Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The icing on the cake

What a treat! The penultimate day of our cruise and one of the very best, because today we ascended Foxton locks.  Boaters will know all about these, but for those who don't, here they are

10 locks in two staircases of five, all neatly maintained and in a lovely setting.  After waiting our turn for about an hour and a half, we shot up the ten locks in forty minutes.  Rick came along to join in the fun and we had unexpected extra help in the form of a little Australian boy gongoozling with his mum and sister.  We encouraged him to help us with the gates and you'd think all his birthdays had come at once. He was tearing from lock to lock, pushing and pulling and grinning from ear to ear.

Driving the boat into through the staircase is easy.  Once you are in, you just move forward into the next chamber everytime the gate opens, no real need to steer, as the boat is held snug in the chambers. 

The gates in front do look alarmingly high though.

I can't think of another flight of locks that are nearly such fun to do, and they are all light and easy to operate.  The staircase system of using side ponds to empty and fill locks takes a bit of getting your head round, but here they make it easy with the coloured paddle ratchet posts.  "Red before white and you'll be alright".

After all that excitement we tootled on to Welford where we are spending the night in the cosy little canal basin.  Here I did a maintenance job that I have been putting off for well over a year because I have been quite scared of attempting it.  But I'll tell you all about that another day in case you get over excited right now. 


Adam said...

On one of our trips up Foxton, a Canaltime boat going up in front of us showed that it's not all easy steering: at the pound between the two staircases, he managed to get broadside across the lock! How he managed it in such a short space, I'm not sure. And the rest of his family shouting "advice" from the bank didn't help matters either. All good fun, though.

Vallypee said...

Lovely photos of the flight, Neil. I can imagine experienced boaters like you and Kath found it a breeze, but I wonder if everyone manages them with such smooth ease (haha, she was a poet and didn't even know it :))