Narrowboat wanderers will speak of the Tardebigge Flight and the Caen Hill Flight of locks in hushed terms, as places to sort out the chaps for the lesser chaps. Hatton Locks is perhaps less well known, but its 21 broad locks climbing nearly 150 feet in 2 miles place them firmly in the same category. The old commercial bargees used to call them “The Stairway to Heaven”, but unfortunately we didn’t have either Led Zeppelin or Rolf Harris’ version to play while we worked. Actually, having been descending steadily since Napton, the chief navigator was initially rather thrown to find that the Hatton Flight went all the way back up again.
The weather stayed pleasant warm and sunny, and so teaming up with another boat (thank heavens) we got stuck in, and apart from a brief lunch stop in a handy longer pound, there wasn’t time to take photos; even Sir behaved by staying on board all the way rather than disappearing off into the greenery.
Finally passing through the top lock in the late afternoon sunlight, the welcoming committee showed us to some suitable moorings at the top of the flight.
Later, a pleasant walk back down a few locks brought us to the CaRT Maintenance Yard, a large metal damselfly, and – more importantly – a splendid dinner at The Hatton Arms to round off a rewarding if tiring day.