Maiden Voyage – Day Four – The Caen flight and home

The forecast was for rain but we were up early (0700), walk dog, breakfast, feed dog, get the boat ready. Try not to make much noise as James & Rosie’s boats were very still. I hope the G&T’s plus the beer didn’t take too long to wear off. Very nice people. Hope we meet again.

Right, 3 locks to do here and then on to Foxhangers

I don’t think people realise that there are 7 locks before the Caen flight of 16 and then 6 locks after it. So quite a daunting task. And what’s more we had a hire boat in front of us which meant having to empty a full lock first before we could proceed.  Viv had her work cut out doing these locks and it started to rain. Luckily, the rain stopped and so did the hire boat. This was as far as they intended to go – just to get a look at the flight and then turn round. Another good piece of luck was that gazing up at the flight we could see that all the bottom gate paddles were up – this meant that we were the first to go up the flight today as the lock keeper sets the locks this way. Hurrah, no locks to empty – just drive in to each one. Time Viv did some driving!

It does begin to get a bit tiring (Tim & Pru had an army of volunteers to get them thru – it was just us and a bored Toby)

It took about 3-4 hours but we made it to the top:

A brief lunch and then onwards to finish the final 6 locks through Devizes town and on to Devizes marina and home!

This is Kennet lock and that makes it Number 50.

All freshly painted (Princess Anne is passing this way next week) and now just a home run to the marina.

A tight left-hand turn into the marina and then a show off reverse into the berth (4th along).


Maiden Voyage – Day Three – Bath to Seend

We’ve done this bit before on the helmsman’s course – lots of parked boats but a very scenic route, through Bathampton and on to Dundas aqueduct:



Across the aqueduct and out onto the ever serene canal, a beautiful section which even the dog seemed to likeimage


And another aqueduct – Avoncliffe


We passed through Bradford-on-Avon and then onto towards Trowbridge, past the Hilperton Marina


We passed a boat doing a 3-point turn – these boaters were later to catch up with us and to prove very helpful!


Yes, James & Rosie (it’s actually her boat – the White Swan). He’s a marine electrician and lives on his boat, moored at the Barge Inn, Seend. Rosie has just bought the boat as a place to live on and will be working in Oxford soon and so will take the boat up there. Great to be young and carefree! We played leapfrog – alternating the workings of locks & lift-bridges all the way to Seend.  A long day, not finishing until 1850 but with a pub as the end point – a definite incentive indeed.



It’s a Wadworth’s pub and the beer wasn’t cheap but the food was excellent (Boeuf en daube with horseradish mash!). End of a long day but there was an even longer day ahead.

Maiden Voyage – Day Two – Keynsham to Bath

We had to get to Swineford Lock (No.3) by 10 and so we set off shortly after nine – hoping it all would all work out; we could get through the lock and there wouldn’t be a huge queue.

Above: Swineford Lock – all quiet, serene and empty!

Plain sailing from here:

Bridge 208 and the Boathouse pub.

And on in to Bath . .

Bath bottom lock and that nice tree and pound that you see from the road but never know where it is! It leads onto Bath Deep Lock (2nd deepest on the system) and like a bubble bath when both paddles are open:

And some welcome help from our dear friend Rob Gilmour!

Thanks Rob!

And then the now infamous Abbey lock – site of that unfortunate sinking just a few weeks ago! No waurez for us but some obvious cill damage!

Onwards to Sydney gardens and find a place to moor for the night

We met 2 boats hired from Foxhangers – full of German students. A bit wary of them at first  but they were charming. We shared locks and they were really very considerate.  We finally went on to a clear stretch to moor – a bit close to the main line to London but it was otherwise peaceful and easy to find as Rob & Sheila were due to visit for a meal.  The first we have cooked on board.


(Our) Maiden Voyage

Well, we positioned the cars on Saturday – one in Devizes Marina and one left on the street. Sunday is here and we’re off.  Enough food for a week.  Us two and the dog, Toby. Let’s see if we can get out of the harbour and up to Keynsham … .

Leaving Bristol

Out of Netham lock and onto the Avon

Seems scenic now …


Dog seems happy


Scenes of devastation from the floods of just a month ago, sunken boats and what looks like Nepalese prayer streamers are in fact plastic bags and rubbish, stranded, high up in the trees

Safely moored by the Lock Keeper pub above Keynsham lock (No2)

And our reward . .