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Narrow Boats

Old May 3rd, 2002, 09:12 AM
  #1  
Susan
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Narrow Boats

We are planning a trip which includes a week stay on a narrow boat, in the canal system around Stratford-on-Avon and Birmingham. Any comments or hints about this experience would be most appreciated. We will be a party of 4 adults.
 
Old May 3rd, 2002, 01:06 PM
  #2  
ron
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Is this self-drive hire boat or hotel boat? I have experience with the latter but not the former.
 
Old May 3rd, 2002, 02:34 PM
  #3  
Artemis
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Assuming it's a self-drive: I'm envious! Narrowboating is one of my favourite things to do.

The #1 rule is to take it easy. Not that you can do otherwise, since the max speed is 4 mph (and only 2 mph when going by moored boats). Some people like to push themselves to see how much they can travel in a day, but to my mind it just isn't worth it.

Working the locks is good fun physical labour, and I really enjoy it. Steering, on the other hand, is a whole other story. It takes quite a while to get used to it.

Make sure you have sturdy shoes for jumping on an off the boat.

The best routine, IMO, is to have lunch on board, and then a well-deserved pub dinner. All the canal maps handily mark the pubs too--very convenient!

Stop to take on water *before* you need it, wherever it's convenient. And never pass up an opportunity to use a loo on land (with 4 adults for a week, you probably won't be able to get away without pumping the tanks at least once).

I'm assuming you're not doing the whole Avon ring, as that takes 2 weeks, so you don't have to worry about the more difficult navigation on the Severn and Avon rivers.

Canal is the best way to see Birmingham -- the canal area is surprisingly picturesque.

When are you going? Because if it's during the high season, you may have problems finding mooring space.
 
Old May 5th, 2002, 06:51 AM
  #4  
Susan
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We are traveling on the narrow boat (self drive) in October and will be there for 1 week, starting point is Stratford-on-Avon. What has worked / not worked well as far as places to stop and visit. We are 4 adults who have never been in the UK prior.
 
Old May 5th, 2002, 07:34 AM
  #5  
dayle
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Hi Susan!

You should do a search for one of Elvira's adventures with the Traveling Loons, "Ham Tacos & the Toilet's Sucking Mud". You will gain some insight, although it's Italy not England, plus you'll see why Elvira is a favorite around here.

Good Luck!
 
Old May 5th, 2002, 10:50 AM
  #6  
Robert Davidson
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It's been years since we canaled, but i'm sure not too changed. We had a 34 footer. Nice small one. Just for 2. Bring weelington boots or be prepared for wet feet for the ones that do the lock opening. No after dark travel, so don't bypass that nice pub just because it's a little early. You may find that you won't find one that night. On the double wide locks, team up with another boat to sahre the lock work. If you get on each others nerves from time to time you can walk along the canal edge as fast as the boat and have some private time. My wife was 5 foot 10 and under a hundred pounds and was quite good at steering and bringing the boat into the locks. Best holiday I ever had. Stay 2 weeks!
 
Old May 6th, 2002, 03:29 PM
  #7  
Artemis
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Since you won't be doing a ring route, it's a good idea to keep a log of your journey, start times, how long the locks took you, etc. so that you can calculate where you need to turn around. Also, on some canals, the "winding places" (places where the canal is wide enough to turn around) are few and far between, so this needs advance planning.

However, there's no need to spend a lot of time researching in advance. When you pick up your boat, you'll be given a map, which will have all the locks, bridges, and pubs marked on it, as well as miles. The only reason to do advance research is if you're planning on doing some land touring en-route.

Here are some websites you might want to check out.

http://www.canaljunction.com/cst.htm

http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/jim.shead/The-Stratford-upon-Avon-Canal.html

http://www.btinternet.com/~motorboat/strat.htm

http://www.catshill.com/trips/stratf.htm

p.s. In October, prepare for it to be *very* chilly, esp. at night. Bring lots of wollies! The up-side, though, is that you won't have crowds to contend with.
 
Old May 6th, 2002, 06:35 PM
  #8  
Susan
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Are there fees for mooring. What do you do if there are no spots open to moor the boat in the evening?
 
Old May 7th, 2002, 02:37 PM
  #9  
Artemis
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No, moorage is free. The British Inland Waterways owns the land for about 6 feet on the towpath side of all the canals. A few places are designated as long-term permit holders only, but those are usually closer to urban areas (e.g., Oxford).

In October, you should have absolutely no problem finding a suitable overnight mooring, except perhaps right in "Brum" (Birmingham), but you wouldn't want to overnight there anyway.
 
Old May 8th, 2002, 11:29 AM
  #10  
Jamie
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Robert, I'd suggest you get your wife straight to the hospital. 5'10 and less than 100 pounds?
 
Old May 20th, 2002, 03:14 PM
  #11  
Susan
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For those of you who have traveled by narrow boat on the Stratford / Brimingham / Wocester canals, what are the best things to stop / see / do? We will be on the canals for 1 week
 
Old May 25th, 2002, 03:30 PM
  #12  
dee
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Susan, Are u sure u like this other couple well enough to spend that much time in such close quarters? If I were u I would be quite wary. Do they have any questionable loo habits or problems?I'm sure they believe they can handle the closeness, in fact, I'm very sure!!!
 
Old May 28th, 2002, 09:12 AM
  #13  
susan
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I am just hoping they don't pick up any of our bad habits! The loo stuff... we will just wait and see if it runs in the family. Since we will be on board, we can always implement the "walk the plank" tradition!
 
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