As the whole family were together for a Sunday, we thought that the 6 of us would hire a small narrow boat / day boat and take to the waterways as the weather had been seasonally warm and quite pleasant.
We had seen the weather the day before we went and had not been too impressed, but after all, how bad could it be ?
We hired a traditional 32ft narrow boat from Norbury Wharf Staffordshire.
After the obligatory Bacon rolls in the canalside cafe we had a quick demonstration of the basic controls and we were on our way for the rest of the day.
The weather was dreadful! We had to take it in turns to pilot the boat as it was raining & sleeting and we were getting cold rather quickly at the helm. We had a 14 mile round trip to make in 7 hours, turning the boat around at the pretty village of Wheaton Aston.
I did a little research and found out that the canal (Built as part of the Liverpool to London canal system) had been in use since the 1830’s and was one of the last major civil engineering feats of the great Thomas Telford.
Amazingly at one point there is a raised embankment at Shelmore where you can look down over the fields & woodland. This little section took over 5 years to build and was constantly slipping and collapsing during construction. It just shows how our historical engineers built things to last!
After a soggy 3 hours of cruising down the canal, past many annoyed fishermen we arrived at our turning around point and moored up for lunch. We would have gone to the nearby pub to warm up but feared that we may run out of time for the return journey so we sat on the boat with our sandwiches, lit the stove for some warmth and got some well needed coffee on the go.
We set off back to Norbury junction at 1pm as we had to have the boat back to the yard by 4.30 pm. Luckily the rain had stopped and had been replaced by some sunshine, however it had now become breezy & bitterly cold. Even though it was cold it was lovely to be outside, out in the countryside with just the sound of the diesel engine chugging along.
I would recommend getting out on the water to anyone that hasn’t done it before. I have been on many canals in the past and love the freedom, love seeing the wildlife & enjoy the scenery and the canal engineering feats of a bygone age. I had a brilliant, but chilly & damp day out on the water 🙂