Friday, 7 June 2013

Welford Arm

Last night was probably the most peaceful night we experienced to date.  Out in the middle of rural England with no sign of a road or boat.  The ‘dot in the sky’ was easily found and apart from a Kiwi towpath walker (can you get away from Kiwi’s) we had the entire area to ourselves.

Last night’s mooring

We seem to be into a cruising routine slipping away from the mooring at 8.20am heading north towards the Welford Arm Junction.  there seemed to be a number of herons fishing along this stretch of the canal, although it might be the same bird just keeping ahead of us?

On reaching the point where the A14 (major road) crosses the road we could see there was a boat under the bridge.  As we got closer it was appeared the boat was moored.  Even closer still and it was apparent the location was “free” boatyard.

Someone was refurbishing the boat under the bridge.  Apart from the noise of the road traffic overhead it seemed a clever way of finding a location with overhead cover.

At South Kilworth Jan noticed a timber boat and some marine chooks

Unlike the last boater we saw keeping poultry, this one provides them with their own boat!

With our luck we met a working boat on a narrow bend.  I managed to stop Waiouru and get close to the offside bank between a couple of trees that were overhanging the canal.  No “Thank you” from the steerer but he did say “Good morning!”

Today’s plan was to turn down the one mile long Welford Arm (in green). 

My research indicated the summit pound between Watford and Foxton locks is approximately 22 miles long and as it is the highest point on the canal and a reliable source of water was required to feed it.  The Walford Arm linked three reservoirs at Walford to the main canal.  Apparently there was also some local commercial traffic from Walford in the form of bricks and limestone.  From it’s appearance the Arm appears to be less well used than the main canal and it contains the sole lock on the summit pound.

We met one boat exiting the Arm just as we reached the junction around midday. Rather optimistically we hoped not to met another boat going up the Arm thinking they would have left in the morning.  Alas, our optimism was proved invalid when we met a boat just before the lock.  However it happened to be at a wider than usual point which made passing relatively painless.

There are two winding holes towards the end of the Arm.  We ignored the first which is just after the marina on the left.  On reaching the second marina on the right there was no sign of a winding hole and the canal appeared to end.  However signs on the end of the marina pontoons advised there was no winding at the marina and the winding hole was further on.  Just around the bend we came to the end of the Arm where there was a winding hole and the CaRT facilities.  We winded Waiouru and reversed onto the water point.  Pressure from the tap was very poor but fortunately we didn’t require much to top up the tank having filled it yesterday.

The two boats behind us are moored on 48 hour moorings at the end of the Arm adjacent to the elsan point.  We had already decided that whilst the moorings looked nice (one was vacant when we arrived) there might be an “odour” issue with the adjacent elsan point.  In the end we decided to move forward off the water point to some 48 hour mooring opposite the Walford Marine.

The sun broke through and the temperature rose as we were taking on water.  The fleeces came off and I decided it was shorts weather for the first time this summer.  Jan rather cruelly proclaimed “Milk Bottles!”  After two years in the UK I’ve obviously lost my tan.  Making the most of the weather we took a walk to the Welford Reservoir and through the village.

Welford Reservoir

The village contains a small combined shop and post office and we could find nothing else of particular interest apart from the church.  It’s probably a fairly standard church with a square tower.

However the drainpipes on the top corners of tower caught my eye.  They looked like someone had be decidedly unwell.

Actually it’s the first time into one of these local village churches and we must do it more often.

It’s rather interesting reading the family names on the plaques set on the church walls.  I assume the closer the plaque to the alter; the more influential and affluent the family.  Do they pay for the ‘position’?

Our reverse walk took us through the local park where Jan noticed the Bluebells and the……. other coloured flowers! Smile


Pretty weeds?

The plan for tomorrow is to head back down the Arm around 8.30am and turn right at the junction towards Foxton Locks.   We will probably moor somewhere on the other side of Husbands Bosworth Tunnel and spend Saturday as a ‘maintenance day’


Halfie said...

Chooks? What are chooks? I recall you mentioning them before, and I think I was then able to work out the meaning from the context, but I've forgotten it.

The devices for expelling rainwater from the church's roof are called gargoyles. They are often grotesque. (And no English parish church is "standard"! Every one is different (and well worth visiting.))

Tom and Jan said...

Chooks..... Australian slang for chickens. I knew they were gargoyles but hadn't realised gargoyles were specifically used as downpipes. Learn something new every day!

nb Chuffed said...

other coloured flowers are red campion!
reading your blog with interest as we hope to be cruising the Leicester section in July
Debby and Dave