Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Around Foxton.

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We bought some bread flour in Market Harborough and it has made a wonderful tasty loaf with a crisp crust, yum. On walking around the village there are some really lovely properties with beautifully kept gardens and strange signs.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Market Harborough 2

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We walked into town for a supermarket sweep with our trolleys and lunch in ‘spoons of course! We had showers and did a couple of loads of washing, then we refilled our water tank. The moorings here are all 48hrs, so as the weather was supposed to be wet next day pm we left early in the morning. There was a shy new foal suckling in the field just on the outskirts of MH. When we came to a nice open spot just beyond Foxton Stepbrigde 6 we moored up and lit the fire as it was chilly and also to dry the washing. Next day we did boat cleaning duties, then I went walking along to Foxton Locks in the afternoon.

IMG_6137 St Marys Place    IMG_6136    IMG_6134 Marhet Square

Monday we trotted over the bridge up through the field to catch the 44 into MH for a couple of things we’d forgotten. We were glad that this bus is still running hourly as there were discussions about discontinuing it last time we were here. Hurrah for the local people who most probably saved the bus route to Foxton. There is a grand building beside St Marys Place with a carved stone Peacock below the chimney. Another interesting place stands next to the Cross in the Market Square. The old timber framed building next to the church was all covered up undergoing renovation. Rain had been forecast for most of this week so we’ve been wearing our wet weather jackets. Luckily they are lightweight as the days have been quite sunny, however it has rained, but mostly overnight. It’s nice to be out in the sticks with only the sound of the occasional plane soaring overhead to spoil things.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Market Harborough.

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It turned out to be a lovely sunny cruise to moor up beside a water-tap just before MH basin. Even the ducks were dozing in the warmth of the sun.

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In the basin there were some Canal-time boats moored ready to go out on hire and people sat enjoying the view. If you click on the last pic you will see the super motorbike rack welded on the back of the blue boat. As they passed by they asked where they could fill up with diesel. Debdale is the nearest we replied, about 6-7 miles away, hope they can make it!

Saturday, 26 April 2014


IMG_6080 Chertsey IMG_6083 IMG_6082 top Foxton locks

It was 5.30 am when I heard an Otter call and swirling water sounds around our boat. I went to look out of the side hatch and sure enough it had caught a fish and hid in the reeds opposite to eat it noisily. It then emerged and swam off along the canal. It was our first sighting of an otter during our 4 1/2 years aboard Oakfield. I would be interested to know if any other boaters have seen them too? Anyway we were up early and decided to pull the pins, then cruise along to the top of Foxton Locks ready to descend. We passed Chertsey moored on the arm, the central white dot is the swan on her nest. We made hot drinks on board and ate hot bacon and mushroom rolls from the Cafe for our breakfast, yum! Then we booked in with the nice volunteer lockkeeper. As I emptied the top lock a Robin was stood on the side and he dipped down several times to snatch ‘breakfast’ from the wet  lock walls.

IMG_6084 Yellow wagtail nest IMG_6087 tripboat moored B61 IMG_6091 Swingbridge

Tucked in-between the bricks of a lock wall was a Yellow Wagtail’s nest. Amazing venue really considering the disruption caused by all the boats using the locks. We were the only boat on the flight, just the way we like it. I asked the locky how many boats had used the locks over the 4 day Easter period. He said 20 on Friday, Sunday and Monday and 25 on Saturday, gosh a total of 85. He also said that the most they had  ever handled there on any one day was 45. Once down the locks the Cabin Boy hovered in the basin while I disposed of our rubbish, then opened the little swing bridge for him. Looking towards bridge 61 we could see the new trip boat Harry Stevens on it’s mooring. Hmm, it looks a bit wider than old Vagabond doesn’t it? We were now on the Market Harborough Arm of the Grand Union Leicester Line. The next swing bridge was the road bridge which I opened then took a picture of Oakfield coming through. Just look at that lovely big new house on the right. Don’t think that was there when we came this way 2 years ago, luvly jubbly!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Goodbye Vagabond.

