Saturday, August 1, 2015

Long Boats, Then and Now

NOW: The long boats, or narrowboats, are a way of life for many that live along the Avon River. Considered 'slow travel', many spend their life living in the narrowboats others rent them to enjoy a unique vacation experience on the English waterways. Either way, the locks are a part of the deal necessary to maneuver passageway along the river.
We had a helpful young lad that was eager to learn the tricks of the locks and strong enough to lend a helping hand to many that were willing to let Cedar work the locks, giving them a short break.
These narrowboats are moored in Stratford-Upon-Avon, and this lock is also in the town.

Cedar worked the locks near Bradford-on-Avon where there appeared to be quite a backlog of narrowboats waiting to go through the locks. Slow travel is about 3 - 4 miles per hour. It's a leisurely cruise and offers a beautiful view of the English countryside from a different perspective.

Located near the town of Devizes is this 'staircase' of 29 locks encompassing a two mile stretch of the canal. This is the longest range of locks in England and lifts the canal a total of 231ft. We happened upon these locks later in the day when a canal boat had just moored at the base of the locks for the night. Their plan was to tackle the locks early in the morning, first thing. They estimated it would take them two hours to get through the staircase!

THEN: When we last visited England in 2000, we leased Narrowboats, 2 of them, and a group of extended family, 10 of us, spent three days and nights on the River Avon navigating the river and operating the locks. 

The narrowboats provided sleeping accommodations, a shower, and a small kitchenette. Pubs along the river offer moorings for meals and overnights. Although we slept on the boats, we ate at the pubs sampling our first of many mushy peas.
David steered our long boat (ask him about his lesson before getting the keys!).
Zachery who was five at the time loved it.
Angelica who was 11 months and Cedar, not yet born, have heard us talk about the long boats and the canals and of course the locks, so often, they were eager to see what this was about. We found a tearoom or two in 2000 as well.


relevanttealeaf said...

How very interesting! A side of England I was not familiar with.

Lemon Verbena Lady said...

Stayed in Shardlow near Derby, where some of the longboats are manufactured. You have all the fun staying in them. If I didn't have a Peruvian driver involved. I might do something like this! Thanks for sharing!

Bernideen said...

What great photos and a wonderful journey. I also enjoyed the past review!

Angela McRae said...

Never heard of "the locks" there, but I would so have enjoyed seeing them. That staircase photo is amazing! And I just love that you have the earlier photos for comparison. Hard to believe the kiddos (who are clearly such an important part of your life) were 11 months and still in the planning stage last time!

Marilyn Miller said...

I have always thought that would be a fun family adventure. How I would love doing it somewhere in Europe.