We left our mooring just south of Compton this morning, and three locks later we were at Bratch – just about the only place we remember from our last trip down this way about 10 years ago. Another iconic place on the canal system, subject of many a photograph and postcard. For those not in the know, Bratch was originally built as a staircase trio by Brindley, but was later changed into 3 separate locks with large side-ponds to save water. However, as the pounds in between the 3 locks are only a few feet in length, it still operates as a staircase, it being impossible for boats to pass each other in the flight. A swift trip down following another boat and we were at the bottom, having been gongoozled by a party of schoolchildren. We made sure we didn’t make any mistakes, as kids can be the harshest of critics! We continued on through several more locks, my favourite being Bumblehole Lock (I just love the name – very Dickensian!). Next were Botterham Locks, a true staircase duo. We were at Marsh Lock and were thinking of mooring soon when the heavens opened and I got soaked to the skin – I was wearing only a T shirt (and trousers and boots, obviously!) Rog pulled in after the lock and handed me my waterproof, and as I put it on, it stopped raining. Typical! However, I was glad of it as the rain hissed down again at the next lock, so we decided to call it a day and are moored in Swindon, with a chippy, so fish and chips for tea tonight.
Rog almost had another shower as we descended the second lock in Botterham staircase – it was very deep!
5.1 miles and 11 locks