I’ll be honest when we booked to go on our canal boat holiday with friends back in January, I wasn’t completely sold on it.
I’m not sure what exactly was putting me off, the fact that summer in UK is never guaranteed sunshine and usually 80% chance rain even on really good days, the extremely close living quarters, no beach, bikinis or pretty sun dresses, it seemed to me like something older people would do(I consider myself young, okay), also if by any slight chance it was warm I knew my allergies would try to kill me.
Regardless of my apprehension this was our summer holiday and it wasn’t really about me anyway.
We were holidaying in the UK this year as our friends son isn’t able to travel outwith the country. I’ve mentioned before that he had leukaemia last year, he is doing fantastic but our originally planned trip to Florida has been postponed until he gets the clear for foreign travel.
The guys chose the canal boat holiday for something ‘a bit different‘. I’m guessing it appealed to their outdoorsy types without having to offer us camping in the wilderness. They are both also interested in engineering so this was pretty much a close up look at where it all started.
Our holiday commenced with a 4 hour drive through a storm, fork lightening and torrential rain. Super scary!
Kevin and I were in one car, Martin, Cheryl and Logan in the one in front.
To pass the time, we played games like saying line from a movie and the other person has to name the movie. Does anyone else do that or just us weirdos? Eventually he got bored of my Harry Potter quotes and he gave himself a sore throat from his Arnold Schwarzenegger impersonations. ‘Get to da chopper!’ being my all time favourite, ha!
We arrived at our boat pick up place Autherley Junction(near Wolverhampton) and were greeted with blue skies and sunshine..things were looking up already!
A quick 5 minute, ‘how to…’ and we were off!
We did the Four Counties Ring which is 110miles, has 94 locks and links the English counties of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire and West Midlands(I may have just googled that). I barely had a clue where in the country we were or what time it was for the majority of the week.
On average the boat travels at 3 miles per hour something I thought Kevin might struggle with since his usual hobbies involve taking corners at high speed, however he loved playing captain!
For the most part it was very peaceful and relaxing watching the countryside slowly pass by with a glass of prosecco in hand of course. Bliss.
Going down. A complete opposite of the tranquil cruising was the locks. Since the boys did the driving us girls played our part doing the locks and believe me some of them were hard work. We had a stint of 15 in a row at one point.
I loved doing the locks it was like a little workout when I was missing the gym(did I really just say that?). We’d help other people doing the locks if we were waiting which meant we got chatting to people from all over, some holidaymakers and some who lived on their boat full time.
We spoke for a while to a woman from Sydney her and her husband had retired at the start of the year and they were travelling Europe, they’d been in Paris the week before. I could have listened to her stories for hours but we had to crack on as everyone kept telling us we were crazy trying to do the ring in one week. However, we managed it fine!!
We fed ourselves during the day and when we moored for the evening we’d go out for dinner and some drinks.
I love this photo! We’d stopped for the evening and enjoyed a lovely meal, The Greyhound Inn in Burston if anyone is interested. I called my Mum when I got back to the boat just to check in, she asked where I was, I took a pic to send to her and managed to capture some of the gorgeous sunset and Kevin having a cheeky whiskey!
The canals were originally built for industrial transportation so although we were mostly going through the countryside as you approached bigger towns and cities the old industrial buildings appeared, which I love. That’s the geek in me 😉
We had a 30 minute trip through a tunnel (Harecastle Tunnel) which was a bit creepy, dark, wet and the tunnel roof got really low at some points Martin had to crouch down when he was driving.
Logan is going through a phase of loving Monopoly (the classics are the best) he has worked out if you buy Park Lane and Mayfair you can pretty much wipe everyone out. However if you managed to buy Mayfair before he got to it he’d throw a mini tantrum, pack the game away and declare it Bed Time!! Too funny!
If the locks didn’t look too far ahead on the map we would jog or bike up to them. Got to keep fit for this type of holiday!
It was relaxing and tiring all at the same time, my allergies were through the roof even with medication, we were probably the youngest people on the canal by about 30 years but I was so pleasantly surprised by this holiday.
We were almost completely switched off from real (modern) life, moving slower than I can run, admiring the beautiful countryside, no work, no timekeeping or schedule and with very little wi-fi/4G connection we just…unplugged.
I loved it and most importantly Logan had a ball!!
….and now you all think I’m an old granny. Haha!
Have you ever been on a canal or alternative holidays?
Stay tuned if you want to see Part II it just might include a birthday celebration and a trip to Santorini, Greece with my sister!
Thanks for reading ❤️ have a great weekend!!