery maintenance and it can be a minefield. It is however important if you want to get the maximum life out of your batteries, as they can be expensive. Therefore, the engine was run for nearly 8 hours yesterday whilst the travelpower generator, and mastervolt inverter/charger performed what is called an equalisation charge. Fortunately this only has to be done every so often.
One of the benefits of having the stove lit is that you can cook on it, so today sitting on the stove is my tea, beef and ale stew. It certainly smells nice bubbling away in the pot. I will let you know in my next post how it turned out.

Tomorrow we are intending to move as we need water soon and will also fill up with diesel. I have found out speaking to some neighbouring boaters, that there is an unofficial winding hole by bridge 22 so we do not need to go as far as we thought. This move will be subject to the weather.

Bridge 18 Yelvertoft

Weekly update – On Monday we departed Foxton on a general return journey. We stopped again at North Kilworth and then on Tuesday I took a trip by road to Market Harborough. This appears to be an attractive small town with decent shops and we will be visiting it by boat later in the year. On Wednesday we moved again stopping overnight near a previous mooring spot at bridge 28. Unusually for us we moved again on Thursday this time passing Yelvertoft marina before winding (turning) at Cracks Hill winding hole. We did this to beat the bad weather that is forecast to arrive by the weekend. We plan on staying here for the week as family are possibly visiting us next weekend. I have however made a basic error as after this visit we intend on heading back down the Watford Locks to Long Buckby and then continue south on the Grand Union Canal towards the Northampton Arm. I am however facing the wrong way and the nearest winding hole is 3 miles away so a 6 mile round trip which is a days cruising for us. We will only have two weeks or so to explore as the Watford Locks are to be closed at the beginning of November as part the Canal and River Trust winter stoppages for maintenance. We need to be back on the summit level before then for our mooring in Yelvertoft Marina.

Today, Friday 3/10 we walked into Crick and found that the Red Lion pub has a nice atmosphere and that on the first Sunday of each month they have a pie night. The selection looked very good so i am sure we will visit them again. There is also a well stocked mini co-op so it is good to know we have good pubs and shops all with in walking distance for the winter.

                          View back towards bridge 18 and the marina entrance.
That’s it for now as we get ready to batten down the hatches for the wind and rain that is forecast. Tomorrow we have birthday to celebrate. Oscar is one year old and we have got him a nice chewy bone for his present.
Totals 14 Miles 1 Tunnel