April 17th Stonehenge, Old Sarum, Caen Hill Locks

May 16, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Thursday.. This was our last day in the countryside before heading to London for a few days. Connie Pauls mum decided to join us on our adventures today. We headed south today to see some rocks.. that was the theme of today Rocks.. My head and ears were still a bit congested from the plane almost 6 days later and I think i took a wee to much cold medicine which set my stomach off. I'll blame that and not Paul's driving and the British winding roads. 

It took a little over an hour to get to Stonehenge. It's a very funny tourist attraction. Its a bunch of rock in a field yet thousands of people flock to it every day. Its one of those things to check off your bucket list. We saw it from the dual carriageway as we headed to the entrance. It is an awe inspiring pile of rocks. We parked our car and hopped on the trolly system that took us the mile out to the circle stones. Ok they are really cool and HUGE. Also the fact that they are still such a mystery is really interesting. Also the fact that the stone came from miles away. How did they move it? Aliens? The mysteries are endless. 

 

We walked around the stones and I took a million pictures. We left just in time cause a herd of teenage tour groups came through. We enjoyed some tea and snacks from the cafe and headed out to our next destination. 

Our second stop of the day was Old Sarum. Old Sarum is a ruined fort that was built in the Iron Ages. Set two miles from Salisbury the mighty fortress passed through multiple hands and rulers over it's lifespan. The mighty Iron Age hill fort was where the first cathedral once stood and the Romans, Normans and Saxons have all left their mark.  The fort now lies in ruins but it was still quite an impressive sight. It was a bit breezy up atop the high fortress but the landscape surrounding it was beautiful. 

We headed out for the Caen Hill Locks and for lunch.  We found a pub in the town of Devize (The Black Horse) and sat down to wait for what felt like an eternity for our jacket potatoes for lunch. Eternity was over an hour and I was ready to eat the ketchup that was on the table. Lunch finally came and I don't know if it actually tasted good or we were just that hungry. Lunch complete we headed out to see the locks. 

 

Caen Hill Locks

The 29 locks have a rise of 237 feet in 2 miles (72 m in 3.2 km) or a 1 in 44 gradient. The locks come in three groups. The lower seven locks, Foxhangers Wharf Lock to Foxhangers Bridge Lock, are spread over 1.2 km. The next sixteen locks form a steep flight in a straight line up the hillside. Because of the steepness of the terrain, the pounds between these locks are very short. As a result, 15 locks have unusually large sideways-extended pounds, to store the water needed to operate them. A final six locks take the canal into Devizes. This flight of locks was engineer John Rennie's solution to climbing the very steep hill, and was the last part of the 87 mile route of the canal to be completed. Whilst the locks were under construction a tramroad provided a link between the canal at Foxhangers to Devizes, the remains of which can be seen in the towpath arches in the road bridges over the canal. A brickyard was dug to the south of the workings to manufacture the bricks for the lock chambers and this remained in commercial use until the middle of the 20th century.

Because a large volume of water is needed for the locks to operate, a back pump was installed at Foxhangers in 1996 capable of returning 32 million litres of water per day to the top of the flight, which is equivalent to one lockful every eleven minutes.

 

In the early 19th century, 1829–43, the flight was lit by gas lights

The locks take 5–6 hours to travel in a boat and lock 41 is the narrowest on the canal.

 

My first trip to England at the age of 2 we went on a long boat trip through the locks of England.  Clare (Paul's sister) and Steve were out for the day as well and met us at the locks. We watched a few boats go through the locks. It's a really cool engineering. It was getting later in the day and we had one more round of rocks to see before heading back to the house. We drove through the town of Avalon that had more standing stones. They were charging an outrageous amount for parking so we just drove by the stones instead. I was still feeling pretty crummy with my head/stomach/to many meds so we headed home so I could take a nap before we headed out to dinner and a rally meeting. 

 

Naps are the best medicine. I felt much better after my nap and we all headed out for dinner. Paul and I treated Connie and Roy to dinner at the Bear. Dinner was delicious. After dinner we headed into a conference room to have a Rally Car meeting. The Rally club is hosting an event the end of May and they were working on some of the final assignments. I tried very hard to pay attention but was dozing off. We headed back home and I passed out quickly. Tomorrow we are heading out to London. I am so sad to be leaving the countryside but looking forward to our London adventures. 


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