Sunday, 21 April 2013

The Caen Hill Flight

Today dawned bright and clear again and we set off bright eyed and bushy tailed to tackle the 29 locks ahead of us.


This our first lock of the day just 100 yards from last nights’ moorings.


After we got past the first few locks we met the volunteer lock keepers Kirsty and Tug who immediately recognised us as we’d met them in The Swan at Fradley last year.  As there was very little “traffic” on the canal they were able to help us down the flight – and we will be eternally grateful to them both for their sterling assistance.  Thanks so much Kirsty and Tug!  


We did a quick pump out at the services before starting the 16 lock decent down Caen Hill.  This pound really was home from home for us as it was our mooring site back in 2007.  The name Caen comes from the home town in France of the French prisoners of war who were made to work on the construction of the flight.


We got a fabulous view from the top of the flight.


There were lots of very friendly gongoozlers around today. (Waiting to see us make a mistake!)


Bob and James skilfully guided both boats side by side from one lock to the next – entering and exiting the locks as if breasted together (James is writing this and self praise is no recommendation!)  James was getting it wrong at first and causing extra work for Bob but after some timely advice everything worked perfectly.  Thank you Bob.


Such a unique experience and such fantastic views.  The 29 locks descend 237 feet in about two miles. 


Another highlight of the day was our old friends Andy and Pauline who used to be our “neighbours” on the moorings at the top of the locks.  Andy has been a lock keeper on the flight for many years and he made it a busman’s holiday today to come down with Pauline and the grandchildren to see us.  Lovely to see you all guys!


Another surprise was to meet blog followers Phil and Terri from nb ‘Silhouette’ who live near us in West Sussex and who happened to be staying in Devizes for the weekend.  They “hunted” us down from our recent blogging's and they too were absolute angels and helped us through the last dozen or so locks.  We’re so pleased to meet you both and thanks for all your timely help just when the ‘official’ crew were getting tired.


Having achieved a remarkable 29 locks in just over four hours (with much appreciated help) we motored on for another 20 minutes and are now moored at Sells Green for the night.  Not long after we stopped we had another surprise visit by Claire (yet another one of Doug’s school friends and blog follower!) and her twin sons Gabriel and Oscar.  We had a great chat, over the all important glass of wine, and the boys were extremely interested in the workings of the boat.  It was a pleasure to explain and show them round and answer their questions.  By way of explanation, Doug used to go to school in this area so it’s an ideal opportunity for some of them to meet up.  

Well, it’s been a hell of a busy day and a very enjoyable one meeting so many people.


  1. We are following your progress down the K&A with great interest - we hope to be following your route from Oxford down to Caen Hill Marina come the end of summer! Hope you're not too shattered after those locks today.
    Best wishes
    Debby and Dave
    NB Chuffed

  2. Hi Debby and Dave, Thanks for your comment, we met you in Birmingham we think last time? Do you still have your dog, we were only talking about you the other day?

  3. Hi Doug and James,
    Nice to meet you both and glad to assist with some of the locks.
    It certainly worked up a thirst for a few ales in 'spoons !
    Hope to catch up with you both later in the year on the cut or the south coast.
    Best wishes

    Phil + Terri

  4. Looks like you had good day. Can we have contact details for all your friends for when we hit the flight, hopefully in June? ;-) xx

  5. Doug and James. It was a real pleasure to meet you both earlier and the boys loved it. Than you James for showing boys around, they haven't stopped talking about it. We really hope we get to catch up with you both soon. Enjoy. Xxxx

  6. Well done, a great sense of achievement when you've finished.You did well to get so many friends visiting just in time.