THE PIG LIVES ON TO CRUISE AN­OTHER DAY

Canal Boat - - Me & My Boats -

The Fal was made for Bri­tish Wa­ter­ways around 1959, at EC.Jones of Brent­ford as a butty to be towed by a pow­ered mo­tor nar­row­boat such as the Ad­mi­ral Class.

Some 13 boats known as River Class were built and­named af­ter three-let­tered rivers such as

Cam, Fal, and Yeo. They were bluff-bowed with a Dutch de­sign and pushed wa­ter in front front of them, not cut­ting the wa­ter as the older canal nar­row­boats did so well.

The boats were known as ‘Blue Tops’ due to the fi­bre­glass cov­er­ings over the holds but the peo­ple work­ing the boats named them ‘Pigs’’ as they were dif­fi­cult to steer. They were part of the Bri­tish Wa­ter­ways fleet, work­ing be­tween the south and Birm­ing­ham, of­ten car­ry­ing coal in one di­rec­tion and ce­ment in the other.

The Cos­netts found ev­i­dence of both car­goes when they chipped away and ren­o­vated her hull, many, many years ago.

The big freeze of 1962-3 forced the demise of the BW fleet and the sale of many boats, and the

Fal went to a boaty­yard at the top of Tarde­bigge Locks. It was here that the Fal was cut into two as the era of canal boat hol­i­day hire ar­rived.

The front sec­tion was used as the Bar­racuda with a square stern counter and the rear sec­tion was used as the Seeker, which was moored at Kin­ver.

The Fal be­came a fam­ily favourite and en­abled the Cos­netts to en­joy many ad­ven­tures on the wa­ter­ways net­work. When the Cos­netts left the wa­ter­ways, they took with them their pas­sion for travel and switched to four wheels. But the

Fal lives on; it was par­tex­changed for their new mo­tor home and has un­der­gone an £80,000 over­haul at Blue­point Ma­rina.

She is al­most fin­ished and ready to go to her new owners, who have snapped up a piece of canal his­tory.

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