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English Narrow-boating: anyone tried this?
Old 04-28-2006, 02:06 PM   #1
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English Narrow-boating: anyone tried this?

One of our friends is a UK expat living in NJ. He mentioned to us that he used to do what is known as "narrowboating" in the midlands. There are apparently 2000 miles of navigable canals in the UK, some of which are architectural/engineering marves, and most of them go through what appears to be lovely countryside. He said that it was a lot of fun to rent a boat (including galley, head, shower, etc.) and travel the canals on vacation. There's even a CAMRA guide to the pubs along the main canal routes.

Anyone tried this? I was thinking it might make a really nice vacation for DW, the two kiddos and I next year. Heres a link to a company that rents the boats: http://www.countrywide-cruisers.com/2page.html
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Re: English Narrow-boating: anyone tried this?
Old 04-28-2006, 02:36 PM   #2
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Re: English Narrow-boating: anyone tried this?

Quite familiar with this. Rented canal boats twice, once in 1971 and again in 1979 for a week at a time. Loved it. In fact one of my retirement requirements is to spend at least a month and maybe a whole year on a canal boat. You can start anywhere you like from London out. I started in Oxford. There are canals in Wales and all accross England and even some in Scottland. Almost all of these have small diesel engines, you are self sufficient for housing and cooking but its mandatory that you stop at each pub and sample the local beer
Lots of info on the web. I have the Anglo Welsh (paper) catalog on my desk as I type this. Google for info about UK canal/longboats and have fun


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Re: English Narrow-boating: anyone tried this?
Old 04-28-2006, 03:06 PM   #3
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Re: English Narrow-boating: anyone tried this?

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Originally Posted by yakers
Quite familiar with this. Rented canal boats twice, once in 1971 and again in 1979 for a week at a time. Loved it. In fact one of my retirement requirements is to spend at least a month and maybe a whole year on a canal boat. You can start anywhere you like from London out. I started in Oxford. There are canals in Wales and all accross England and even some in Scottland. Almost all of these have small diesel engines, you are self sufficient for housing and cooking but its mandatory that you stop at each pub and sample the local beer
Lots of info on the web.* I have the Anglo Welsh (paper) catalog on my desk as I type this. Google for info about UK canal/longboats and have fun
Cool! My English friend mentioned this last weekend as we were drinking homebrewed IPA on my deck. He actually sent me a bunch of links and said he could pretty easily be convinced to go back to the canals, even though it has been many years.
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Re: English Narrow-boating: anyone tried this?
Old 04-28-2006, 03:12 PM   #4
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Re: English Narrow-boating: anyone tried this?

I think I heard you can do something like this in France and maybe other European countries.... not sure though..

I saw a number of people who lived on these boats... in fact some were on sale for less than 90,000 pounds... with a rental rate of almost 1,000 per week, it will pay for itself quickly...
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Re: English Narrow-boating: anyone tried this?
Old 04-28-2006, 03:43 PM   #5
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Re: English Narrow-boating: anyone tried this?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
There's even a CAMRA guide to the pubs along the main canal routes.
Quote:
Originally Posted by brewer12345
Cool! My English friend mentioned this last weekend as we were drinking homebrewed IPA on my deck.
I can't believe it 2 posts in the same thread referring to one of my favorite topics:* ale. * That's one of the reasons I check this site multiple times a day.* There is lots of good info here and many of you have interests similar to my own.
I'm heading to the UK this summer for a week to visit by son in York and am using the CAMRA website as a guide.* York has lots of real ale pubs.* I can't wait.** Don't think we'll be doing any narrow boating though.
I've made pale ales, but haven't tried brewing an IPA yet.* My setup (cheap and mostly plastic) doesn't lend itself to secondary hopping.* I do love a nice IPA.* The local brewpub makes a really good one.* Cheers.
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Re: English Narrow-boating: anyone tried this?
Old 04-28-2006, 03:43 PM   #6
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Re: English Narrow-boating: anyone tried this?

Brewer, I have a number of friends in the UK who have done this. The only bad things I've heard are (i) not so much fun if it's raining, and (ii) in peak season, you can end up with long waits at locks.

The canal network has a fascinating history, and passes through big cities as well as the countryside. It's said that Birmingham has more canals than Venice -- certainly the parts I explored on foot a couple of years back were very interesting. (I walked on the towpaths, not on water.)

My only other comment would be that the food, and probably the weather, would be better in France than in the UK!

Peter
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Re: English Narrow-boating: anyone tried this?
Old 04-28-2006, 04:11 PM   #7
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Re: English Narrow-boating: anyone tried this?

This option is available all over Europe, Friends of ours just did this, they did not enjoy the UK experiance, felt the Continent was much more interesting and cleaner.

I played around these canals while growing up.

Bargeing is an alternative.

http://www.bargen.laya.com/
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Re: English Narrow-boating: anyone tried this?
Old 04-28-2006, 04:12 PM   #8
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Re: English Narrow-boating: anyone tried this?

http://www.bargenilaya.com/

Hope this link works.?
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Re: English Narrow-boating: anyone tried this?
Old 04-28-2006, 04:29 PM   #9
 
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Re: English Narrow-boating: anyone tried this?

I'm guessing that you can't do your own piloting -- that is, you need to hire a captain, yes?
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Re: English Narrow-boating: anyone tried this?
Old 04-28-2006, 04:57 PM   #10
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Re: English Narrow-boating: anyone tried this?

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Originally Posted by TromboneAl
I'm guessing that you can't do your own piloting -- that is, you need to hire a captain, yes?
Nope, just like car rental, you are your own captain. They give you a brief lesson which, as I remember, is all you need. Almost all the boating problems I saw were related to too much liquid fuel in the driver rather than in the boat.

Generally the further you get out of London and bigger cities the cleaner the water is. (surprise?) When I lived in the UK I had an inflatable boat with a 2 hp motor and I could make pretty good time by carrying the boat (portaging for you Canadians) around the locks. The locals regarded this a little disdainfully as some Yankee practice but were to refined to make a public comment. Always first to the pub!

I look forward to kayaking a bit on the next trip, whenever it is but based on the quality of the water & limited depth there will be no (intentional) rolling.

yakers...who can introduce the subject of kayaking without hijacking a thread...
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Re: English Narrow-boating: anyone tried this?
Old 04-28-2006, 05:11 PM   #11
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Re: English Narrow-boating: anyone tried this?

i've looked into this for future trips. here are some sites i've collected for future reference:

www.canaljunction.com

www.claymoore.co.uk

http://tinyurl.com/n49vf

www.eurocanals.com

www.canals.com

http://tinyurl.com/buo6o <---has very nice map


from what i've read, not only are most of these charters bareboat (non-crewed), but in some cases you even open and close the locks yourself. how cool would that be?
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