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Thursday, 30 August 2012

Rocks by Rail

Whenever we are with Father he finds unusual places to visit, Bank Holiday Monday it was the ironstone area around Corby. We first visited a country park for lunch near Corby, here where relics from the site of the Stewarts and Lloyds Corby Steelworks and some history of steel making and iron ore extraction from this area.
We then drove to Rocks by Rail, previously the Rutland Railway Museum, an unusual take on a preserved railway, this was the former 2 mile Midland Railway Ashwell to Cottesmore mineral branch off the Oakham and Stamford line from Ashwell Junction and is been preserved as an industrial line. The line was connected to various quarries around Exton and Cottesmore before closure in the 1980's. All the locos are ex industry from coal mines, steel works, and some loco's I remember from Barrington Cement Works, the last quarry to use industrial locos in 2005 near where I used to live in Cambridgeshire.

Collection of industrial locos.
Wagon stock under preservation.
Iron Ore Wagons.

The site has a workshop where locos and wagons are stripped for restoration along with a cafe and small museum. A nature trail follows the line which will be nice on a fine summers day, the line crosses the course of the Oakham Canal which was abandoned as long ago as 1897.

Abandoned course of the Oakham Canal from
Oakham to Melton Mowbray.

At one end of the line is a quarry with wagons and diggers that used to work in the quarry system.

Quarry, ore wagons, and digger.
Small Drag Line Digger and Dumper Truck.

An unusual museum, but interesting non the less.http://www.rocks-by-rail.org

On the way back to Market Harborough for father to catch the train back to York he wished to visit the longest viaduct in the uk, this is Harringworth Viaduct, also known as Welland Viaduct or Seaton Viaduct and crosses over the River Welland between Harrington in Northamptonshire and Seaton in Rutland. Its impressive span of 82 arches stretch for three quarters of a mile and having been completed in 1878 by the Midland Railway makes it over 131 years old. With its impressive length, Harringworth Viaduct is the longest masonry railway viaduct across any valley in Britain and carries a grade II listed structure status. Situated on the Oakham to Kettering line the viaduct carries double track across its entire length.

Harringworth Viaduct.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Foxton Locks and Market Harborough

Bank holiday weekend we met up with father, picking him up at Market Harborough station after his journey from York, we left Norfolk in the car at 7 to reach Market Harborough at 9-30. No lie in for us.
We drove into the town, had a quick breakfast then walked up to the Market Harborough arm of the Grand Union Canal and down the arm to Union Wharf to look at the basin, first time here without a boat so today we are gongoozlers (Definition: A gongoozler is a person who enjoys watching activity on the canals of the United Kingdom. The term may have arisen from the Lincolnshire dialect: gawn and gooze, meaning to stare and gape)
The visitor moorings where not very full, different when we last came here when they where chock full and we moored in the basin on the permanent moorings.
Nice boat with riveted detail on the visitor moorings.

Union Wharf.

Pristine Jag Mk 1X parked outside the CaRT offices.
Market Harborough's most famous building, The Old Grammar School.

We then drove up to Foxton Locks, a flight of locks in 2 staircases of 5, again, first time for a long while we have visited here without the boat, it has changed a fair bit, there is now a Canal and River Trust car park at the bottom of the locks which must be quite a money spinner, the car park at the top of the locks is Leicestershire Council owned so no income to CaRT.
Foxton locks has changed since our last walk round, obviously some of this is health and safety related, tarmac paths and railings for example, it is now a very commercial enterprise, with shops at both top and bottom lock, and a boat moored selling sweets where the lock keepers used to moor.
The museum and inclined plane has been tidied up, and the chuggers where out for both CaRT and the Inclined Plane Trust with prominent gazebos, trying to sign up new members. The Foxton Lock Inn seems to be have been extended and has a planning application in to turn a residential garden into a beer garden. It used to be easy to get a meal here, but no more.
New paths up to the inclined plane and exhibit description plaques.

