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Night Boat to Chard

Enough time had passed since the Slightly Cross Tunnel trips with memories of roof collapses, unstable walls and wader-sucking gloop. The second tunnel section of the long-forgotten Taunton Chard canal had to be investigated.

Styru and I supped a pint in the Canal Inn before heading across fields in search of the cunningly concealed tunnel portal. Once located, boats were inflated and dragged through the stoopy initial part of the tunnel to the start of the flooded section. A homemade raft was moored at the entrance to a passing chamber.

Casting off, we found that the tunnel was extremely pleasant, with deep water throughout. The northern end was reached after a 15 minute row, after which it was time to return and finish the job of trying to photograph the tunnel. It’s quite committing to row away from one’s D700, left on a tripod barely emerging above the water surface as rowing motions set up waves that threatened to swamp the camera.

It’s only a short tunnel, 400m in length, though the curvature and height of the passage makes it feel quite impressive, certainly worth a brief diversion from the nearby motorway. Almost certainly Somerset’s best underground boat trip.