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Donna

Living on the Forth & Clyde Canals

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My husband and I have a long term dream to live on a narrowboat full time. We live near the Glasgow area at the moment and are beginning to make plans. However I’m finding it a bit difficult to get information about Scottish Canals at all, apart from the Living on Water website which is interesting, but I’d really like to read more about the experiences of ordinary people living on the canals. All the advice I have read comes from people based in England and Wales and it’s hard to know whether a lot of it applies to Scotland as well.

 

Some questions I have include:

Where can I get my narrowboat craned into the water? Are there marinas where I can get my boat maintained?  All I have found online are moorings and info regarding prices. Is there a forum online for Scottish canal dwellers where I can chat online to people who are living there already? Where should I look to buy a narrowboat in Scotland?

There are so many youtube channels dedicated to narrowboat living but I’ve yet to find any in Scotland. Are there any?

 

thank you

  • Greenie 1

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So many questions with so many answers. 

Regarding cranage, it depends on the size/weight of the boat, one option is to be craned to the River Carron at Grangemouth and enter the canal at the Kelpies. 

Why don't you walk along the canal and talk with existing boat owners. 

There may some disillusioned owners who are interested in selling their boat which already on the canal thereby saving a lot of money in transportation. 

Maintenance facilities on the canal are very limited. 

Hope things work out for you. 

Edited by AllanD

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34 minutes ago, AllanD said:

So many questions with so many answers. 

Regarding cranage, it depends on the size/weight of the boat, one option is to be craned to the River Carron at Grangemouth and enter the canal at the Kelpies. 

Why don't you walk along the canal and talk with existing boat owners. 

There may some disillusioned owners who are interested in selling their boat which already on the canal thereby saving a lot of money in transportation. 

Maintenance facilities on the canal are very limited. 

Hope things work out for you. 

I dont live very close to the canals at the moment - this is why I was wondering if there is an online community? I would prefer to buy a boat already on the canal but I’m struggling to find this online 

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I don't know of any forums like this one for the Scottish Canals but there is an association  the Lowland Canals Association which most boaters up here will belong to. It is not however a chat forum but more an association aimed at improving the lot of boaters on the Lowland Canals. We have gone through a few turbulent years with Scottish Canals although the signs are that things might be improving.

I appreciate that you don't live close to the canals but in all honesty you are going to get far more information from visiting the canals and chatting to boat owners. I suggest that Bowling or Auchenstarry would be where you would meet most boaters. You might also find out about boats for sale from chatting to boaters.

You say you and your husband have a long term dream of living on the canals but have you actually been on a canal boat and found out first hand what it is actually like? For example, you need to consider that you will probably have to generate all the power you may wish to use and boats are not connected to mains water and drainage systems so you need to fill with water and empty toilets. I don't know if you wish to live on your boat or cruise and in either case you will need a mooring of the proper type and it is really only Scottish Canals who provide these. Unlike down south, up here you must have a mooring even if you intend to cruise most of the time, although the total cruising range is fairly  limited.  The Scottish Canals web site does give some more information about licences and moorings.

Sorry if this sounds a bit negative but while living on a canal boat has many advantages, it also has drawbacks!

There is actually a boating gathering planned for the last weekend in May and if you were able to come along to some of that you would have a captive audience to asnwer all your questions. I think from memory it is Friday night at the Falkirk Wheel and Saturday night at Auchenstarry. 

 

Haggis

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2 hours ago, AllanD said:

Regarding cranage, it depends on the size/weight of the boat, one option is to be craned to the River Carron at Grangemouth and enter the canal at the Kelpies. 

Craneage facilities also available at the River Clyde boatyard, Rothesay Dock, Clydebank, which is just 5 miles upriver from the entrance to the canal at Bowling.

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By a happy coincidence Towpath Talk have published an article this month that you may find helpful – see page 96: http://edition.pagesuite-professional.co.uk/html5/reader/production/default.aspx?pubname=&pubid=d192940e-f732-42bc-a9d9-6fbce501da9a. Hard copies are available free from the Scottish Canals office in Applecross Street, Glasgow just north of Speirs Wharf and from most of the Lowland Canal mooring sites.

 

As suggested, come and visit some of us residential moorers. We're always happy to chat. Bowling is a good starting point. Feel free to PM me – I've been living on the Lowland Canals for 10 years now. There have been some ups and downs over the past 18 months but the new CEO is now steering a steady course in the right direction.

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My only observation is, why would you restrict yourself to a lousy design and confines of a narrowboat on a proper sized waterway? Just sayin like.

