This last weekend I went on a narrow boat holiday! The two owners of the boat are doing a long trip and they invited us to join them for a time! There were seven of us on the boat, it was a little tight at times, but we all know each other well so it was fine. For myself and my boyfriend, it wasn’t our first time on the boat. All the memories of what needs doing when came flooding back to us and we were able to help out where we could.
The boat is a 60 foot long narrow boat and is equipped with all sorts of luxuries. It has beds for 6 people, but 7 people can squeeze in with one person on an air bed in the bows of the boat.
Where We Went
We joined the boat on Thursday evening at Tamworth. Throughout Friday we headed round to Rugeley to pick up the rest of our party. On Saturday we headed round to Penkridge, and finally on Sunday we headed down to part of the canal close to Bilbrook so we could catch the train back to our cars at Tamworth! We passed through lots of interesting places!
This is a map showing the route of the canals that we followed, it also marked where we stopped at the end of each day.
Day 1 – Tamworth to Rugeley
Today we were heading between Tamworth and Rugeley. The weather was hot and sunny. Today we travelled on the Trent and Mersey Canal. We travelled 19.7 miles! We had 3 locks and 1 swingbridge. There was plenty of canal traffic and we had to queue for some of the locks! It is lovely travelling along on a canal boat. They are limited to slow speeds – a little faster than my walking pace! We saw plenty of wildlife today – mallards, moorhens, geese and the odd pair of swans mainly. These were main birds throughout the weekend and there were plenty of babies – of all ages! There were plenty of dragonflies and damselflies. The most common was the Banded Demoiselle Male, although unfortunately I didn’t manage to get a picture! Here’s a gallery of photos from day 1 of our trip. (As ever with my blog posts, you can click/tap on a picture to view a larger gallery).
We moored up close to a bridge and waited for the arrival of the rest of our friends!
Day 2 – Rugeley to Penkridge
Today we headed off from Rugeley and headed to Penkridge for our overnight stop. Today we started on the Trent and Mersey Canal and changed onto the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal part way through the day. We travelled 14.7 miles! We had 7 locks, again we had to queue for some of them. This was a shorter day than yesterday, but it was just as hot and sunny – I forgot to top up my suncream and ended up with a rather red nose! We stopped at lunchtime for a walk along to Shugborough Hall. On the way we passed over bridge and enjoyed watching some horses splashing in the ford – I was surprised how shallow it was! Wildlife was much the same as yesterday, with the added bonus of spotting a heron in flight and landing in a nearby field scaring off the ducks! Here’s a gallery of photos for today’s travels:
Day 3 – Penkridge to Bilbrook
Today we headed off from Penkridge down to Bilbrook. We started on the Staffordshire and Worcestershire Canal and ended up on the Shropshire Union Canal. The weather was a lot more variable today! We had 8 locks to go through today, there were less queues for the locks today! We travelled 11.8 miles today – our shortest day because we had to catch the train back to our cars back in Tamworth at a sensible time! We had the delight of seeing a kestrel sitting and resting on a wire today and also another heron. We were very surprised to see a turtle in the canal today – it almost certianly isn’t native and unfortunately I didn’t manage to get a picture so you’ll just have to trust me that I saw it!
Unfortunately it rained part way through today, and we all abandoned the poor steersman to the rain. Eventually it cleared up and he was able to come inside and dry off (before getting wet again on the way to the station!). It was sad to leave the boat today – I’ve had such a lovely weekend! Here’s the final photos from the weekend, unfortunately I took a lot less photos today because I spent most of my time up in the bows away from the engine composing some tunes and playing my recorder as we drifted – it was wonderful.