My First Canal Boat Holiday -day 5

A UK Canal Boating Article

Category : Blog


A beautiful dawn chorus wakes us this morning, and the sun is already shining.
We have breakfast, and while Baron walks Maisie, I clean and tidy the boat and pack our bags. I feel a little sad now that our trip is coming to an end, despite all the hard work with the locks and the setbacks along the way.
We only have two locks today, so we don't set off until about 10.30am, by which time it is quite warm. People are walking past and shout out 'good morning', and it is. It's a beautiful day and we don't ache quite so much.

The first lock is right near the mooring, so we quickly (like experts!) navigate this, then the second one – Gregory's Mill Bottom Lock - and we're on our way.
The scenery is beautiful on the way to Lowesmoor Wharf. We can see Worcester Cathedral through the trees; a heron; pretty allotments; a dad with his two small children, who wave and ask if we're pirates. It's lovely and we wish we had a few more days now that we know there are no more locks to contend with.

There is an enormous bridge as we near Lowesmoor, then a bend to the right. After this, we see a sign announcing Worcester Marina, although we can't see the entrance. Until it's too late, and we sail past it! Reversing in a boat is not easy – it's like reversing a car with a caravan or trailer on it – but I try it anyway because there is a winding hole (see – I even know the lingo now!) opposite the entrance, and I think if I can just get the angle right, I may be able to do it. But luck is not on my side, so I get close to the footpath near the entrance and Baron jumps off to go and see if he can find someone to help. In the meantime, I have to try and keep the boat steady, as close as I can to the entrance. Soon, Baron and another man come out and the man shouts to me that it looks like I know what I'm doing (ha! If only he knew!). I get as close as I can, with the man telling me what to do, and then they both get on and the man takes over, steering us into the marina, where we are met by another man.

We collect up our belongings, and Maisie, and make our way to the reception so that we can leave our bags there to collect later, when we have got our car back from Alvechurch.

After handing over the keys, we get directions to the train station and make our way there, and luckily, there is a train in 10 minutes. The nice lady in the ticket office prints the journey out for us as we don't know which train we need. We have to change at the next stop and then again in half an hour, so at least we get to sit down and relax for a bit. Maisie is obviously shattered (poor dog!) and goes to sleep on the feet of the lady opposite us. The lady assures us she doesn't mind and says she thinks it's quite sweet really. A little girl keeps us all entertained on this packed train, which is just as well or we may fall asleep!
Thirty five minutes later, we are on the platform waiting for the final train in our marathon trip, which will take us to Alvechurch, and in 15 minutes it's here and we are on our way.
Alvechurch station is about a five minute walk from the marina, which is just as well, because I don't think I could walk another step if you paid me to, and before we know it, we're there and there's our car.

On the way back to Worcester to collect our belongings, we decide that once we've collected our stuff, we will stop at a pub for something to eat before we get on the motorway. It's strange, but sitting in the car, it's almost like I can still feel the slight swaying of the boat. Four days on a canal, and I feel like I've been on the high seas for months!

Worcester Marina using the sat nav on my 'phone, we make it back to Worcester marina, collect our bags, and make our way out of Worcester for the journey home, stopping at a nice pub for a meal before setting off on the two and a half hour drive home.

We arrive home around 7.30pm and, over a cup of tea, analyse our first canal boat trip. It has to be said, it was something of a baptism of fire, but we have now been bitten by the boating bug, and we both agree that although it was hard work operating the locks and steering the boat, that we would like to do it again because it was something neither of us had done before, so we learnt together, and we got to spend time with each other, something which we don't do as much of as we'd like.
We did enjoy it, even though sometimes it seemed like a challenge when we had to find shops, or a lock was stuck, and everyone we met was friendly and helpful. And the peace and quiet at night was a welcome change from the usual noise of traffic. Life is much slower pace on a narrow boat holiday and makes you feel calmer. It's just what you need to re-charge your batteries!

However, next time we go, (ha ha! After saying we would never do it again!), these are the things we have learnt are important to remember:
Take plenty of food and drink because you may not find a shop for a day or two, depending on where you go.
Find out where you can moor and where the water points are, BEFORE you leave the marina. Even buy a good map with it all marked on, such as the Nicholson waterway guide books.

Find out about shops and pubs BEFORE you go, as there isn't always an idyllic little country pub at every mooring, and some pubs have now closed down.
Watch the relevant DVD's and read the Boaters Handbook again and again, and be sure you know exactly what is involved in operating the locks. Until you do it for real, you won't know what it's really like. Don't underestimate how tired you will be if there are only two of you on the boat, and if possible, take it in turns.
Take a torch.

Take plenty of DVD's and games, especially if you have children with you.
Wear sensible, flat, non-slip shoes at all times on the boat and take a light waterproof jacket.
Make sure children wear life-jackets at all times and watch them like a hawk.
Keep your dog securely tied on because they tend to want to follow when you get off to do the locks, and they could get hurt.
Look out for angry swans!!!



More Canal Boating Articles


Holiday Bases




Worcester And Birmingham






Places to Visit