Days off are precious, The Boss declares on this one that he’s taking me out for lunch, he’s got a plan, he knows where we’re going, but he’s not telling. Just a quick half hour drive he tells me, ‘Get in the car.’
Probably the longest half hour drive from Longleat we’ve ever done. It feels like we’ve been in the car for close onto an hour, my stomach feels like my throat has been cut and I’m gagging for a drink.
The road signs soon give away our destination, Caen Hill Locks, we have a friend who volunteers there and countless members visiting our site have told us what a good day out it is. The small lane leading to the car park jolts us over speed bumps the size of Helvellyn. My stomach bounces angrily around inside me protesting loudly. Signs in the car park tell us to pay for parking in the cafe just the other side of the canal. Paying for parking in the cafe also means food is probably closer to hitting my stomach than I thought.
Weaving our way along the path towards the canal we are very aware of the almost instant peace and tranquility. Looking across the fence towards the locks you suddenly realise how high up we are and why the locks were needed.
In the cafe the lady behind the counter welcomes us and asks we put our parking money in the pot on the counter. Smells waft towards us making my taste buds drool. Blackboards boast delights that make my tummy rumble. The Boss opts for a cappuccino and an egg and sausage barm oozing brown sauce, a hater of all things egg related, I choose a bacon, Brie and chilli jam toasty with a pot of tea. Even though I was starving I still managed to slowly eat and savour every mouthful, by gum, it was good.
Food snaffled, we watch a few boats navigate the locks, “Three hours so far” came the reply when we asked one of them how long it had taken to travel the few hundred metres we could see down the hill. Life in the slow lane eh? Fab. I could see The Boss daydreaming about swapping our wobble box for a bobbing box. I told him to stop.
This part of the Kennet and Avon Canal, pronounced Cane Locks, was constructed by John Rennie, the longest flight of locks in the UK, in 1810. The 16 locks known as Caen Hill are part of the 29 locks of the Devizes Flight which covers 2 miles of continuous climbing. A massive piece of engineering of its time.
Turning away from the Locks, we walked the canal the short distance to Devizes. Quite picturesque in pockets of town but a quirky coffee shop caught our eye where we bought a …….. lemonade. A blimin’ good lemonade too, and all for the equivalent cost of forty two bottles of lemonade in Lidl, so we made them last.
Strolling back to the flight of locks I assume it’s back to the car and home … silly me … “I reckon you’d get a great picture of the locks from the bottom, it’s only down there”, he says, and I groan.
Luckily, unlike the boat driver/pilot/operator, whatever you call him, it took us far less than three hours to get to the bottom, a couple of photos later we head back uphill, wish I’d had a boat. My little legs don’t do hills.