Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Canal termini–one to add to the list

For a lot of us boaters the journey is more important than the destination.  However sometimes it's nice to reach an end somewhere. Occasionally though, the destination is not so rewarding as the trip.  The Slough Arm springs to mind as a place where the journey is preferable to the destination.  The usual reaction when reaching Slough basin is “Is this it?”, although much of the arm itself is surprisingly attractive.

Our favourite “ends” are I suppose Limehouse, Hertford, and Godalming.  Other good ones are Bedford, Coventry and Chester (although it’s many years ago so I don’t recall that one too well.)

Recently we’ve found another favourite – Market Harborough, although I have to say we have cheated because we haven’t quite yet got there by boat.  We took a bus from Foxton a couple of miles away to save wasting water going down and up the locks.  Nevertheless, its a little gem.  Very unspoilt by today’s standards and we like it a lot.

Most people know it's there alright, but I'm not sure how many give it a miss when passing through Foxton to or from Leicester and the Soar. It’s tucked away on its own little arm of the GU Leicester section although the books tell us that the canal was originally supposed to carry on down to Northampton before they ran out of money.  Apart from the large hire boat/ time share fleet based there, I don’t think all that many boats seek it out.

Next time you pass, give it a try.  I bet you'll like it.
Here is the main street.

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I reckon it must be reasonably prosperous too.  Although like everywhere else it has quite a few charity shops, a lot of the stuff in them is up market, particularly the books and music.  The Oxfam shop had some real collector’s items if you still have the kit to play vinyl.

We especially liked the little town museum which made much of past industries in the town.  I was surprised to realise how busy it must have been fifty years ago. Are you old enough to remember Symington’s soups?  How about Tungstone car batteries.  And if your mum or granny wore a corset from M&S, it probably was made in Market Harborough by another branch of the Symington family.  Today the only large employer is Harboro Rubber who it seems make a lot of specialist industrial rubber mouldings.

Definitely one for the list of places to visit by boat.


Halfie said...

There are also excellent boaters' facilities including a shower at MH.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I'm one of those who gave Market Harborough a miss but I'll definitely look in next time I'm passing.
I did enjoy getting to the end of the little Welford arm though, very pretty in it's own small way.

Anonymous said...

I remember the museum being a tight squeeze - it was originally a corset factory. Owned by the Symingtons. Rainman.