Bottom of Foxton locks

A great day today. We re-acquainted ourselves with the ‘Old Union’ summit. We last came this way 12 years ago and strangely couldn’t remember any of it!. Ususally when we re-visit a canal we can recall previous visits even if they were a long time ago, but this time – nothing.

At around 10:30 we arrived at the top of Foxton locks. There were  two other boats ahead of us, but when we went to see the lockie he said that one of them hadn’t booked in,  so we would be second down after the boat already in the staircase came up. I wasn’t too sure how this would go down with the boat in front of us as the guy on there seemed to think that he didnt need to book in. He later went down to see the lock keeper and came back having been put straight and said “When the first ones goes you go round us and we’ll follow”.

Foxton lock are quite impressive, so much so that they are a tourist attraction for Leicestershire folk. The flight consists  of two staircases of five chambers separated by a passing place. Unlike some other staircases these have ‘side ponds’ which act as a reservoir for each chamber. The paddles are slightly different from other staircase locks as they let the water in and out of the side ponds, rather than between the chambers. To get the order right the paddles are colour coded. A little ditty to ensure correct operation is “Red before White you’ll be alright, White before Red, you’ll end up dead!”


Having successfully got down the flight without any mistakes, we moored up and the then cycled into Market Harborough along the towpath.

We ate in the pub in the evening. As we were eating two hire boats full of animated young men and women came round from Market Harborough. They moored up for a while and then moved on. We were to meet them later!

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