A Surprise Narrow Boat Experience

The Narrow Boat Experience

I’ve always wanted to take a Narrow Boat on the Canals in the UK. I expected that experience would be a week long trip but we found a boat for day hire. Unlike Highclere Castle, the experience fell well below my expectations. Driving the boat required standing to hold the tiller and peering over the 35 foot roof to spot oncoming boats. Standing for 7 straight hours meant my 61 year old body was screaming for Ibuprofen by the end of the day. In the first 7 minutes we encountered a 70 foot boat coming out of the fog that required us to smash into the weeds to stop. Many times the canal allowed only a few inches on each side of the boat. The narrow boat owners gazed on me, as a rental boat Captain, with disdain. I can relate after the rental boat smashed into WhimSea on the Erie Canal.

Bonus Challenge Points for Fog Underway
They are Narrow boats for a reason
The Swing Bridge proved a bit of a challenge

The canals have manually operated swing bridges that require the boater to get out and walk the bridge around. The first time through we got it wrong and Gaia was left stranded on the side of the canal with no bridge and I had to try to push the bridge open from the boat. Fortunately we recovered from that misstep on the return.

We got it right on the return! Here’s Gaia pushing the bridge closed.
Gaia taking a turn on the tiller
It looks like we’re having fun – this must have been early in the day

Next stop Wales!

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