Wheels to water
After many years of exploring the canals by caravan, Alistair and his wife decided to take the plunge and hire a narrowboat. But how would they get on...?
My wife and I are lifelong caravanners (almost 40 years) but at least one trip each year, we try to find a site close to the canals, and although my wife has an absolute dread of water and boats, walking and cycling the towpaths causes no concern and we find the paths an ideal way to see the country.
We have also been avid readers of CanalBoat for over five years, so had a good idea of what a narrowboat looked like inside, and all of the issues under discussion, such as dredging, foliage clearance, overstayers, etc.
I have always wanted to try a canal cruise but always considered it would never happen. You can imagine my surprise, therefore, when last year while walking through Skipton, my wife announced: “Why don’t we try a trip on a boat sometime to see what it’s like?” You could have knocked me down with a feather.
So where to take our trip? It could only be from one place – Llangollen. We have pitched our caravan at Chirk on many occasions and know the area well. And we decided we would go to coincide with my wife’s 60th birthday at the end of June.
So, on 27 June, we collected our hire boat from Black Prince at Chirk marina and set off on our adventure, complete with our cat and dog. They go everywhere with us in the caravan, so why not a boat?
Our intention was that we’d go up to Llangollen, turn around, go down to Hurleston and then back up to Chirk. In the end it didn’t quite work out that way.
After several bumps getting the boat lined up for bridge holes, and fighting the current on the narrower places, we made