As of 5 November, we are back to square two. All navigation is stopped except in special circumstances. The locks only open by pre-booking 24 hours in advance with a valid reason, and not at weekends. Pubs are closed, and the shop/café selling drinks and food for take-away only. People are allowed to drive out to take exercise this time. This is within reason (although there seem to be different interpretations of ‘reason’). Since we have had some beautiful warm sunny late-autumn days there have been plenty of visitors. Thankfully the car park toilets are open. The colours in the trees and reflections in the undisturbed water have provided some good photo opportunities.
The canal however will be silting up even worse. Since the Canaltime and Alvechurch hire fleets have how left Harborough Basin there will be even fewer boat movements to keep a channel clear. So the familiar blue Canaltime and green and red Alvechurchs crews will no longer be seen struggling with the swingbridge (or providing custom for the local pubs). Union Wharf Narrow Boats operate a few hire boats and day boats. So there will still be some regular traffic when things get going again.
Winter maintenance stoppages
The winter maintenance stoppages are going ahead as normal. There are works on the Leicestershire Line either side of Foxton. However there is nothing on the locks themselves after last winter’s major gate replacements.
There was some drama recently when two men broke the padlocks off the locks at midnight and attempted to go through (obviously ignorant of how these locks work). It turns out the small cruiser was stolen from Nottingham in June. This was not many weeks after a narrowboat was stolen from North Kilworth Marina at dawn. This resulted in “the slowest police chase in history” according to the Leicestershire Police website.