We set off from Newton Harcourt church and cross the canal bridge to reach the towpath. For much of the way we have mud and some snow to contend with, so it's as well I've taken the trusty trekking pole. The conditions underfoot make for some hard going. Navigation, on the other hand is a doddle. Just follow the canal, crossing it as necessary until you get to Foxton Locks.
|Idyllic - or just cold?|
We have to leave the towpath a little way before Saddington Tunnel - it's been fenced off, as it's in a dangerous state. There's a clear alternative path along the field edge above the canal. We continue uphill over Saddington Tunnel, but this presents no navigational problems either.
There's very little in the way of bird life this morning - a couple of Canada geese, a pair of mallards and two swans are all we spot on the water. The are a few little birds around, and some starlings in the fields.
We take a break at just over 4 miles in, and find a surprisingly sheltered spot. The sun's out too, so we're quite happy.
|Hurry up - the sun's in my eyes!|
There are a few hardy boaters enjoying the fine cold morning.
When we reach Debdale Wharf the condition of the towpath improves dramatically. Hard, firm and non-slippery. We spot one or two footpaths we have walked before.
We negotiate Bridge 61 safely - this is still quite icy, then let ourselves be tempted by coffee and a sandwich in the "Bridge 61" pub.
|Is this for the tea?|
A short walk up past the flight of ten locks and the lock-keeper's cottage and the stable with their historical information displays, and we are back to Foxton Locks top car park.
Just under eight and a half miles.
map and details