IMG_6070 buttie Olive IMG_6074 Vagabond IMG_6075

On my afternoon walkabout I saw Biddie towing it’s buttie Olive away under the bridge going South. Further on down I spied the top of a crane and went down to have a look. Just in time to see the old trip boat “Vagabond” being carefully hoisted up out of the water. She was an elegant vintage motor launch about a hundred years old and used as a popular trip boat. You can read more about her on this site,

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The next trip boat named “Harry Stevens” was already unloaded into the water and in need of some tlc before starting to earn it’s keep.

Thursday, 24 April 2014


IMG_6063 Plover           IMG_6064 Elizabeth

Plover and Elizabath came cruising by with several other boats including Paddy and Ruth on Comfortably Numb and Echoes. We said our goodbyes for now as they headed off into the countryside to recover from a long  busy Easter weekend opening their shop.

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So we decided that so many boats had gone past that there would be room for us further down. So we upped pins and moved nearer to Foxton to moor just above the road bridge. In the afternoon we decided to walk along to Debdale Marina to discuss blacking our bottom with Mike and Nicki. We paused at the Top Lock Cafe for some of their excellent bacon butties with mushrooms. Whilst at Debadale we called around to see our friends Mike and Gerry on nb Tubbs and were invited in for a long interesting chat over a cuppa. After our long walk back to Oakfield it was time to cook our evening meal, then it began to rain again!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

BH Monday.

IMG_6046 Owl IMG_6048 Hampton      IMG_6062 Dove

Many of the big old boats were leaving Foxton including these two, Owl and Hampton. We left very early through the short Husbands Bosworth Tunnel only to emerge into a thick mist. It brightened up by the time we moored up just after B58 in a super open spot with views for miles across the countryside, perfick!

IMG_6050 CN and Echoes IMG_6057 IMG_6061 Swallow

After having coffee aboard we walked the mile or so down to Foxton to meet up with Paddy and Ruth who were trading their wonderful wares from their newly extended butty Echoes. As usual the crowds were out enjoying themselves and spending their money. It was good to chat with them, then it was time for a bacon roll and drink from the Top Lock Cafe. We mingled with all the gongoozlers watching the boats in the locks and caught Chertsey about to ascend, Swallow departing under B61 and Dove which came to turn in the basin.

Monday, 21 April 2014

B 27 Barnfield.

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Here we are in a lovely peaceful spot the only activity being the woolly munchkins circulating their field twice a day nibbling grass. Oh, and loads of boats passing by, then most returning from whence they came Maybe the marina moorers were giving their boats a run after spending the winter static. Last time we tried to moor in this idyllic spot we couldn’t get into the side as it was too shallow. Since then several stretches of the Grand Union have been dredged, hurrah!

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We cruised past this unusual Dutch barge style narrow boat on our way to moor at Welford Junction. Just after tying up it began to rain, which became quite a downpour in the evening.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Oakfield’s travels.


This is our map of the canals and rivers with the ones we have cruised picked out in black. As you can see we have crawled all over it at snail pace up to Chester/Manchester (top left) Stoke on Trent/Birmingham (centre), Nottingham/Market Harborough (over on the right)  and down to Gloucester, Oxford and London/Paddington (shown across the bottom left to right) The rivers we have cruised are the Weaver, Soar, Trent, Avon, Severn and Cherwell. We have also enjoyed exploring up ‘the arms’ leading off from the main canals. Ashby (Steam Trains), Coventry, Caldon (more Steam Trains), (to Leek and Froghall, Erewash, and along the Peak Forest Canal to Bugsworth/Waleybridge. We particularly enjoyed the Droitwich and Sharpness Canals. As we were interested in Industrial Archaeology we very much enjoyed mooring in Bugsworth Basin too. There are also many more places left to discover.