A canal is an artificial lake that has been built for canal boats to travel around the country, slowly, but cheaply. Before the trains revolutionised travel the canals were designed to move heavy goods from place to placed ideal for non-perishables. water lies flat and does not follow the contours of the land, so in order to go uphill or down hill you need to use locks so that you can essentially lift your boat to the next level. at a lock you either go in and let the water out, or go in and fill it up. Either way water from the upper “pond” passes downstream through the lock. SO THE WATER HAS TO BE PHYSICALLY PUMPED UP TO THE SUMMIT.

Now, at Devizes there are 2 pumps. These pump the water half up the hill and then there is another pump at crofton which pumps water to the summit. This system usually works marvellously well. However, a few weeks ago one of the pumps at Devizes failed and the second seemed to be running at poor capacity resulting in insufficient water for the crofton pump to operate. So the pump failure coupled with the lack of rain in June and July this year, the canal water levels dropped and the top lock around crofton were emptied. No water means the boats are grounded and drastic water control measures needed to be put in place to keep the canal operational.

This is why we have had navigational restrictions and many of the locks being closed or only opened over certain time slots.

We decided that we could allow our boats to head down the Caren Hill flight towards Bath and Bristol and take an alternative route so ensure that your holiday was not cut short. The staircase at Caen Hill is on the bucket list for many who enjoy the waterways and our customers have had quite an adventure making their way through this Victorian engineering feat.

Here are a few photos from some of our customers over the past few weeks.