France entered lockdown on March 17th at 11:00, 56 days later our restrictions started to ease.
Throughout this unprecedented time, Dan and I referred to our lives in France as being on hold. We embraced the opportunity to pause and reflect. Learning some new skills and dedicating time and attention to the neglected elements of our lives.
Sometimes its the things that you live closest to that you never seem to fully appreciate…
A few minutes from Chez Beeston you can find the Hatton Locks. Also known as the “stairway to heaven” due to its difficulty to complete.
21 locks over 3.2km of canal. Rising 45 meters from one end to the other. Its not for the feint hearted of boat travellers! It takes around a day to complete the full flight and with zero automation its hard work on the arms.
Aside from the physical element (which outside of ski season I tend to avoid at all costs!), there is a fab pub close by which does some lovely seasonal dishes. Slight downside is their passion for playing Jack Johnson on repeat but we shall let them off as the wines are great and the views spectacular. Booking is highly recommended though – check them out here: https://hattonarms.com/
If pub grub does not float your boat (pun intended) then there is a lovely little cafe on the flight itself. They are very reasonably priced and have a limited but lovely menu to choose from.
They also sell some basic supplies if you need to stock up! Also replacement lock keys if you happen to drop your in the canal – which I have NEVER done honest!
Failing that – they sell ice cream which is almost always a winner!
Once the foody element is covered you can really appreciate the cultural side of engineering accomplishments.
Whilst the flight was opened in late 1799 on the Warwick and Birmingham Canal it was renamed in 1929 as the Grand Union Canal and they decided to widen the Hatton stretch. The locks were doubled in size in order to accommodate traders with heavy cargos of coal, sugar, tea and spices up the flight. You can still see today whats left of the old locks where they have built along side them. The widening was completed in the mid-1930s but sadly, following the growing popularity of rail and road for goods transfer it ceased industrial use in the 1970s.
Now a tourist attraction its kept some of its heritage as you will find examples of its engineering past along its banks. Little plaques explain and educate so its history is never forgotten.
A lovely place for a quiet (ish) walk and a nice bite to eat