Jump to content
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
Sign in to follow this  
Slytro

Boats from Grebe Canal Cruises.

Featured Posts

I'm hoping for some information on some boats from Grebe Canal Cruises.

 

My names Mark, and I worked at Grebe for 8 years from the age of 16 to 24. Working there under the management of Nicky and Malcom, It felt like you were part of a family, everyone was helpful and passionately enjoyed working there, and it was great to work along side people who lived on the canals. I have nothing but happy memories of working there.

 

After finding Rays post from 2015...

...I did some digging and found a photo of Chiltern Countess under renovation from a trip boat to a live-aboard (I believe)

2017-08-31.jpg.699b6565cfd6b23f6d2f8f8df57f9766.jpg

and the website for bridgewater cruises with Princess of the Chilterns, which is now Francis.

image.aspx?image_type=upload&image_token=1089857644-6408000600-360ae6&use_crop=1&croptop=0&cropleft=0&cropbottom=0.275720164609054&cropright=0.00613496932515337&png=1

I am so happy to see her being loved, looked after and used.

 

Lastly I found pictures of Kingfisher of Tring, which were from around 2015, in a sorry state at Regents Park, far from home and in bad condition.

1880098_orig.jpg.d0d13516a1ed4fc43d8349ccfb59f828.jpg

728427006_RegentsCanal-11.jpg.cb7f78c823cb40f1c5fe7f56479b9abe.jpg

Its so upsetting to see her like this. There was so much history with this boat. I first went on this boat when I was little with my nan and grandad before I lived anywhere near there, and years later ended up working on her. I have great memories of this boat as a child and working on her.

 

Does anyone have any details of what has happened to Kingfisher between then and now. Has she been rescued???

 

Has anyone seen how Countess is doing under whatever name she now has. She's an Electric wide beam boat with bow thrusters. My brother also had worked at Lee Valley for a while so is going to ask them if they were doing it up, but I'd be interested to find out what has happened to her?

 

I understand the day boats may have been scrapped which is a shame, but if anyone has seen or knows what happened to Dabchick and Little Grebe, then that'd be awesome! We used to do trips at the Leighton Buzzard canal festival and Tring canal festival with them, and me and my brother did that a few times, and loved those boats, and it was also my job to clean them before they went out on day trips.

 

Any information would be great!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Kingfisher of Tring" was sold off many years before the company was eventually closed down.

My understanding was that new regulations about how many could be aboard each boat severely restricted how many you could carry on a narrow beam boat, and that it was no longer economic to run it.

 

Towards the end they were running a third day boat that appeared to be converted from a small cabined narrow boat.  It's name escapes me now, though.

 

Having observed the last owner(I think) of this business be extremely rude to both his customers and other canal users, I think it is somewhat of a blessing that it is no longer operating!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

alan_fincher, Thanks for that! That explains why it still has the blue paintwork instead of the blue and red it had been changed to under the new ownership.

 

I had heard that it had gone downhill under the new owners, and had no drive to work there under them. Although I did visit people on the wharf a few times in passing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My first post on here for a long, long time! It is also nice to know that Alan is still actively using the forum.

 

Kingfisher was sold when the then owner decided to downsize following the death of his wife. It went to King's Cross in London and was last seen by me as what appeared to be a live-aboard immediately below the lock.

 

I can't add anything further to the details about Countess & Princess and Mark's picture is the most recent I've seen.

 

I believe Dabchick went to the River Lea as a dayboat. The converted cruiser that became the third day boat carried the name "Lady Jane". I know Little Grebe passed into private hands and I believe stayed around the Marsworth area for a while. I'm not sure what happened to her after that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I forgot to add that one of the later day boats was I believe called Swan. Little Grebe had probably departed from the area before Swan arrived.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our introduction to canals - over thirty five years ago, was on one of Grebe Cruisers  self hire narrowboats from Pitstone.  If memory serves me correctly they had two boats for hire, one called Grebe and the other Moorhen.  Ron Saunders showed us the ropes and after hiring for a couple of years  we were well and truly hooked by the experience.  We bought our first boat, a Springer shortly afterwards.

Somewhere I may even have a photo or two.  I'll see if I can dig them out if anyone's interested.

  • Greenie 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, koukouvagia said:

Our introduction to canals - over thirty five years ago, was on one of Grebe Cruisers  self hire narrowboats from Pitstone.  If memory serves me correctly they had two boats for hire, one called Grebe and the other Moorhen.  Ron Saunders showed us the ropes and after hiring for a couple of years  we were well and truly hooked by the experience.  We bought our first boat, a Springer shortly afterwards.

Somewhere I may even have a photo or two.  I'll see if I can dig them out if anyone's interested.

