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NervousPervous

Boats for the Caledonian

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So I've been thinking of getting a small cruiser to start off, to see if I like cruising the canals and find out if I might in future use my inheritance to buy a steel narrowboat or perhaps a larger GRP. I've been finding out about all the different waterways and which boats go where.

 

One of my hobbies is amateur astronomy and I can't count the number of times a new forum poster has asked the question "What's the best telescope to buy for all uses?" The answer is "There isn't one - is you want to do everything, you need to buy more than one telescope" - I'm wondering whether I might be asking the boating equivalent of that question here...

 

So far I like the look of canals where I'm going to need a short narrow beam, the Norfolk broads where you can't take a steel NB but everything else seems ok and the Scottish canals - particularly the Caledonian where I have no idea what you're supposed to sail on that apart from no steel NB.

 

So I'm thinking, I can get a small GRP that I can tow around to the canals & broads but it's the Caledonian that might be the problem. What's the smallest recommended boat for the lochs? I'm thinking maybe a little NB GRP is perhaps not recommended?

 

Thanks all :)

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Small narrowbeam grp cruiser will go on any inland canal or waterway.Rivers and estuaries in good weather taking note of tide times.

The thought of towing your boat to various locations is very tempting,but it could be a load of hassle depending how often you move it.

Is there a ramp where you are retrieving and slipping?

Is your car a suitable towing vehicle?

Four wheel drive is usually necessary because ramps are often covered in weed and are very slippery.

Are you keeping the boat at home,or on a mooring when you are not using it?

My opinion for what it's worth is to get a couple of friends together and hire a canal boat for a week or so,to get the feel of cruising the cut.The cost of hire may seem expensive,but spread between three or four people is less so.

You will know for sure then,if canal boating is for you.

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24 minutes ago, NervousPervous said:

the Caledonian where I have no idea what you're supposed to sail on that apart from no steel NB.

The Caledonian is, in places, almost an Inland Sea with big (to Inland boaters) waves and funnel winds (being blown down the loch / valley.

 

The locals go out fishing in 12 foot wooden rowing boats, but they know the weather and when to 'go-home'. If you are on the Cally as a visitor you really need a boat that can safely travel on the sea.

 

I'd suggest a minimum of something like a Sealine 23 (which is not suitable for the English canals but OK for the Rivers)

Scotland 2013 1 021.JPG

Scotland 2013 1 053.JPG

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2 hours ago, NervousPervous said:

So I'm thinking, I can get a small GRP that I can tow around to the canals & broads but it's the Caledonian that might be the problem. What's the smallest recommended boat for the lochs? I'm thinking maybe a little NB GRP is perhaps not recommended?

You can have a small boat on the Caley - there are lots of them but a narrow flat bottomed boat is more of a problem. There are a huge variety of boats up here but a lot of them are yachts or larger motor boats capable of coping with more vigorous weather in the more open water of the loch. Think sea rather than canal really. 

 

You can do the Caley in as little as two days, but most visitors make point of taking a bit longer, so I strongly suggest that you get a boat that will work best for the majority of the British inland waterways and then if you can take it onto the Caley that's a bonus but if you can't then there are lots of other ways you can do the Caley. 

 

Some of the sorts of boats our local brokerage is selling if that gives you an idea of what sort of boats are up here. 

http://www.caleyboats.co.uk/buy-a-boat/power-boats-search-page

 

 

Edited by Tumshie
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8 minutes ago, NervousPervous said:

Wow - it looks like I might have to train my sea legs first whatever I choose! 

The above pictures were on a 'calm day' in September, when it was rough we stay tied up.

We had a 44' x 15' GRP boat.

 

You are cruising with 'passenger ferries' - huge great things, we even got to share one of the locks with one.

 

 

Scotland2013 2 012.JPG

Scotland 2013 1 018.JPG

 

 

The 'barge' in the above picture was used as mobile accommodation for something like 20 "canoeists".

 

The canoeists would set off early in the morning and follow the coastline, in & out the bays etc whilst the 'mother ship' cruised to the next stopping spot, 

 

Canoeist would arrive, have a hot shower, a few drinks, evening meal & off to bed. Early breakfast and re[eat, repeat, repeat for about 7 days.

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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4 minutes ago, NervousPervous said:

Wow - it looks like I might have to train my sea legs first whatever I choose! 

The Caley is well worth a visit but there are lots of ways to explore it, yes it would be nice to take your own boat up and quite a few on the forum have but there are also the usual hire and hotel boats up here along with hostel and air&b boats, loads of water side accommodation and day trip boats from tiny to gigantic, tall ships to barges. You could come up for a holiday every year and do something different each time. 

 

 

?

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We hired a large 6 berth cruiser last June from Laggan. 

We were at Drumnadrochit when the wind began to blow with a reasonably large swell in the water and some white tops to the waves. Our boat was taking quite a beating as it slapped onto the waves rather than cut through them making it very uncomfortable with items falling to the floor in the galley. 

We turned back, going with the wind this time and returned to Drumnadrochit for another night.

Just an example of how the weather can quickly change. 

I imagine it will be difficult to find a type of craft that will meet all your wishes in one. 

Edited by AllanD
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2 hours ago, NervousPervous said:

So I've been thinking of getting a small cruiser to start off, to see if I like cruising the canals and find out if I might in future use my inheritance to buy a steel narrowboat or perhaps a larger GRP. I've been finding out about all the different waterways and which boats go where.

 

One of my hobbies is amateur astronomy and I can't count the number of times a new forum poster has asked the question "What's the best telescope to buy for all uses?" The answer is "There isn't one - is you want to do everything, you need to buy more than one telescope" - I'm wondering whether I might be asking the boating equivalent of that question here...

 

So far I like the look of canals where I'm going to need a short narrow beam, the Norfolk broads where you can't take a steel NB but everything else seems ok and the Scottish canals - particularly the Caledonian where I have no idea what you're supposed to sail on that apart from no steel NB.

 

So I'm thinking, I can get a small GRP that I can tow around to the canals & broads but it's the Caledonian that might be the problem. What's the smallest recommended boat for the lochs? I'm thinking maybe a little NB GRP is perhaps not recommended?

 

Thanks all :)

Wouldn't renting a Narrowboat be a cheaper way to see if you like it ? 

 

And have you thought of share boating for the future ? I'm not sure how much spare time you have at the moment so maybe a small share of a boat might work ?

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