CLAIRE CREEK CAUGHT the boating bug at the age of about 11, when she visited her aunt and uncle who were on a hire boat holiday. It was just a day-trip, but that was all it took. After that came youth club narrowboat holidays, and then she hired boats with her two sons, and her sister and her family. “It was on one of those holidays that I decided I was going to get a boat,” she says. “The trouble was,” she adds, “that I’d never actually done any steering – that was my brother-in-law’s job!”
She’s done plenty of steering now, though, because he first big trip on her new boat was to move it from where it was built, at Redhill on the River Soar, right down to the River Avon. She became a true boater on the way, too, by falling in.
Claire works as a receptionist at a country estate. But her plan (somewhat dependent on the future decisions of her two sons) is to move on board – and then, eventually, to travel the entire system.