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Suggestions please for first time boater


Dizalot
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Hello All,

I will be hiring a boat from Gayton Marina in a few weeks and it is my first time on a narrow boat and first time in England. My plan is to head to Braunston and then north on the oxford towards Rugby and see how far I can get. My question is this; What should I make sure I see on the way?  Any recommendations for must see or do activities?  Thanks in advance. I appreciate all your help. 

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Hello Dizalot and welcome to the forum. 

 

Can I just quickly ask, when you say "I will be hiring a boat" do you mean that you plan to hire the boat by your self or are you one of a party? I only ask because most, if not all hire companies will only hire to a minimum of two people. I don't want to sound nosy and I personally don't need an answer but this small fact could put a nasty dent in your plans if you didn't realise it. 

 

 

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32 minutes ago, Dizalot said:

What should I make sure I see on the way?

Hi & welcome.

It may help us give you some ideas if you could note some of the thigs that you (and the others) are interested in - it is not much use suggesting 'Norman Churches' if you just want to sample as many UK beers as possible, or Castles when you want to look at WW2 'secret Bunkers'.

 

Hope you get the idea.

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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41 minutes ago, Dizalot said:

Hello All,

I will be hiring a boat from Gayton Marina in a few weeks and it is my first time on a narrow boat and first time in England. My plan is to head to Braunston and then north on the oxford towards Rugby and see how far I can get. My question is this; What should I make sure I see on the way?  Any recommendations for must see or do activities?  Thanks in advance. I appreciate all your help. 

How about getting hold of a copy of the 'Waterway Bible' which amongst other things lists attractions, churches, details of towns and loads of other material (including all the pubs along the way) which could well inform you as to your final itinerary. Nicholson Waterways Guides Book 1 covers pretty much all you need if setting off from Gayton (except the River Nene which starts at Northampton) – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Grand-Union-Oxford-South-East/dp/0008146527/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3W3A1XAA1Z3Q7&keywords=nicholsons+waterways+guides&qid=1554840406&s=gateway&sprefix=nicholson%2Caps%2C240&sr=8-1

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thank you all. We are hiring for 7 nights.  I will get the book suggested. We plan to cruise about 6 hours a day, but are also planning to take it as it comes and stopping to check out whatever looks good.  We are interested in History, I know that is a broad subject in a country like England.

 

I am doing the trip because I am considering buying a boat and living on it half the year. So I want to experience narrow boat life. I lived on a sail boat in the pacific for many years, and know this is different. However, the freedom I see in the videos I watch is the same.   

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Dizalot,

Enjoy it - that's a lovely part of the world.  Canalplan is also your friend when it comes to thinking about how where you can go - 6 hours a day is a reasonable balance on a short trip - cruise more than a few miles, but not spending all day at it.

 

Given what you're investing in a week's holiday, as well as buying the right Nicholson's, could be worth buying the right Pearson's guide too.  They compliment each other.

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6 hours ago, Dizalot said:

 

I am doing the trip because I am considering buying a boat and living on it half the year. So I want to experience narrow boat life. I lived on a sail boat in the pacific for many years, and know this is different. However, the freedom I see in the videos I watch is the same.   

Yes!! Welcome aboard Captain Sensible!!  You wouldn't believe how many folk start threads here with "I've just bought a boat and...." from the bottom of a big boat shaped hole having done no prior research or planning whatsoever.  You'll find a lot of help and advice here, plus a handful of other antipodean half-year boaters who's experience of the distance issue will be invaluable.  I'm pretty sure that your sailboat experience will allow you to settle in quickly and easily because, although so much will be different, it will still be familiar and you'll have a lot of transferable skills.  It'll be mostly a case of how you find a narrowboat and it's environment so, to that end, variety in your route will be important.  Although I've done your route, I'm not current so I'll leave that to those steeped in your area to advise on the best options. Fingers crossed you'll have a great holiday and we'll see you in your own boat shortly! Good luck!  :)

 

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On 10/04/2019 at 05:52, Melbourne_Boaters said:

Enjoy it - that's a lovely part of the world. 

