Caen Hill Flight – 29 locks in one day

Steve trips 2 Comments

With a big day ahead of us, we set off at 8am accompanied by Dave and Diane on their hire boat Fennec Fox to tackle the Caen Hill locks.

Both originally from the UK they have lived in New Zealand for many years and this was their second narrowboat holiday. They started their holiday at Foxhangers Canal Holidays base at the bottom of the flight and went to Bath before returning and heading up the flight to Crofton. This was their last full day on the boat.

heading for a lock at Caen Hill

The full set of locks consist of the 6 Devizes locks, 16 at Caen Hill and 7 at Foxhangers. In reality there is no real gap between the sets. The Caen Hill locks are evenly spaced and all have an 8’ 2” inch drop, whilst the others are more irregularly spaced. The total drop is 237ft in just over 2 miles.

We were happy to find that the locks were already set in our favour and we soon got in to a rhythm of getting the next lock ready whilst we were descending.

Along the way we passed another ‘Tumbleweed’ narrowboat. We also encountered a widebeam a few days ago.

Another boat must have started after the Devizes locks, as it was then that we then found the locks were empty. Happily CRT volunteers opened paddles for us and we were soon back to having full locks waiting for us.

After several locks we crossed with other boats going up. The most awkward one. was a wide beam. Fenenc Fox pulled over to the side and I held our boat close to the pond, whilst the widebeam went between us.

Widebeam crossing at Caen Hill

Widebeam crossing at Caen Hill

The wind today was quite gusty making a few of the locks a bit tricky. You have everything lined up then suddenly a gust blows you off line.

We continued to make steady unhurried progress before pulling over for a lunch break at the bottom of Caen Hill. 22 locks done in just over 4 hours

entering Caen Hill lock

After a well earned break we set off again to finish off the job.

small wheel bikes

A group of cyclists all on folding bikes.

After 6 hours, our work was done. We pulled up on to the 48 hour moorings and Fennec Fox  stayed on the opposite bank outside the boatyard. Tomorrow they head off to Sussex for a less energetic two weeks in a cottage.

End of the Caen Hill locks

End of the Caen Hill locks. Time for chocolate

Sharing the locks with a well organised crew makes the work so much easier and Dave and Diane were good company as well. What more can you ask for.

Tomorrow is a rest day for us and Angela certainly deserves it.

2.4 miles

29 locks


370 miles

313 locks

19 swing/lift bridges

2 tunnels

Comments 2

  1. I finally have a reasonably good internet connection allowing me to post a reply as we wait at Heathrow for our flight home to NZ. The connection in rural Sussex was not too flash!
    We did enjoy meeting you guys and the trip down Caen Hill flight was a load of fun. Thanks to Angela for the taking the photographs on this page (we’ll add those to our holiday photos) and we look forward to reading more about you continuing travels around the waterways.
    Best wishes
    David & Diane Booth

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *