Author Topic: Canal Boats  (Read 2236 times)

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Offline nacho

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Canal Boats
« on: May 17, 2010, 02:09:18 PM »
One of my little obsessions is Narrowboats and canal holidays

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narrowboat

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_British_canal_system

It's really sort of a fuddy-duddy thing to do, and you don't get too many young folks on the canals.  Or, if you do, they're all on some dreadful, screaming, drunken holiday and you get bottles thrown at you.

Nor do I really enjoy the urban canals where you're jockeying for spots and creeping around narrow, busy waterways.  Coming into a city on a weekend is just asking for trouble as canal boating has skyrocketed in recent years as a viable vacation choice, and most of those folks stick to the crowded areas where they can gleefully hop off and see the sites from the back door.

That said, coming through London is always incredible.  You pass behind the zoo, and you glimpse parts of the city you would never expect to see.  There are points along the London canals where you almost feel like you're in the dead countryside... And other points that can be downright scary.

The true charm of canal boating, for me, is the exploration of the country.  Long, lonely days on a canal that cuts eccentrically across the countryside.  Mooring up along an unimproved towpath, dragging out the portable grill, and looking up at the stars as the silence seeps into you.  A quiet night on the water, then up early.  Along the way are small towns to explore and country pubs.  Stop for the day and hike into some little village that, otherwise, you would never bother with.

All this at an average speed of four miles an hour, and a few miles may take most of the day if you're working locks or just in no particular rush.  (Which is exactly why the holiday folks stay in the crowded areas -- you could spend a week just going 20 miles if you're stopping to smell the roses.)

Canal boats are, pretty much, self-sufficient.  You need to do all the RV stuff -- moor up at water points, and empty out the septic tank, and get gas.  But, otherwise, you've got all the mod-cons on board.  Full kitchen, dishwasher, shower, TV...

The idea is that you're on your own.  You stop off at a supermarket (and many canal-side chains have moorings) and stock up.  Then away you go.  Pull over whenever you want for lunch, decide to stop at noon if the day is getting too hot, or push on till dinner.  There's a timeless freedom on the canals. And, again, along those deep country routes, there's escape.  Find the right sort of spots and you can be alone for days out in the woods or fields with all the comforts of home.


Now... My favorite canal blogs!  Most of these follow the daily adventures of "live-aboards" and a few aren't really aware of the idea that more people than just their grandchildren are reading. 

http://balmaha.blog.co.uk

http://www.grannybuttons.com

(And here's a picture of me on a boat in 2006: http://www.grannybuttons.com/granny_buttons/2006/06/noonie_a_granny_1.html)



http://www.moore2life.blogspot.com/

http://noproblem.org.uk/blog/

http://nbsanity.blogspot.com/

http://seyellas-journey.blogspot.com/index.html




Offline nacho

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Re: Canal Boats
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2010, 12:17:06 PM »
Rape!

http://www.grannybuttons.com/granny_buttons/2010/05/yellow-fever.html

What a terrible name for a flower.  (It's actually based on the Latin for "turnip" -- rapum).

They really are beautiful along the countryside canals.  These fields of brilliant yellow.  The pictures in the link above don't do it justice.  I always found myself nearly mesmerized by the rape fields.

Let's also say "rape fields of England" in general conversation, but without explaining the context.

Offline nacho

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Re: Canal Boats
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2010, 08:36:19 AM »
http://www.narrowdog.com/newsextract.htm

Terry Darlington -- author of two excellent novels about his adventures aboard a British Narrowboat in the US (which is crazy) and in France (which isn't quite so crazy) lost his boat in 2009... The real star of those two books.

But we finally have an update on his site (the link above). It's a touch glum, and he gets a bit surly about his fans for...no reason. But at least there's a new boat and new trips in his future.

Offline nacho

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Re: Canal Boats
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2010, 05:00:14 PM »
http://balmaha.blog.co.uk/2010/06/07/narrowboat-balmaha-church-minshull-to-river-weaver-8752948/


I have not yet been on the Anderton Lift...but it looks awesome.

Offline Nubbins

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Re: Canal Boats
« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2010, 11:57:18 AM »
No idea if this is the same thing, but I was browsing the ebooks humor section and found this:

http://www.ebooks.com/ebooks/book_display.asp?IID=502276

Three Men in a Boat... I think it's about a boat trip down the Thames.
8=o tation

Offline nacho

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Re: Canal Boats
« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2010, 04:22:15 PM »
No idea if this is the same thing, but I was browsing the ebooks humor section and found this:

http://www.ebooks.com/ebooks/book_display.asp?IID=502276

Three Men in a Boat... I think it's about a boat trip down the Thames.

Not a canal boat, no.  But it is a terrific British boating book. Required reading for British waterways lovers!  Well worth picking up.  Dry humor all the way.

Offline nacho

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Re: Canal Boats
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2010, 08:49:24 PM »
http://noproblem.org.uk/blog/2010/06/its-up-napton-locks-to-rural-solitude-near-priors-hardwick/

Napton's a nightmare...but, yes, the rural solitude is to die for.  I think about it all the time...


Offline nacho

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Re: Canal Boats
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2010, 05:54:55 PM »
Sad... Gypsy Rover is no more.

Maybe now the couple will blog from their motor home!

http://nzgypsyrover.blogspot.com/2010/06/boat-soldwere-homeless.html