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(Market) Harborough Arm of the Grand Union Canal (Leicester Line)
The Market Harborough Arm of the Grand Union Canal was the site for the very first IWA National Rally in 1950 at its terminus Harborough Basin
We cruised the Market Harborough Arm in May 2008 and found it is lock free for its entire length of just under 6 miles, from Foxton to Market Harborough. A pretty canal that follows the contours along hillsides with great views (over the hedges) across eastern areas of Leicestershire.
The old canal basin at Market Harborough has, over the first few years of the 21st century, become a 'hub of artistic and cultural activity' as BW describes it since it was renamed "Union Wharf". The old buildings reflect the fact that the canal was once a hive of activity and now somehow retaining that busy feel even though the old timber merchant's warehouses have been converted into desirable residences, with a canal basin view.
Non-boating visitors can still watch the boats winding in the basin, mooring, taking on water and moving off again. An ideal place to talk to boaters with a variety of craft, from big wide-beam steel boats to small narrowboats and GRP cruisers. To see how easy it is to get afloat just watch out for the Canaltime hire craft leaving the Canaltime Hire Centre with crews that have just had a few minutes 'briefing', nervously edging out into the Market Harborough Arm.
There is the Century Union Inn, a renovated and interesting 18th century building, where you can sit back and absorb the modern Union Wharf's atmosphere or contemplate the history of the working canal basin.
Market Harborough town centre is about quarter of an hour's walk, down hill from Union Wharf on Leicester Road. Just behind St Dionysius Church, near the Old Grammar School Market building you will find the Council Offices, that house the Tourist Information Office and an interesting, free entry, local history museum.
At about half a mile, just off the Springfield Road, St Mary's Place there
is a nice little shopping area with both Sainsbury's and Wilkinsons stores.
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