The weather was excellent over both the Easter and May Day holidays, and visitors flocked out to the locks. A steady stream of boats passed through, and the trip boat ‘Vagabond’ was up and running again. After two years, it feels as if we are hopefully getting back to how things were before the pandemic.
Canal & River Trust have been doing some dredging work in Pat’s Spinney (between bridges 63 and 64). The spoil is being used to make up the towpath edge where it has dropped over the years. This takes some time to dry out, so is fenced off from the water, but remains open for walking. Some offside tree cutting has been done, as the vegetation very soon encroaches when there is no traffic. The geotextile bags containing spoil from the sidepond dredging earlier in the year have been emptied, and the contents spread on the old trip. Several dead trees have been cut down in that area as well.
Above the locks, the towpath has been cracking up, leaving some nasty trip hazards. These have been temporally filled with cement. Tarmac speed humps have been installed on the access road (a lot of vehicles were going much too fast).
The Old Union Canal’s Society bench half-way between the locks and the village had rotted, so has been replaced. This is much to the relief of the many people who use it. As time and available volunteers allow, hopefully other benches will be re-instated. Like those at Pat’s Bridge (64) and Foxton Step Bridge (6) on the Harborough Arm.
There were some problems recently with a young homeless guy getting on peoples’ boats and asking for food and drink. He said he had walked from Newcastle. He appears to be harmless, but the incidents have been reported, and we think he has moved on.
The Foxton Inclined Plane Trust
The Foxton Inclined Plane Trust has been in existence for 40 years in June. The ultimate aim is to have this extraordinary feat of Victorian engineering restored and working. But work has had to be scaled back due to economic and political circumstances. One day it will be back to it’s original purpose of by-passing the locks, saving water and allowing passage of wide-beam craft. The Trust’s achievements include the re-building of the boiler house as an award-winning museum, and substantial improvements and interpretation of the Incline site.