We had intended to spend most of the day in Market Harbrough but when we looked there was nothing on and the museum was closed so we changed the plan and left for Foxton at 10:00. The day boats and several others had gone before us.
As the canal from the basin follows the contour it forms a tongue of land that seems have some very large houses and gardens on it. It kept Helen happy as we drifted along.
Wooden Step bridge, Br.14, has made way for a new road bridge that gives access to a new housing estate being built. It is surprising how many houses get built near canals. A combination of derelict industrial land from the commercial days of the canals, and 'it is better by water'.
The tree lined canal is a lovely in parts, especially with the leaves really coming through now. Not seem too many bluebells.
About half way down the arm is the J.G. Pears rendering plant. They started in 1972 in Yorkshire. Their business is collectioning waste animal by products, fallen animals, or fellmongering and food waste from shops and production sites. They pick up about 10,000 tonnes a week! It is good to know that it isn't just wastedThey then render these products into animal feeds, oils and meals as well as fertilisers. They also produce a bio fuel that can be burned in power stations in place of fossil fuels. They also use their process to produce electricity too. Nearby there was the WWII aerodrome that was built in 1942/43 and was home to Wellington bombers and then later Hurricanes and Curtis Tomahawks. In 1945 it was handed to the army but they left in 1950. There were various plans to develop the site, one being a Christian theme park that was to re-create the Garden of Eden in 1997! It is now a business park. Just out of sight closer to Foxton is Gartree Prison that was built in 1965 as a Category C prison. It then went to a Category B and is now a main 'lifers' prison.
We have been up and down the Fowton locks several times but have never to see the inclined plane. The new plan was to take this in. It is well known for its side pounds to save water and to fill the locks more quickly. It was very busy this Bank Holiday but there were few boats passing up or down.
The museum in the old boiler house is small, and the best bit for me were the films of old canal footage and working. The inclined was short lived, only about 11 years. The plan was to make the canal wide beam to Leicester but the plan to put an inclined in at Watford Locks never happened and the traffic declined anyway. The locks were re-opened and the plane mothballed. It was such a shame that it was all scrapped. Just think if they had managed to do that at the Anderton Boat lift too!
The top of the plane where there would have been the housing for the caissons into which two narrow boats could have fitted. One came up as the other went down.
It is a 1:4 slope and it took 8 minutes to descend. 12 minutes including the entering and leaving.
This is the level that the top canal was at and where the boats ran into the caissons.
There isn't much left of the inclined plane but in-situ is a bit of rail in palce. These were attached to wooden sleepers. At the bottom can be seen the two basins that took the 'moving docks' with the boats in.
We walked to the top of the lock and had an icecream, despite there being a cold wind. I was a bit disappointed with the icecream though. We then decided to walk into Foxton and back to the boat via field paths. We will probably head to Bridge 61 when all the visitors have gone home.