Friday, September 29, 2017

But You Paid For a Ticket?

Walking the towpath
Although we are over here in the UK on a Narrowboat holiday, a lot of our time is spent walking. Sometimes you must get out and walk to operate the locks, raise lift bridges or check to see there are no boats coming the other way on narrow sections, but often people are just out walking because they enjoy it.

Under a bridge
Almost everywhere there is a canal, there is a “towpath” on one side of it. Originally the towpath was for the horses which pulled the narrowboats before they had engines installed. These towpaths go under the bridges, across the aqueducts and even through the shorter tunnels. No longer used by horses, these paths are well used by not only boaters, but also locals out for a stroll or walking their dogs, and often we will be moored out in the countryside, seemingly in the middle of nowhere and someone walking a dog will wander by the boat window.

Although the canals do run through cities, generally they are out in the countryside and you pass more cows and sheep than cars and trucks. Trees and hedges usually line the canals, so walking beside the canal is a very pleasant experience. As well, a canal has to be flat, so their routes were planned to never go over hills or into valleys. (The tunnels and aqueducts do that) As a result, walking the towpath is a pleasant stroll through the English countryside and there are no hills to climb. Most of us get out and do at least four or five miles and some have done over twenty miles every day, even in the “Welsh mist”. One of the crew, a non-fittbit-er has probably done more, as they walked for the entire  day.
The cows watch us pass

You might ask why are we walking when we paid for a boat hire. In fact while exploring the Great Orme in Llandudno, and three of the crew took the tram up the mountain (Well more of a pretty big hill . . . . ) and decided to get off in the middle and walk the second half, another tram rider questioned them “But why walk? . .  you paid for a ticket.” It is like that on the boat. Often there are more people out walking than on the boat, because walking the canals is a pleasant as gliding along in the boat.

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