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.
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.
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
After a well earned break we set off again to finish off the job.
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.
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.
19 swing/lift bridges