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booke23

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  1. Twice now, I've done the trip down from Chas Hardern on the SU then up the LLangollen and back. The first time was in the second week of September and the second time was the last week of August. The September trip was busier than the August trip........took a couple of hours to get up Grindley brook in September but got straight up with no wait in August. Finding a mooring was tricky at Ellesmere in September, but easy in August. The Lock keeper at Grindley brook was of the opinion that September is noticeably busier because everyone hits the canal to avoid the 'summer crowds' but they actually make it busier! Also Chas Hardern (who has been hiring out boats for over 40 years), mentioned that over the years he has seen a big decline in families with kids hiring boats......it's mostly couples or adult groups these days which would kind of support the busy September theory. Of course the term 'busy' on the canal is relative. Even my 'busy' September trip was very enjoyable and memorable.
  2. The central heating will in all likelihood keep the boat warm enough. However you will probably need to leave it on all night (albeit with the thermostat turned down a bit) to avoid waking up with frostbite on your nose! Personally I find the high pitch whine and roar of the diesel fired central heating units to be quite intrusive in the dead of night, and certainly loud enough to wake me up. A banked up stove is silent and keeps the boat at a nice temperature. So I would play it safe and hire a boat with both central heating and a stove to keep my options open.
  3. It's arguable that someone shooting 2 holes in the boat would be stretching credulity even more than someone drilling the holes! Besides no handgun is powerful enough to penetrate 6mm steel. It would have to be a rifle.
  4. Meanwhile Steve Haywood has now made it to Tilbury docks on the Thames, and was very displeased to find a cruiser moored in his spot! ?
  5. I believe he still has a few with stoves, and he operates all year round. No widebeams, but a couple of semi trads which might help in poor weather.
  6. Also consider Chas Hardern on the Shropshire Union. Their base is very well placed for all the routes you mention, and he has a couple of 60 foot semi trads https://www.chashardern.co.uk/narrowboat_shadowfax.htm Small family run business with very good service, although I think it's fair to say that while their boats are well equipped with good quality fit out, they are at the more basic end of the hire market with very competitive prices.
  7. This might be an interesting watch for you. Also check out his other videos for general info on canal boating.
  8. I went through there at the end of August. There certainly looked to be enough room to easily wind a 50 footer just before the staircase, obviously subject to it being deep enough. Having said that the non tow path side of the canal is all steel piling and Armco so it's probably ok. Should you not be able to wind there you can nip up the staircase and easily wind in the entrance to the basin at the top of the staircase...........I watched a 70 footer wind there with a bit of difficulty (to be fair due to howling wind not because of his length)
  9. In our case it is because I have been handling boats since I was a kid, while my wife had no boating experience until we started hiring narrowboats. So although my wife has tried steering the boat, she isn't confident or proficient and it stresses her. We only ever hire for 1 week, and she feels it is a poor use of time and effort for to her to spend this limited time learning. Of course when we buy a narrowboat, this will all change and she will learn to steer!
  10. I am a long time hirer, and over the years my wife and I have done various canals. We've never done the K&A (despite it being the closest canal to where we live) and read the OP's comments with interest. We did a week on the Shropshire union/Llangollen canal a few weeks ago, and I happened to encountered two separate boat owners who had cruised the K&A earlier this year. They were both unimpressed with the K&A, with one of them mentioning that in their opinion the Western end had far too many liveaboards and the other mentioning that to their surprise the canal is overgrown and shallow at the edges in places. They both mentioned that these factors make finding a place to moor harder than it should be. jradley I would highly recommend you do another holiday on a narrow canal......your wife will find the narrow locks much easier to work than wide locks. I would also recommend you don't really set a strict schedule.......if you are on a 4 day hire just see how far you get in 2 days then turn around. This makes for a much more relaxed holiday.....especially when you encounter unexpected minor stoppages, which happen more than you might think. (We've been stuck at a lock for 3 hours because a tree branch was stuck under a paddle stopping it closing, and on our last trip an unfortunate hirer sunk their boat in Wharton's Lock on the Shropshire Union....it took 2 days to clear it). Sometimes locks get congested and it might take an hour or so of queuing, so a schedule can just add stress.
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