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1 minute ago, mrsmelly said:

My only observation is, why would you restrict yourself to a lousy design and confines of a narrowboat on a proper sized waterway? Just sayin like.

I'd second that thought ............ and I live on a narrowboat!

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Just now, Up-Side-Down said:

I'd second that thought ............ and I live on a narrowboat!

Me too because the bloomin accountants years ago left us with stupid sized lock widths :(

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Well, I wonder why restrict yourself to a country with too much rain and too many man eating midges

move to Largs, I can sell you a flat!

jo, from Largs [a midge free town]

Seriously, I would find it too restrictive for boating.

I think you can hire a narrowboat near Falkirk, and they sometimes sell ex hire boats.

Edited by LadyG
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2 minutes ago, mrsmelly said:

Me too because the bloomin accountants years ago left us with stupid sized lock widths :(

Its only the Yorkies left us with stoopid size lengths though....?

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1 minute ago, LadyG said:

Well, I wonder why restrict yourself to a country with too much rain and too many man eating midges

move to Largs!

jo, from Largs

There's the bumpy up and down stuff there .............

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5 minutes ago, Up-Side-Down said:

There's the bumpy up and down stuff there .............

and proper Ice cream and fish suppers.

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10 hours ago, LadyG said:

and proper Ice cream and fish suppers.

Only the Scots would put ice cream on a fish supper!

 

:giggles:

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8 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

Or deep fry and batter Mars Bars

 

Image result for battered mars bar

 

That actually looks even worse than I had imagined. ?

 

I went to Scotland a few years ago to do the West Highland Way. I've never seen so much water in my life. It was coming from the sky, the earth, the sides of hills. It was everywhere! It really had an elemental feel to it. Amazing.

 

Then there were the midges. They weren't amazing. I'd like to do it again but I'll never go in midge season again.

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3 hours ago, eid said:

Then there were the midges. They weren't amazing. I'd like to do it again but I'll never go in midge season again.

Do midges serve any purpose in this world?

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31 minutes ago, WotEver said:

Do midges serve any purpose in this world?

I wouldn't like to comment as I'd be "casting stones" ?

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Midges promote the principal of survival of the fittest and this means that Scotland does not become too crowded. 

 

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The best defence against midges is a good Malt Whisky.  Scotland produces the finest spirits, and if these are too strong for your taste just dilute with a little of this

bottle front.jpg

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Is there not a facebook group or something like that for the lowland canals, I'm not into social media but I know that they have something for the Caley, I'm not sure what because I'm not on it I just stand on the side of the canal and ask everybody else what it says is going on.

 

I tend to find that the out and about approach works best for me. 

 

6 hours ago, eid said:

Then there were the midges. They weren't amazing. I'd like to do it again but I'll never go in midge season again.

I'm not that tasty so I don't get bit much but If you want to avoid a broad spectrum of little biting beasties then I highly recommend SMIDGE, I know I sound like a broken record with this stuff but it really is the best that I've found (I'm really not sponsored by them) and as we're coming into tick season it's also really good for keeping ticks away and is therefore a frontline defence against Lyme disease. I also use it on my dogs, my dogs come home completely tick free but my friend's dog comes back from the same walk covered in ticks. 

 

https://www.smidgeup.comiu.jpeg

Edited by Tumshie
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8 hours ago, eid said:

 

 

I'd like to do it again but I'll never go in midge season again.

Then it's the frostbite season: mud up to your thighs.

 

Edited by LadyG

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2 hours ago, Tumshie said:

I'm not that tasty so I don't get bit much but If you want to avoid a broad spectrum of little biting beasties then I highly recommend SMIDGE, I know I sound like a broken record with this stuff but it really is the best that I've found (I'm really not sponsored by them) and as we're coming into tick season it's also really good for keeping ticks away and is therefore a frontline defence against Lyme disease. I also use it on my dogs, my dogs come home completely tick free but my friend's dog comes back from the same walk covered in ticks.

 

I seem to be very tasty to all kinds of bugs sadly. I'm not sure what causes this.

 

I remember Smidge from my research at the time. It was a choice between that and Skin-So-Soft, which we took. It seemed to stop them biting... somewhat.

 

I decided at the time that any place where it is a choice between spending your evening in a one-man tent, or wearing a head-net and gloves, is not where I want to be on holiday. We couldn't even stop to make tea half the time! Anyway, I found it overly busy so going out of season suits me fine.

 

7 minutes ago, LadyG said:

lol, that restricts your options to the frostbite season.

 Rather that than midge bites any day!

 

 

p.s. What a beautiful place it is, especially the part north of Knilochleven. Absolutely stunning.

 

 

Edited by eid

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