Indigo Dreaming

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The Odyssey 2019: Day 2

Posted by alexgrehyauthor on 9 July, 2019

Yelvertoft Bridge 20 to Bridge 72 Smeeton Road Bridge (Saddington)

25th May 2019

One of many pretty views on the Leicester Arm

Richard was obviously having way too much fun as a single-hander so, on Saturday morning, I piled the dogs into the car and drove up to join him!

It was a beautiful day and both of us had a good morning. R cruised along a perfectly peaceful canal, having left the busyness of Crick behind. I drove up the M1 which was moving, not quickly, but moving, that’s as good as it gets!

We had agreed to meet by North Kilworth Wharf – there is a very handy side road off the main A304 which has a layby which was just perfect for a weekend’s parking. It was a very smooth rendezvous – we were off to a flying start…

Except that we weren’t flying – just as Richard came into moor, the gear box cable snapped! Well he did not realise to start with, stepped off the boat with the centre rope, saw that the boat was going backwards and simply thought that he had left it in gear. Alas no. Unfortunately our spare gear box cable was used up when we had our gear box changed so only have a spare throttle cable which was far too long and it’s a fiddly job. We were, serendipitiously, moored opposite a boat yard which was plan “b”. Plan “A” was to ring RCR.

We were so pleased that we had renewed our RCR membership just the week before. They had a van with two engineers in the area – they arrived within the hour and were soon down the engine ‘ole, where, of course, they found that our fanbelt was on its last legs. They were able to change the throttle cable because we had a spare, but a bow to stern search failed to yield a spare fanbelt – meh! No idea where that has gone as we had a spare. However, they thought our belt would probably survive the weekend so we set off towards Foxton.

Beautiful day…

We had the canal to ourselves and it was a pleasure to rediscover the Leicester Arm – I had forgotten how quiet and wonderfully rural it is. We had a very pleasant meander towards Foxton. There were no queues and the top lock was set for us, but we couldn’t see the lockies. Richard walked down the flight with the hounds to try to find them, but no sooner was he out of sight than they popped out of the lock cottage where they’d been having a sneaky cup of tea. They offered to walk down the flight to get Richard – they asked what he was wearing, I told them I couldn’t remember but the two greyhounds would be a clue to his identity!

I had thought they wanted to find Richard because he needed to work the locks, but were actually after him to drive the boat. I earned their grudging respect by assuring them that I could take Indigo Dream into the top lock – the pressure was on to make a clean entry – job done. Sadly I lost their respect when it came to moving into the second lock – I had completely forgotten that it was a staircase and hesitated because I thought the “pound” was too short – oops! Once that misunderstanding was sorted, we flew down the flight, attracting crowds as we went. There had been very few boat movements in the afternoon so we became the main attraction. Saffy and Alex had to brave the crowds on the towpath until I got into the top lock of the second staircase – the architecture of the staircase means that there is no access to the back deck while in transit (though they could have jumped on at the front if desperate). Shy Alex did very well, though I think they were both pleased to have a rest from the public eye.

Despite our best efforts to design an accessible engine ‘ole, it’s still a tight fit…

We’ve only gone up Foxton before, and that only once, on a busy day with lots of boats (we had to cross a down-coming boat in the tiny pound between the staircases) and it seemed to take ages. This time, we had the flight to ourselves and were through in no time. Though

there’s always a minute for a natter, and I was delighted when Jo from Hadar popped by to say “hello” – Hadar was moored at the top of the flight but I’d missed her while indoors getting the boat set up.

Despite the wait for the engineers, it was still very early when we arrived at the bottom of Foxton, so we decided to carry on a little further. Our mission was to find a pub for supper, but our communication went a bit awry. Richard had spotted a pub in the Nicholson’s Guide (the Old Crown in Fleckney) but I thought he was aiming for the Queen’s Head in Saddington, which looked closer – both were dog-friendly and serving food. We moored just shy of Bridge 72, south of the Saddington Tunnel and set out for the pub. Sadly my map-reading let us down – I’d worked out that Saddington is a mere half a mile from the canal, but I hadn’t noticed the closely spaced contour lines – there is a very steep hill to climb before you get to supper! The road to the village does not have a pavement or much of a verge, but the few cars that passed us did so slow and wide, which was a great relief for the greyhounds.

The pub itself was delightful – it was room and quiet, with plenty of space for Alex and Saffy to stretch out on their sheepies – they were exhausted – first a long drive, then a long cruise, then a long walk, uphill! We were surprised to find that the Queen’s Head is a gastro-pub, with a rather superior menu and service worthy of a fine dining resturant.

We were groaningly full when we tackled the walk back – thank heavens it was downhill! Luckily we had put the bed down before we went out, so it wasn’t long before we were tucked up after a busy old day on the motorways and waterways. πŸ™‚


When you bite off more than you can chew πŸ˜€

The relief crew enjoying the view…

That view is an ominous indication that we’re on the top of the hill and that there be locks ahead…:-D

Big locks gates – the signature feature of a staircase lock Note: Foxton has two staircases of five locks each.

The steel sloping sides leading to the top lock gate meant that the dogs couldn’t easily get on to the back deck – luckily there is a short pound between the two staircases where they could hope on board – they were pretty tired by that point.


The walk back from the pub – the canal is at the bottom of that hill!

Hills make for great views..

Take care on the towpath – mooring lines right across the path – so dangerous 😦


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