Long-dis­tance dream

Canal Boat - - Me & My Boats -

Vis­it­ing Bri­tain, an Aus­tralian cou­ple spot­ted canal boats and fell in love but how could they make their dream come true and own their own nar­row­boat?

Twenty-two years in the mak­ing, ten years in the plan­ning and now we have pur­chased our very own boat – the re­al­i­sa­tion of a long term and cer­tainly a long-dis­tance dream.

Want­ing to pur­chase our own nar­row­boat when we live 11,000 miles from the near­est nar­row canal seemed rather ab­surd to us, and even ‘crazy’ to some of our Aus­tralian friends.

The em­bryo for this un­usual plan was first hatched back in 1993, when my hus­band Steve and I were on our first ever trip to Europe and the UK. It was the ‘trip of a life­time’ and given the dis­tance and cost, we weren’t sure if we would ever be back.

Among the blur of 20 dif­fer­ent coun­tries in just over a month, we took time out for a long walk along the beau­ti­ful River Avon in Bath. It was here that we saw canal boats for the very first time and fell in­stantly and hope­lessly in love.

I was en­vi­ous of the own­ers as they sat on their sterns in the sun­shine sip­ping wine be­fore pre­par­ing their din­ners. There and then we de­cided we had to come back to the UK and hire a canal boat one day but, at that early stage, we never imag­ined that we would ever be own­ers. We re­turned in 1998 for our first hire ex­pe­ri­ence and, over the next 17 years, we hired a num­ber of times, some­times for sev­eral weeks, as we ex­plored more of the canal net­work and fell more and more in love.

This love grew in spite of a few adventures. In our very first days we had dif­fi­culty work­ing out how to ac­tu­ally stop the boat as op­posed to slow­ing down, leap­ing and hop­ing for the best and I had a panic at­tack sail­ing through my very first lock.

Af­ter Steve drove through our first flight of 12 at Bosley, I quickly de­cided that locks re­quire mus­cles, a job much more suited to men, so I needed to learn

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