Saturday, 31st December 2005:
The above picture shows 'Alnwick' with Jane at the helm as she manouvers into Welford Lock with unusually bright sunlight on New Year's Eve. We left our Winter mooring on the tow path at Fenny Compton on 6th December 2005 and have spent the last month cruising via Rugby, Burton-on-Trent and Leicestershire - our journey, so far, has included sections of the Oxford Canal, the Coventry Canal, the Trent & Mersey Canal and the Soar Navigation, and, as we head back to Fenny Compton, we shall complete the whole of the Leicester section of the Grand Union Canal.
At Sawley Marina we were welcomed by Richard & Melanie who own the Northwich Trader, 'Flint', and we were privileged to join them on their fine boat for a coffee. We also met Andy Watson a potential purchaser of a new R W Davis craft - we hope that he is successful in his quest.
We thoroughly enjoyed our trip from Trent Lock to Foxton - what a pity there is so much detritus floating in the river and canal sections in and around Leicester. This section could be one of the most attractive sections of waterway in the country but it is spoiled by a largely undeserved reputation for vandalism and violence. The abundance of graffiti near locks and debris floating in the water tends to reinforce Leicester's poor image but the city centre mooring at Castle Park is secure and proved to be ideally located for our late Christmas shopping. Nevertheless, we only saw one other craft in Leicester and that was the 'Greenlife' clean-up boat organised by the city council and normally manned by volunteers - it was tied up to the pontoon at Castle Park awaiting its next mission - further proof that Leicester is serious about its waterways and if only a little more investment could be made available, a tremendous tourist opportunity could be created . . .
Although, we had planned to return to our Winter mooring by Christmas Day, this proved impractical and 'Alnwick' was tied up in the Foxton and Market Harborough area over Christmas where we were able to meet with family and friends. The weather just after Christmas was pretty grim and when we tried to tie-up at the usual visitor moorings in Market Harborough we found the canal too shallow and the tow-path too slippery - so we backed in to the basin and tied up outside the Covatis Restaurant where we enjoyed an excellent meal.
The photograph below shows 'Alnwick' outside the canal shop at Foxton in an atmosphere of rain, ice and snow; we had filled our tank with diesel and replenished our supplies of coal and gas at Foxton Boat Services.
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© Graham & Jane Oliver 2005