 

Eh? I was about to suggest the opposite! 

 

I find the north Oxford a bit dull and uninteresting from an aesthetic point of view. Down-at-heel suburbia in the built up bits and scruffy countryside when not in suburbia. For 'lovely', I'd suggest hiring on the western end of the K&A or (not that I've been there yet) the Rochdale or the northern canals. Or given where the OP is planning to hire from, a trip on the River Nene. 

 

Another point is with only seven nights' hire, sightseeing away from the boat will impinge heavily on the actual boating. Planning to keep leaving the boat to see local attractions is going to seriously eat into the already limited boating time. Might be worth considering Air BnB and walking the towpath rather than hiring a boat if exploring an area is the plan, as opposed to boating being the main focus of the holiday.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Mike the Boilerman
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22 minutes ago, Mike the Boilerman said:

 

Eh? I was about to suggest the opposite! 

 

I find the north Oxford a bit dull and uninteresting from an aesthetic point of view. Down-at-heel suburbia in the built up bits and scruffy countryside when not in suburbia.

 

 

Or, from Braunston, continue to Napton, then travel south along the South Oxford for a bit.

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Echo the above two posts. The South Oxford is very pretty but not hugely endowed with pubs - so you have to plan if you must eat out each night. It's mostly rural, shallow and popular - should be quiet out of the school holiday season.

What ever route you actually do have a look at canal plan's photos and comments that boaters have submitted along the route.

It's also well worth looking at Minimal List's YouTube videos - as you can see what the route actually looks like.

 

I agree that the North Oxford is a bit boring, though with hardly any locks you'll be able to move on swifty - even pop down the Coventry for aq urban experience?

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I'd suggest Warwick and back.   That should take about 5 days.  When you are almost back perhaps continue through Blisworth to Stoke Bruerne for the canal museum.    And if you make good progress there are lots of other options for a short detour on the way back:  South Oxford, North Oxford, Leicester Arm, Northampton Arm - just check for the next winding hole before you go too far.

 

Warwick is probably more interesting than Rugby, Coventry, Nuneaton etc

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13 minutes ago, David Mack said:

And Warwick and back is a lot more locks than the other options. Fine if you like doing lots of locks but...

... if they bother you, perhaps crusing the English canals isn't really for you?  ;)

Or did you have a different idea in mind with your dotted ending?

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thanks everyone. I'm going to check out the routes suggested today. We chose that route based on Videos on youtube and the canal trust maps. I have watched some of Minimalists's videos.  Two weeks from today I fly out. Very excited!

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30 minutes ago, Dizalot said:

thanks everyone. I'm going to check out the routes suggested today. We chose that route based on Videos on youtube and the canal trust maps. I have watched some of Minimalists's videos.  Two weeks from today I fly out. Very excited!

Somebody mentioned canal plan and some books to get but canal plan might actually not be that obvious to find so thought I would post some links just in case. 

 

https://canalplan.org.uk

 

http://jmpearson.co.uk

 

https://www.canalbookshop.co.uk/pearsons.html

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholson_Guides

 

https://www.canalbookshop.co.uk/nicholsons.html

 

And if you are planing to liveaboard  some additional books I would suggest that I liked are - 

 

Going it Alone by Colin Edmonson

https://www.canalbookshop.co.uk/boating.html

 

Narrowboat life by Jim Batty

https://www.canalbookshop.co.uk/living aboard.html

 

And then Tony Jones has The Liveaboard Guide and The Narrowboat Guide which are both very similar but one is the newer updated version but I can never remember which one's which. 

 

 

Edited by Tumshie
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1 minute ago, Alan de Enfield said:

I get the feeling he already lives abroad, as he is flying to get here.

One day I'm going to write a post with no spelling mistakes and I won't have to go back and edit it six times. ?

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1 minute ago, Tumshie said:

One day I'm going to write a post with no spelling mistakes and I won't have to go back and edit it six times. ?

Yes, lull yourself into a false sense of security by spelling everything correctly - and that's exactly when auto correct strikes! :help:

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