Boating Uphill

... blog post:


How to take a boat up a rise of 237 feet in 2 miles or a 1 in 44 gradient. A flight of 29 locks was John Rennie the Elder's solution to climbing a steep hill in 1810 at Caen Hill on the Kennet and Avon canal.

It will typically take you up to six hours to make the climb in a boat up the "stairs" to the top of the Caen Hill and on into Devizes using the locks or an hour or so less if you are fit enough and the traffic is in your favour!

The locks are deep with big side enclosures to hold the necessary large volumes of water needed to operate them.

Looking down the serried rank of lock gates going along and round the right hand corner of the hill gives a sense of the challenge of the ascent.

From the bottom of the main flight, however, the view appears to give something of an illusion that the task is simpler than it really is. The prospect from the top looking downwards illustrates the nature of the challenge much better. Such fun!


A set of photographs made on the day may be found here.