Saturday, 26 March 2011

The Welford Arm

What a contrast in the weather pattern today from yesterday when we arrived at the little Northamptonshire village of Welford (just inside the border) at the end of the canal arm of the same name. Because there are two reservoirs nearby, the narrow waterway was built in 1814 as a navigable feeder from these to the Grand Union Canal, which it joins about a mile and a half away.
‘Futurest’ and I left Yelvertoft Marina, after we’d had a toilet tank pump out and paid all our dues, shortly after David and Heather, who had set off towards the south. The weather was warm with bright sunshine throughout and for most of the time I had to disrobe down to my tee shirt for comfort (Ahem! Trousers as well of course). There was very little cloud to spoil our fun and the breeze had dropped to nothing.
With no locks to work for eight or so miles, until we arrived at Welford Junction, we made good progress... ‘Futurest’ seemed to be going smoothly and agreeably and I could tell that she felt the same way as I did... It was good to be cruising again. She smoothed along so easily with a happy lilt in her voice; I could tell she was in unison with me.
I hadn’t made up my mind until we arrived at the junction whether to turn right and travel down to Welford about a mile and a half away. Many people had tried to put me off the venture, saying that there was nothing down the arm to make the journey worth the while. But as the weather was so good and we would arrive early enough in the afternoon to secure a good berth and the fact that my exploring nature likes to look at everything that it can; as we arrived at the junction I quickly made up my mind and turned right towards Welford.
How glad I was too that I had decided to make the effort. I can understand that to some people there is nothing to go to the end of the arm for. For any sort of excitement there is only one narrow lock, which is very docile because it’s very shallow and there is no large town beckoning at the end of the arm to indulge some people’s need for that sort of thing. There is just a quiet, little tiny village, untouched by time except for the main road running through it. But because of this general attitude of mind of a lot of people, though there are a few moored boats at the end, and in two small marinas nearby, there is very little movement at all.
It is a delightful, very rural waterway full of peace and tranquillity and I have loved it.
For boaters’ needs it does have lots of fresh water points around, a rubbish disposal point and clean, flushing shore side toilets. There is a pub the ‘Wharf Inn’ at the end which serves food and in the village there is a small shop cum post office, which has a large stock of provisions for its size. There are lots of pretty walks as well so I’ve decided to stay here for the weekend before setting off for the Grand Union again and pressing on northwards towards Market Harborough.
The only drawback to this adventure that I can find is that the telephone signal is totally nonexistent on my machine and the internet connection little better, which is no great challenge for me. Hopefully though I shall be able to post this text. There has been no chance for days now of getting any photos into the blog, which is a shame as, with the help of the good weather, I’ve taken plenty.

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