Saturday, 27 April 2013

Caen Hill - Saturday 27th April 2013

We were woken at 3.00 am this morning with a bright light illuminating the bedroom. Looking out we could see that it was a full moon in all its glory, this picture was taken through the porthole and it is amazing the detail we could see on its surface.
1 Full Moon
Returning to bed and sleep we had a lie in, even Phoenix did not get us up so early, and after a leisurely breakfast we filled with water and headed for Moonrake Lock at the bottom of the Caen 16 flight, the idea being that we would stay the night there and tackle the flight first thing the following morning when all the locks would be empty. The first seven locks were all against us however and it took us two and a half hours to reach our mooring spot .
Whilst the locks were under construction a tram road provided a link between the canal at Foxhangers to Devizes, the remains of which can be seen in the towpath arches in the road bridges over the canal. A brickyard was dug to the south of the workings to manufacture the bricks for the lock chambers and this remained in commercial use until the middle of the 20th century.. The bridges on the Caen hill locks all have a side tunnel.
2 Moonraker Lock
As we moored we noticed that all the locks in the flight ahead of us were against us so were relieved that our plan was the best approach to tackling the locks. Settling down to our lunch, Charlie came by on his bike and said that he had been up the locks and there was a boat coming down and was currently at lock 35. If we wanted to carry on going up he would love to help us once the boat had come down as the locks would be in our favour. We jumped at this opportunity even though June was a little tired and we would end up doing far more locks than we had intended. Better to do it today with help rather than tomorrow with non we thought.3 Charlie
Shortly afterwards Andy the lock keeper and a friend of James and Doug, whom we had met on the decent of the locks, came by on his quad bike and said that he would also help us up as there were no other boats coming down or up. An opportunity not to be missed so as soon as the first lock was empty we were on our way.
4 Locking team
With the help of Andy and Charlie we seemed to fly through the locks and completed the flight of 16 in only one and three quarter hours, a bit of a difference to the two and a half hours for the earlier 7.
5 Gongoozlers
Being the only boat on the flight we were a target for the Saturday afternoon Gongoozlers and were constantly being questioned and photographed at each lock.
6 Swans nest
Towards the top of the flight two swans have built their nest on the off side of the lock and Andy was the only one brave enough to open the paddle next to them.
7 almost there
Almost there, as June and Charlie operate the penultimate lock with the Cafe in the background.
8 Top lock view
The view from the top lock at last and in the photo below, moored up on the visitor mooring just above with spectacular views over the surrounding countryside. It is said that you can see 4 counties from here.
9 Visitor Mooring at top
Phoenix enjoys her bone after we had shared tea and home made cake with Charlie and Andy. A big THANK YOU to them both for all their help which saved June from even more trouble with her back and got us to the top of the locks a day earlier than we had planned.
91 Phoe enjoys bone


  1. Well done you two. Glad to hear help was at hand just when you needed it. Hope you can have a more restful day today.

  2. Hi Ian and Karen
    Thank you for thinking of us, it is very much appreciated.
    Hope you are having a lovely time in Bristol.