Well this is exactly what we did last weekend. Our original plan was to walk from Foxton Locks to Market Harborough and back, but when we realised that it would take us about 3 hours one way, involved walking across fields and there was no way we could fit it all in in daylight we had to slightly amend our plans.
The lovely sculpture as you approach the top lock
The locks are a staircase system of ten locks in two runs of five. This means that each lock opens directly into the next one. This was one way of allowing boats to navigate steep terrain.
Another way was by a lift system consisting of two water filled tanks which literally hoisted the boats on a cantilever system up and down hills and you can still see the site of the Foxton incline plane. This was built in 1900 to try to replace the ageing locks and speed the flow of water traffic. However a combination of extended hours where the locks were opened to allow night travel and the railways meant that the lifts were never used to their full capacity and in 1910 were closed after only 10 years of use. A shame when you think that the descent in the locks took 45 minutes where the lift took only 12! There is still talk of the waterways authority and the volunteers trying to get the lift restored, but whether this will happen who knows.
The site is well worth a visit though, especially in better weather, with a museum, cafes canal side pubs and lovely walks.
We continued our walk just along the tow path and even though it was raining for most of the time the autumn colours still glowed and the whole area had a kind of magic.
And on the return journey what a welcome site as it must have been to weary boatman in the past....
This was certainly one of the prettiest walks we have had for a while and we will be back in the spring or summer, though I expect it will be a bit more crowded then....
Hope you all have a good week