Wheels to wa­ter

Canal Boat - - Me & My Boats - WORDS & PIC­TURES BY ALIS­TAIR MARTIN

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

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