29 April 2013

Canalboating, a room with a view - leg 1

I think I've recently experienced one of the best ways to see England at it's finest - green, leafy, calm, loads of wildlife and close to several pubs. What more can you wish for - a part from good weather which we were exceedingly lucky to have?

(Sorry, a this is a fairly photo heavy post so I've split the selection of photos (from the millions I took) over two days to really show off England at it's best - hopefully this is a nice distraction from work!)

 
The English canals system played a vital role in providing a quick and efficient transport system for goods and commodities such as coal around most of the UK since the 16th Century, and helped drive the Industrial Revolution. By the end of the Second World War, the rail and road links had improved by such an extent that the canals fell into disuse and ruin.
 
Thanks to volunteers, the leisure market has started to utilise these waterways, and boy I am glad that they did (history lesson over, I promise). Talk about a room with (ever changing) views.
 
 

This was our home for the long weekend, and did it do us well - they are compact, but we happily fit eight adults (and all of our many accoutrements) in the 10 man boat (though if you had two more, they would be sleeping on fold down bunk beds which would have you a little closer than comfort would call for.


(spotted, culture on the high seas placid waters)


I found out that I was a pretty rubbish steersman, (though with assistance got us out of some shallow tricky weeds)...


but did alright operating the locks & floating bridges. The locks are basically staircases for water - you float into them, close them behind you and lower or raise the level of the water to match where you are travelling onwards to.


We got up close and personal to a variety of wildlife, including a very interested swan,


A plethora of house(boat) cats including a very friendly black & white cat I almost nicked, nesting swans, ducks galore, and a photobombing Czech.


Our picked route took us from Trowbridge in Wiltshire,



 
 ...12 miles to the glorious honey-stoned Georgian town of Bath.


 
 



We hired the boat privately, and so we did all of the navigating, planning, catering and driving of the boat, but I've since discovered that you can book a single berth in a boat (so basically a floating hostel) or hire boats with a bloke who will take care of everything. What a lovely job!


 
 

Further adventure to follow...

4 comments :

  1. This looks great! I went on a long weekend in a canal boat once with friends and was anticipating one of these stunning wooden boats. Instead we were in a funny little plastic thing, but it was still great to spend so much time on the water and see the surrounding sites. Looking forward to the second lot of pics!

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    1. It's good fun isn't it! It's a shame you didn't get a wood one though.

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  2. Oh I so want to do a canal boat holiday! My in-laws have a house which backs on to the canal and I'm always running to the window to watch a boat go by. I think I need to wait until my little ones are a bit bigger though so that I'm not constantly worrying about them falling overboard! It looks like you had a great time.

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    1. Oh beautiful, I would love to have a house that backs into a canal. Yes, I think I would stress too much corralling littles on a canal boat - they'd desperately want to be everywhere looking at everything.

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