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Foxton Locks

By Glostopcat  
A set of images all taken on my recent canalboat holiday on the Grand Union Canal, these were all taken whilst ascending and descending Foxton Locks near the village of Foxton in Leicestershire. The weather was very foggy when we ascended the locks but sunny when we descended them. Foxton Locks is the largest flight of staircase locks on the English canal system with two "staircases" of five locks. They are located on the Leicester Line of the Grand Union Canal 5km West of Market Harborough close to the nearby village of Foxton. They form the Northern terminus of a 20 mile summit level that passes Husbands Bosworth, Crick and ends with the Watford Flight.
Staircase locks are used where a canal needs to climb up a steep hill, and consist of a group of locks where each lock opens directly into the next, that is where the bottom gates of one lock form the top gates of the next. The Grade II listed locks are a popular tourist attraction and the County Council has created a country park at the top. At the bottom, where the junction with the arm to Market Harborough is located, there are two public houses, a shop, trip boat and other facilities alongside the locks, as is the site of the Foxton Inclined Plane, an inclined plane built in 1900 as a solution to various operational restrictions imposed by the lock flight. It was not a commercial success and was remained in full time operation for only ten years. It was dismantled in 1926, but a project to recreate the plane commenced in the 2000s since the locks remain a bottleneck for boat traffic.
Building work on the locks started in 1810 and was finished 4 years later in 1814. Little changed until the building of the inclined plane resulted in the reduction in size of some of the side ponds.
In 2008 the locks became part of the European Route of Industrial Heritage, a network which seeks to recognise the most important industrial heritage sites in Europe. The locks are usually manned during the cruising season from Easter to October and padlocked outside opening hours. This is done to prevent water shortages due to misuse and to ensure a balance between those wishing to ascend and descend. There can be lengthy delays at busy times but the actual transit should take approximately 45 minutes to one hour to complete, it is made quicker by the fact that the locks are are narrow beam and the gates are light.

V1 - Chris M opening a lock
V2 - Chris A opening a lock
V3 - Arm of the Union passing through the bottom lock
V4 - Arm of the Union passing through another lock
V5 - Glenn mooring the Arm of the Union before ascending the 2nd flight of locks
V6 - Chris A closing a lock, the last one before the top lock
V7 - Chris A closing a lock
V8 - Wicked William in the top lock about to descend the 1st flight of locks
V9 - Wicked William in one of the 1st flight of locks when we descended on Wednesday
V10 - Descending Foxton Locks
V11 - Glenn turning the Arm of the Union around before descending the 2nd flight of locks
V12 - A view of the top flight of locks and the lock keepers cottage

Tags: Photo journalism Transport Foxton locks Narrowboats Grand union canal Leics Portraits and people

Voters: woolybill1, cabbie, Derek_Fearn and 40 more

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saeidNL 8 3 Netherlands
17 Mar 2013 1:28PM
Great and fantastic set of images,ED,very well done,

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CarolG 11 199 20 Greece
17 Mar 2013 1:34PM
Glad to see you did get some decent weather, Ed Smile. did you open/close any of the locks, or just wield the camera?Wink Carol
saltireblue Plus
8 8.0k 33 Norway
17 Mar 2013 1:49PM
Always fancied doing a narrow-boat trip, Ed. They have some great canals in France, I understand, but the one time I looked, the price was off-putting, to say the least.
Isn't it good to be the official tog and record the work being done by others!Wink


Edit: I thought from the thumbnail it was an organ grinderSmile
phil_j 12 134 4 England
17 Mar 2013 2:10PM
Great series Ed.
Maiwand 11 3 73 England
17 Mar 2013 2:47PM
Very informative narrative and excellent shots Ed.
gary_d 10 576 13 Wales
17 Mar 2013 3:15PM
A great set Ed, there are no flies on you mate, by being chief photographer it looks like you got out of all the hard work. - gary
Glostopcat 12 255 2 England
17 Mar 2013 3:19PM
Not at all Gary, I opened and closed many of the locks, the red ones are always opened before the white ones at Foxton. I opened most of these hence why I had the time to grab some shots before they were opened up!
17 Mar 2013 4:16PM
Excellent informative narrative and the images fit in perfectly, great piece
NDODS 7 5.1k 125 United Kingdom
17 Mar 2013 5:16PM
Another wonderful set of documentary photographs Ed. You seemed to have got out of all the huffing and puffing, well done mate...

Regards Nathan
EAS 9 1 13 Scotland
17 Mar 2013 5:41PM
Excellent reportage and images to go with it. I watched a programme not all that long ago about these wonderful locks. Amazing engineering.

RonnieAG Plus
8 154 118 Scotland
17 Mar 2013 7:30PM
A fine set documenting your spell on the water, Ed: some images make it look like quite hard work, others suggest a more relaxed way of life.
And a big thank you foe all the kind comments you made tonight.
17 Mar 2013 7:59PM
A dozen cracking images, Ed!
Did you ever get round to unlocking the locks!!WinkWinkTongueTongue
Mind you, someone's got to take the photos, I suppose!!Smile
Glostopcat 12 255 2 England
17 Mar 2013 8:02PM
I opened up most of the red ones and closed some after the boats had gone through.
17 Mar 2013 8:10PM
Another super set of images Ed,
pluckyfilly 11 351 33 United Kingdom
17 Mar 2013 8:28PM
Great set looks like a good relaxing holiday
pamelajean Plus
12 1.1k 2016 United Kingdom
17 Mar 2013 9:36PM
Not my idea of fun, Ed, but I do appreciate the way these canals and locks are maintained, and it looks like you eventually had some sunshine.
9 10 10 England
17 Mar 2013 10:04PM
Far too much like hard work operating all those locks but an excellent set of images covering your adventure.Wink
Glostopcat 12 255 2 England
17 Mar 2013 10:12PM
Many thanks for all your comments and clicks, they are much appreciated, Ed
Irishkate Plus
7 41 114 United Kingdom
17 Mar 2013 10:29PM
Looks like hard work Ed.
The weather certainly looks changeable.
Did you get some misty images from the boat of the countryside?
Glostopcat 12 255 2 England
17 Mar 2013 10:33PM
Yes, there will be some images of the canal in the fog to come soon
paskinmj 9 11 1 United Kingdom
18 Mar 2013 12:05AM
Nice set and well captured.
Ray42 10 3 England
18 Mar 2013 7:01AM
A great set - enjoyed them all
ChiliMan 11 135 17 Singapore
18 Mar 2013 7:55AM
LOVE that view in V3, Ed, and the amazing light and colours in Vs 8 - 10 !!

Excellent set Smile

FeatherFriend 10 38 217 England
18 Mar 2013 5:56PM
Great set Ed and enjoyed the well detailed write up,
LynneJoyce Plus
9 20 99 United Kingdom
18 Mar 2013 10:41PM
Nice to see good weather in 8-12 though the misty shots in 1-7 are great.
24 Mar 2013 6:11PM
Excellent informative series

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