Devizes and Down

We rather liked Devizes when we passed through on a number of occasions in Sir’s previous motorhome transportation, and mooring up right at the wharf for a few days did nothing to dispel that. A pleasant evening at the folk club, followed by the estimable Bob Berry keeping true to his word by arriving at 09:00 the next morning demanding coffee with menaces, but crucially bearing gifts of fresh croissants…

Devizes Wharf

… consumed while we studied perhaps the most exotic boat paint scheme we’d ever seen, on the quaintly named Arbuthnot Jones, moored across the canal. There was a “for sale” sign in the window: not sure how the paint scheme would affect the price!

Devizes Wharf - Arbuthnot Jones

The Wiltshire Museum provided an interesting diversion, and what looked like storm clouds brewing late in the afternoon made us wonder on whether tackling “the big one” the next day was going to work.

Devizes Wharf - Storm Brewing?

But it came to nothing, the morning dawned fair, and there was no getting away from it. We were going to have to tackle the Caen Hill locks. If climbing up from Reading is slow and prolonged, the descent from Devizes is the canal equivalent of falling off a cliff. Starting off on our own (and light crewed, obviously), we were soon caught up by another boat who shared a lot of the work, and we were down in about four and a half hours. Not too bad in the circumstances. Going up on our own could be a challenge – next week’s problem.

Caen Hill Locks - nearly at the bottom!

Finally, mooring up outside the 3 Magpies at Scotts Wharf – a favourite pub/eating house from previous visits – the 3.75 miles (is that all?), 29 broad locks (gulp!) and lack of lunch decreed an early dinner cooked by someone else and an early night. We appear to have had a cat-burglar during the night: CSI pawprint division have been summoned.

Cat Burglar?

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