Wednesday, September 9, 2015


Dawn on the Canal
We are off on our latest travel adventure. This time we are going to England to rent a Narrowboat for a two week trip through the canals of the Midlands of England. I am writing this prior to going, and will post it just before we leave. It is not our first trip on a Narrowboat, but I think a lot of you are not familiar with this form of travel.

The Narrowboat is a unique type of craft, designed for the vast canal network crisscrossing most of England. Once a major system used to transport goods around the country, the canals were often abandoned once trains and trucks became a more convenient means of transportation, but some of the old Narrowboats used on the canals were converted to houseboats and used for recreation, and with the encouragement from a popular book, Narrow Boat by L.T.C Rolt written in 1939, the canals and the hundreds of locks along the way were restored and are now well maintained as a popular recreation facility for many people.
Narrowboat Layout

The actual Narrowboats, are a pretty standard design, once wooden hulled but now steel, they are 7 feet wide (Well, actually 7 feet narrow), and up to 70 feet long. Where they once had a tiny cabin at the rear for the captain and crew, and a large open hold for coal, local pottery, or other goods being transported, the modern Narrowboat is a well equipped floating British RV. They contain a full galley with fridge, stove, coffee maker, and even a microwave, bedrooms with comfortable beds, bathrooms with full showers and hot water. As well they have full electrics, heat, and now even WiFi.

Unlike a riverboat vacation where you are transported through Europe in luxury with a captain, program director, and a full crew to look after your every need, on a narrowboat, you are given instructions on operation and sent on your way. You pilot the boat, you cook you meals, and you clean the boat.
Working the Locks - Everyone lends a Hand

Now it is a casual style of travel. We have a trip of 180 km and we have 14 days to do it, so the speedy 4 km speed limit is not a problem, but we do have almost 100 locks to go through and we have to do everything on our own (perhaps more on that later . .). Hopefully the WiFi on the boat will allow me to write my blog as we progress, so look for information on some of the interesting places we visit and how things work along the way.

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