We have been canal boating before on the Grand Union Canal over a decade ago. We would usually pass through a few locks each day but nothing approaching the flight of 21 locks here at Hatton.
Looking up the flight of locks.
The principle is simple. If you are going down hill, you fill a lock with water and sail (motor) your canal boat into the lock. You close the upper gate and let the water out of the lock. Your boat descends as the water level goes down. When the level of water in the lock is the same as the level of water in the lower part of the canal you open the gate and motor out into the canal.
This flight of locks is different in that you keep moving from lock to lock. Since each lock can take ten to fifteen minutes to pass through, 21 locks would take a long time.
Here the upper gates are being closed prior to emptying the lock. The big gates are not easy to move but you just put your backside up against the end and push with your legs.
It is much easier to be the driver in the boat.
The boats are now descending.
Statue of pond skater that can walk on water.
We can highly recommend canal boating. It is probably the most relaxing way to see England and it's relatively inexpensive. And of course, you go from nice old pub to nice old pub to nice old pub along the way.