I believe Grebe & Moorhen were their first two hire boats when they moved to Pitstone Wharf. Rod Saunders was the owner and had been operating trip boats from the towpath locally until the wharf site was ready. I recall that he also had some form of business relationship with Autrant Cruises (?) based at Slapton

  • Greenie 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

koukouvagia, Moorhen was before my time there then... I wasnt aware of that one!

Its fantastic to think you got your first boat after hiring from Grebe!

 

Thanks J R ALSOP!!

https://www.apolloduck.co.uk/boat/harborough-30-cruiser-stern/400195

400195_1.jpg?1526915639

 

So this was Dabchick! The galley looks remodelled... not sure i like it. I may be biassed. I also prefer the name Dabchick.

 

Edit...

Ray.... which boat was sold to Tim & Vera (which id forgotten about) I thought it was Dabchick, which they ran as a single day boat? I checked with Dan to make sure I wasn't completely off with this being Dabchick. Did Malcom sell it to Tim and then Ian buy it back or have I forgotten about a third day boat? I'm sure I'd remember daily cleaning a third day boat for years!!

 

I hope that Little Grebe is doing well! I wonder if she's the one now down Teddington/Kingston way.

 

Edited by Slytro

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mark

 

I have responded to your PM to me.

 

Moorhen & Grebe both had fibre glass cabin tops. I don't know where they were from but I recall that they were followed by two ex-Black Prince hire boats. One of those was renamed at Heron - the bigger of the two if I remember rightly - but I can't remember what the other one became. I believe it was Heron that passed into private hands and then spent some time moored at Pitstone Wharf thereafter before being sold on again.

 

I'm almost 100% certain that Dabchick went to the River Lea. Swan - which I think Malcolm and Nikki bought - went to Vera & Tim.

 

The picture is not of Dabchick. It shows an ex-cruiser that I believe Ian bought and converted to a day boat. I have a nagging suspicion that this was his second conversion, the first being the cruiser that became Lady Jane but equally the picture may show Lady Jane having been renamed.

 

Little Grebe went initially to a mooring on or near the Llangollen canal. She was then bought and returned south by one of the Pitstone moorers who also worked on the trip boats from time to time. I think she left Pitstone before I bowed out but I don't know where she went. I don't know if she retained her original name.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ray, it's been fantastic to hear from you. I have responded back to your message, I think Dan will get in touch with you as well.

 

Swan.... I'd forgotten that there had been 3 day boats when I first started and Id forgotten the name of the boat, but I remember it having Carpet tiled stairs that David showed me how to use a stiff brush to scrub all the mud off. That must have been sold a year or 2 after I started. I remember Tim and Vera having leaflets in the Grebe shop for their trips.

 

Its bizzare both me and Dan were sold on that being Dabchick, due to the table being the one off dabchick and the benches, that were so fiddly to clean, but one blue wooden bench looks the same as another and a springers a springer. There were also a few layout differences that I didnt remember and the back deck looked different to how I'd remembered, but i put that down to 9 years of new memories fuzzing out the details.

 

Little Grebe was my favorite day boat, I'm glad that someone who'd wourked at Grebe ended up buying her.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, koukouvagia said:

Our introduction to canals - over thirty five years ago, was on one of Grebe Cruisers  self hire narrowboats from Pitstone.  If memory serves me correctly they had two boats for hire, one called Grebe and the other Moorhen.  Ron Saunders showed us the ropes and after hiring for a couple of years  we were well and truly hooked by the experience.  We bought our first boat, a Springer shortly afterwards.

Somewhere I may even have a photo or two.  I'll see if I can dig them out if anyone's interested.

I'd defiantely be interested in old photos if you have any. Ive been talking with my brother about doing a documentary on Grebe. Originally I wanted to cover the local historical information that used to be said on the trips. But I'm considering doing more after realising that its easy for information to get forgotten about.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi all, the one that's moored around Kingston doesn't have a name on the side just 'Grebe Canal Cruises' with Pitstone Wharf underneath (that was the side I could see anyway - I was going past in a kayak!) otherwise, exactly like Wild Thyme above) Cheers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/03/2019 at 10:04, Slytro said:

I'd defiantely be interested in old photos if you have any. Ive been talking with my brother about doing a documentary on Grebe. Originally I wanted to cover the local historical information that used to be said on the trips. But I'm considering doing more after realising that its easy for information to get forgotten about.

I'm afraid I can't find old photos of Grebe or Moorhen, but I passed this boat recently.  I'm pretty certain this is one of the ex hireboats.  It still has the round gas locker covers on the back deck.

20190704_082529 (1).jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.