A grand canal day out

It’s the school holidays and today the sun was shining so we decided to venture out and take a little trip to Foxton Locks.  Pud had downloaded a ‘top secret spy mission’ (for a handsome fee of £6.99 I might add) to lead us two and a half miles around the canal, picking up clues as we went along, and so with egg sandwiches packed and excitement reaching fever pitch in the Pud residence we piled into the car in gleeful anticipation.

According to the website, ‘Foxton Locks is home to two amazing feats of engineering in the heart of the Leicestershire countryside’, demonstrating how 19th century engineers solved the problem of getting boats up and down a steep hill by a staircase of ten locks and also later on, with the creation of a giant steam powered boat lift.

Foxton Locks 1

Eddy at the top of the locks


Now I’m not going to go into any more detail than that, mainly because it took me most of the trip round to grasp the concept of how the locks work but I couldn’t help thinking that those clever engineers back in the day had made unnecessary work for themselves – I’m no canal designer but I reckon if I was, then I certainly wouldn’t build one slap bang in the middle of a steep hill, I’d be looking for the flattest piece of countryside available.  But then again, I can barely build a sandcastle, so who am I to judge?

Cynicism aside, we saw the locks in operation and do you know what? – it really was fascinating.  Well, for some of us anyway……

From way down low to way up high, all with the turn of a key and a whoosh of water:

The ‘super exciting’ spy mission took us away from the locks and into the pretty village of Foxton – no pictures of this I’m afraid as we were getting a bit peckish and Pud can’t half cover some ground at the prospect of grub.  I did snatch a couple of other pics though before I had to do a mum-run to catch them up:

We managed to find 18 clues out of 20.  I got the blame for missing one as it was on a gate which I’d apparently ignored (how was I to know that a gate is another name for lock anyway?)  The remaining missed clue will haunt Pud forever but he will just have to find a way to work through his frustration I guess.

We finished our little adventure with the first picnic of the year and in order to mark the occasion I even popped in some mini sausage rolls and cocktail sausages  – again, no pictorial evidence as I do think that when your picnic is spread out on a table it can look rather vulgar.  And embarrassingly unhealthy.

All in all it was a fab few hours and I can highly recommend using a ‘top secret spy mission’ or some such map as a way of keeping the kids (and indeed the adults) entertained.  And if any of my family or friends feel like venturing out to Foxton Locks, we’ve got the map on file now and can offer it to you at a fraction of the price we paid…..


2 thoughts on “A grand canal day out

  1. What was the one remaining clue. Can I help. If I had known you could have called in for a cuppa (at no charge)


    • Ah Mel, it was to look for a phone number on a red board containing a picture of a part of the body. We assumed it would be some sort of emergency contact if anyone got into trouble on the water…turns out it was the board for the SHOULDER of Mutton pub! It never looked like that in my day! Thanks for the offer of a cuppa – I felt very nostalgic today! Hope you’re well xx


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