Canal shots from the UK - a different perspective

Panolyman

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There's no way I'm competing with @pdk42 and his amazing shots on the canals in his excellent thread.
However, as some have shown an interest in the canal system, I thought I'd post some taken onboard.
Friends had a share in a narrowboat and asked me and my wife along.
I'd never been on one before and thought I was in for a relaxing holiday.
What I didn't realise was that my friend, although the captain or skipper had never been helmsman, letting others take responsibility.
It was a daunting task, but thoroughly enjoyable, so here's a little taster of what it's like to manhandle a 58 foot long boat on a narrow canal.

About to set off from home mooorings on the marina on the Trent & Mersey Canal.
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No need to worry if you forget to pack a comb.
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As long as you don't mind the swept back look.
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I'm sure there's plenty of room.
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The skipper scours the map; surely we can't be lost?
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Please don't drop that on us as we pass!
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Typical narrowboat galley. Would someone please light the gas, I'm dying for a cup of tea!
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For goodness sake, this one looks rather narrow!
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"Are we going up or down?"

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Warning: Don't try and get through the lock gates until they're open.
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You'll be happy to know that we survived unscathed, though I did end up falling in when we got back to the marina. :th_salute:
 

Panolyman

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Yes Richard, and I was very wary of it. :eek:
I've come across it a couple of times; the worst one on the Caen Hill staircase on the Kennet & Avon canal when one of the lock gates was dislodged. That shut the whole system down for a few days.
We were also held up once on the Oxford Canal with a narrowboat sinking in one of the locks.
Who said narrowboating was a nice relaxing holiday. :rolleyes:
 

RichardC

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Yes Richard, and I was very wary of it. :eek:
I've come across it a couple of times; the worst one on the Caen Hill staircase on the Kennet & Avon canal when one of the lock gates was dislodged. That shut the whole system down for a few days.
We were also held up once on the Oxford Canal with a narrowboat sinking in one of the locks.
Who said narrowboating was a nice relaxing holiday. :rolleyes:

I spent a week on one with a couple of mates many years ago. One of us didn't close a paddle properly on a lock gate - moored - went to pub - woke up next morning and everything was tilted. I'll see if I can find the pictures :)

It is relaxing though. I recall being intoxicated, not with alcohol, but on fresh air. You certainly sleep well after a day on the canal.
 

Panolyman

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Thanks for your responses folks; I wasn't expecting so much interest.
@Alberta Dave asked what section of the Trent & Mersey Canal we were on.
We'd set off from the home marina at Great Haywood and only got as far as Stoke on Trent before turning back.
It was fairly leisurely, up around 8, breakfast before setting off.
Perhaps coffee on the go before finding a nice place to tie up for lunch.
Drinks on the move mid-afternoon before finding a nice place to moor up overnight.
I think the furthest we travelled one day was about 12 miles!

@MichailK asked for more photos from inside the boat, which I'm sadly lacking, except for a couple.
This was taken in the dining section alongside the galley. The seat the ladies are sat on converted to our bed.
We had to drop the table to make the bed base and then rearrange the cushions.
It was far from comfy, but as @RichardC mentions, after all the fresh air and a fair bit of work, you do sleep well.
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Just alongside (from where the photo was taken) was a small lounge area containing two armchairs, opposite a tiny solid-fuel cooker and there was a small TV on a shelf. However it was such a faff erecting the aerial each evening, we didn't usually bother.
From the lounge there were opening glass doors leading onto the tiny foredeck.
The ladies hadn't fallen out, Margaret was a sun-lover, Linda liked the shade. ;)
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I thought I'd show you a couple of more "restrictions" as it were.
This was one of the scariest, where a new road had been built across the canal.
It was on a tight bend and the canal had been narrowed to take the road bridge.
As you can see, it was guesswork to see if anything was coming the opposite way!
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And here's another new road bridge.

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This is the 90 degree turn to get back into the marina.
When the wind is blowing and it catches the bow, it makes for quite interesting steering. :rolleyes:
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And this entrance was frankly terrifying; though there wasn't much choice!
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This scene looks almost idyllic at the new Aston Marina.
What you can't see is the strength of the wind.
As I approached one of the visitor moorings the wind caught the bow and I hit the wooden pontoon full on, twisting it out of shape.
I reversed and tried again, hitting it full square once more.
Skippers wife Margaret, sat at the front, shouted back "Well done Brian, you've knocked it back into position".
As you can see, I finally docked OK and we bought some lovely home-made pies from the marina shop.
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At the end of another tiring and stressful day, it was nice to relax with scenes like this.
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Thanks again.
 
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Alberta Dave

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Thanks Brian, lovely pictures again!!! I always fancied living on a canal boat when I was younger as we lived fairly close to the Trent and Mersey at Burton on Trent. But then life moves on and I came to Canada in 2003 and have never looked back. It's nice to see pictures of the "old country" as it brings back many memories.
Thanks for sharing.
 
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