I took my children for a walk in the beautiful Warwickshire countryside, to explore the canal network and have a look at the infamous Hatton Locks.
Hatton Locks consist of a flight of 21 locks, built in c.1930. The locks are incredible. We parked roughly mid-flight near the café and pub (which I highly recommend), and although it sounds obvious – looking upstream or downstream all you can see is locks. It is simply amazing, quite a site. And a feat of modern engineering that should not be underestimated.
The locks are fast filling/emptying and apparently take 2.5 – 3hrs to climb if the locks are in your favour and you don’t stop. They are manual though, so that does sound like VERY hard. I think a gentler approach is probably best.
The flight was clearly in good use, as we stood and watched many a boat come and go. One motor cruiser and the rest an eclectic mix of beautiful canal boats, vibrantly painted and well-cared for by their enthusiastic owners. We duly chatted to a few, finding out where they’ve been and where they’re heading. The relaxed responses and slow pace is inspirational, instantly the mind drifts to thoughts of escapism, leaving the rat run behind and spending years exploring the water networks. What a life.
A kind boat owner gave us an unwanted loaf of bread and we had fun feeding the swans and ducks. Note to self: take peas next time, feeding the birds bread doesn’t sit well with me. Nonetheless the birds were happy, and so were we. The children loved watching the comings and goings of the canal. We walked past several locks up stream and to a beautiful ‘clearing’ where the water was calm and the trees majestically draped in to the water, It was simply beautiful, So peaceful, and so tranquil.
Watching the colourful barges gliding past, took me back to my time spent aboard a barge on the Thames where I was trained in helming on the inland waterways.
I have never climbed a flight of locks, but Hatton Locks is crying out for me to return. I will be back. I will climb the Hatton lock staircase.