Just a short post today, to keep our progress up to date. Setting off from All Cannings, it was quite chilly this morning, following some overnight rain. The low cloud still clung to the hills in the distance, but the sun was making attempts to break through. One other boat departed just before us, also heading for Devizes. We had two swing bridges to deal with, encountering a wide beam at one of them, and six miles to navigate. As we arrived at Devizes, the boat ahead of us, found a spot and pulled in. As we passed, it was looking rather full ahead. We were keeping everything crossed, because if we failed to find a mooring spot, we had 29 Locks to deal with, and we didn’t fancy that today. As we approached the Top Lock, we were fortunate. Several spaces were available, so we moored at the start of the visitor moorings. You are allowed 72 hours here, and as the weather is forecast heavy rain for the next day or so, we will probably use that time. We took four legs for a walk down the flight, and spoke with the Lock keeper to confirm that the current restrictions haven’t changed. Then after lunch, we wandered into Devizes to pick up some fruit and veg from the market.
So now we will sit out the bad weather, and look forward to the return of the heatwave next week.
When we told people we were aiming for All Cannings, most simply laughed, some shook their heads, and a few said ‘you’ll be lucky’. Apparently it is a popular mooring site, with limited space and is usually full. We only had six miles to go, and for a time we are being spoilt, with no Locks to navigate. Progress was fairly slow though, due to the increase in moored boats we are having to pass, with the engine just ticking over. Still the countryside we are passing through, is very scenic and hilly.
The stretch of canal passing Pickled Hill was lovely, but mooring would be difficult, and in the reeds, although a couple of boats had managed it. A mile further on we arrived at Honey Street. The Wharf here supplies diesel, so we topped up the tank. We knew we were getting close to our destination, when the chalk horse came into view.
The horse was cut into the Hill in 1812, and on a good day can be seen from 22 miles away. On arrival at All Cannings, we rounded the bend towards the mooring area, and it was nearly full. There was just one spot available, but it looked a little short. Fortunately a chap on an adjoining boat, offered to shuffle up a few feet closing a gap, and it was just enough. We shoehorned ourselves in and secured the boat.
After lunch, we went for a walk along the towpath to the next bridge, a couple of hundred yards away. Four legs was left behind, it was too hot for him, and he was panting. It was much cooler inside the boat. We found the track we were looking for, and also the sign posts to our goal. Our reason for visiting this spot, is one day, not too soon we hope, we will spend an eternity here.
The Barrow was built in 2014, and was the first Barrow to be built in the U.K. for over 5000 years. It was the idea of a local farmer, who has given up part of his land for the structure, and is now allowing it to revert back to its original state, of chalk grassland. Inside the Barrow, the stone chambers are built from a central corridor, which is aligned to the sunrise on the winter solstice.
In the photo above, our spot is within the chamber to the left, where the Ammonite fossil is located above the lintel.
After visiting our final resting place to be, we wandered into the village to stock up on a few items at the local store. It was a lovely little village shop, but closed for lunch from twelve till three. So we went to the pub for refreshments while we waited for it to open. Tomorrow we will probably aim for Devizes, another Lock free day, but then the following day it’s Caen Hill with its 29 Locks, and no stopping once on the Lock flight.