Friday 30 June 2023

Caen Hill

Today's Canal : Kennet and Avon

It is not going to be a long blog today : (1) We have been covering mostly familiar territory and seen very  little of novelty (2) it was very grey from the outset and after mid morning there have been frequent spells of drizzle, even donned waterproofs for a time (3) after the initial run to Semington we have been working through 13 locks until we finally moored (and 7 swing bridges).

We were still having to pass slowly a lot of moored boats for the first hour, not as many but spaced out so that there was little opportunity to open up the throttle.

At our first swing bridge this car confronted Mike as he followed the path from the bridge landing. In fact it was parked as far off the farm track as it could but it did mean pushing though brambles to get by.

At Semington Bottom Lock there is a massive hedge of honeysuckle, at its best in flower, and a very heavy scent that was impossible to ignore.

The two Semington locks and then the five Seend flight were generally straightforward if as heavy as is bound to be the case on this canal.

We spotted this sign for a boat based business. We thought that they might have avoided putting the name in an arc (rather than straight!)

We shared the last few locks with a hire boat, due back at Foxhangers tomorrow morning. The young daughter of the family came back to help. They had shared the previous couple of locks with another boat but then it caught up with another seeking to share so the hire boat opted to wait for us. The lass was especially helpful. It may have been their first canal trip but she had been learning very fast! We stopped for a lunch break just before Sells Green.

It was mid afternoon before we set off once more. With the main Caen Hill flight still on restricted hours we wanted to be as close to it for opening time (10 am) as possible. We knew that there were several boats ahead of us that would already be in the queue.

This meant working up the first six locks of the overall Caen Hill flight. Alas, it turned out that this set were some of the worst we have encountered. Only 2 had both top paddles functional and the second lock has to be left empty because the bottom gates leak so much. As we discovered to our cost, the lock would only make a level with both top paddles open (lucky that is is one of the two with both working!)

We were mighty relieved to find that there was a space to moor as we planned (the main waiting area above the next lock was already full, at so we were told)

7.5 Miles - 13 Lockswas

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