View down Inclined Plane to trough basins.
Gongoozlers galore watching a boat go down the staircase locks.
Looking up the lower staircase of 5.
Entrance to lower arm.
View across side pond to Inclined Plane Engine House, housing the
 revamped museum.
Bottom lock, canal to the left goes to Leicester and the River Soar, to
the right the arm to Market Harborough.

It was a dull day, but plenty of people about watching boats up the locks.

Sunday, 19 August 2012


After spending time in Gills Astra Cabriolet Saturday morning and my TR7 Saturday afternoon I think I had a touch of sunstroke on Saturday night, it was up to 32 in our area. Was hoping it would be a bit cooler on Sunday for Stonham Barns classic car show, but no, scorchio again. Not a long run, however we had used all our liquid by the time we got there at 10am. This show seems to be gaining in popularity, a lot of cars there this year. After the usual bacon butties we had a look around the cars before seeking the shade in the Stonham Barns retail outlets, places I would normally avoid but anything to get out of the sun today, especially liked the furniture store with its sofas and cooling electric fans. Mid afternoon we had a threatening sky, but it only rained for a few minutes, but heavy enough to make the hoods go up for a while, really humid after that.
A few photos of some cars that took my eye.
1938 Talbot in un-restored condition.

Mercedes 190 SL

From the left MGB Roadster, Lotus Elan S2, Maserati Bi Turbo,
Triumph Acclaim.

Nice Solihull built TR7, later than mine.

Talbot Sunbeam Lotus.

Another Solihull TR7, there where 4 in total including mine, the most
I have seen at any Norfolk/Suffolk shows in the last couple of years.

A few spaces appearing at the end of the day.

Alan's Stag in the show ring.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012


Was a lovely hot day on Saturday so we took Gills Astra Cabriolet for a spin in the sun to Southwold, I was even allowed to drive for once. As expected it was very busy but this lovely Suffolk resort looks great in the sun.
Southwold Lighthouse against a blue sky.

Spitfire parked on the sea front. CT badge on windscreen, but I
don't recognize as a local car.

The lifeboat was thrashing about the bay, it was their annual lifeboat day, and they where demonstrating both inshore and the larger Tyne Class boat Spirit of Lowestoft.
Tyne Class lifeboat at speed of Southwold Beach.

Southwold Pier.

On another note our shared owner narrowboat has somehow made the front cover of Septembers Waterways World. It is shown at the bottom of the Watford staircase flight. Not me crewing, I would not turn out that quickly into the lock round the corner and scrape the hull!!!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Driving Around

July weekends where spent mainly on drives out in the Suffolk and Norfolk countryside with no agenda. I visited a friend one weekend with some really nice classics, including a TR6, Lotus Elan S2 and Europa, E type, Daimler, etc. no car pics as he is rather sensitive on this but I visited a couple of sites on the way there.
Pakenham Windmill

Pakenham Watermill for coffee and cake.

Lost down a long farm road with a massive tractor behind me and nowhere
to turn except the farmers yard, he was not amused.

The following weekend I drove out to another friends house, about 17 miles away but took me 35 miles to get there, some good driving roads that kept me going on and on.
Suffolk countryside.

Today we took a run out to Sandringham, Gill and I in the TR7, our friends where in there Elan M100, we used an old club route we had used for drive it day but swung by the Lotus factory to get a pic of her car with the Lotus sign. We then headed through to Swaffham for coffee.
At the Lotus factory.
Swaffham, Greyhound Inn used in the "Kingdom" series featuring
Stephen Fry.

Nice top down weather until lunch time, whence it poured down as we where tucking into our roast lunch outside The Crown Inn at Gayton. Quick dash inside to finish of our meal. Then off to Sandringham for a tour of the Gardens and Museum in a thankfully dry spell.
Sandringham House gates.

Sandringham House.

Had a good, quick drive back, sun eventually coming out again in Thetford forest so the hood went down again.