Monday, 23 August 2010

A bit about Canal narrow boats

"A great read and I now know what a narrow boat is" commented an American reader this last week. It's amazing that people should consider narrow boats to be 'Gypsy' type boats with a primitive interior. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In the book 'A Time for Living' rwo authentic narrow boats are written into the story line. The first one is the Queen Elizabeth the  6th from The Black Prince marina on the Llangollen canal. As rhe name implies the QE 6 was a six berth boat with two double beds and two single. As with all Black Prince boats it had hot and cold running water ( A hot shower whenever you wanted)  Flush macerator toilets (Two) Central heating throughout the boat and a fully fitted kitchen, I could go on about the comfortable seating, dining area etc but the best thing for you to do is take at look at one on The Black Prince boats  site 

  I asked for a picture of the QE 6 but Hilary of Black Prince informed me that the boat has been retired. In fact none of their fleet is older that 5 years. At the end of every season they sell off the older boats. This year they have 28 for sale, most of them already reserved and next season will start with another 30 new boats. I soppose a floating holiday flat, chalet, villa, call it what you will, fully furnished and available for a days outing, a week end or a few weeks holiday per year for less than £50,000 is a good buy. Some people obviously think so.
My second reference in the book is to a couple who have taken the canals of England to heart and live on the boat permanently. 'Continuous Cruisers' is the name given to such people who never stop more that two weeks at a free mooring. Fiona and John of the narrowboat Epiphany, last heard of on the river Don, do just that. Check them out on their site and read about their travels and life.  A couple of pictures  from them. one of Fiona and John the other the  57 foot narrowboat 'Epiphany
Tell them you heard about them from me.

Driving a canal boat along at a maximum speed of four miles an hour is a completely stress free and relaxing  pastime. The only family arguments you are likely to get is everyone wanting to be the skipper and drive the boat, which is comparitively easy if you can drive a car. Just take about ten minutes to do what you would normally take one minute to do.

 Black Prince could not supply me with a picture of the QE 6 but they did send me an interesting one of a Black Prince boat driving over the Pontcylite aquaduct on the Llangollen canal. This aquduct is over 1,000 feet long, 5.25 foot deep and is 126 feet above the river..  For the faint hearted there is a footbridge beside the aquaduct. Next week I'll discuss another 'wonder' of the canals.  The Blisworth tunnel.  Keep sending your comments, I don't print them all but I do enjoy reading them and I always reply,


  1. I've experienced a lot of things in my short but eventful life but I've never been on a canal boat.
    You make it look very interesting Colt, good post.

  2. Loved the book, it bought back memories of my time on the canals many years ago, now I want to do it all again.Seeing the boat on the Llangollen Aquaduct ( I have a picture very simular in the archives - somewhere) brings back memories, I couldn't get over the fact that you were on a canal but metres ABOVE the ground!?!Am so looking forward to your next book Colt!