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Best Short Break for an Utter UTTER Newbie?


Frog Man
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Hello all, can anybody personally recommend a location on the more southerly network for a nice easygoing midweek or weekend break for a couple that have never ever experienced narrow boating?

When I say easygoing what I really mean is : not loads of locks! And I specify southerly because I want to minimise the amount of road travel from home (East Kent) to eventual destination.

Also, recommended boat hire companies would be helpful too? Cheers FM. :-)

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My thoughts are if you don't have any locks you are missing out on a canal boat holiday so I would suggest hiring from Hillmorton.

 

http://canalbreaks.com/

 

They also have a base at Rugby

 

http://www.willowwren.co.uk/

 

From either of these bases you have from Sutton's Stop to Braunston with only 3 paired single locks or you can go to Bottom of the Napton Flight where there is the Folly Pub, highly recommended: http://home.btconnect.com/thefollyinn/The_Folly_Napton/Welcome.html

Edited by Ray T
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Nothing like a bit of a challenge - no(t many) locks

only a weekend

not too far from the depths of Kent...

 

Ideas -

Lee and Stort - ah; no hire companies

London - no hire companies

River Wey - no hire companies

River Thames - locks operated (if you're lucky) by a team of flunkies - or push the buttons yourself. Not suitable for current conditions; lorra' water. No hire companies until you get above Oxford where Black Prince at Eynsham have a fleet. On the upper-upper Thames the locks (if unmanned) are the most easy of any lock to operate. Lovely countryside. Quiet. NOT if the River's in flood.

Oxford Canal - lovely canal; you can go for quite a long way (Napton) before you get a lot of locks..

Hire from Oxfordshire Narrowboats - lovely boats,

OR College Cruisers in Oxford itself.

 

FWIW by the time you've got to Oxford it's only a 'few' minutes by car to a much wider choice of hire companies and potential routes and prices.

 

There's Nowt in berween.

 

I see an other post has slipped in behind me - the Wey is very pleasant, but the locks are very heavy and there are few places to moor. The M25 runs alongside for a distance... We did 5 years on the Wey....

 

Refine you real needs and desires and come back....

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The southern Oxford canal has locks at gentle intervals. As does the South Stratford north of Wilmcote (from where you can get a bus or train into Stratford).

Wouldn't go along with that, the Napton flight when you set off, next day its Claydon. dropping down to Cropredy

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I suppose my real desires would be, firstly, to find a spot or section on the waterways that I might one day want to live on (that is IF I even take to boating...) and that would mean, secondly, becoming a competent boater.

Not necessarily in that order. :-)

  • Greenie 1
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I suppose my real desires would be, firstly, to find a spot or section on the waterways that I might one day want to live on (that is IF I even take to boating...) and that would mean, secondly, becoming a competent boater.

Not necessarily in that order. :-)

They are only hiring for a few days, not spending the rest of their lives there

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Hello all, can anybody personally recommend a location on the more southerly network for a nice easygoing midweek or weekend break for a couple that have never ever experienced narrow boating?

When I say easygoing what I really mean is : not loads of locks! And I specify southerly because I want to minimise the amount of road travel from home (East Kent) to eventual destination.

Also, recommended boat hire companies would be helpful too? Cheers FM. :-)

If you hired a boat on the North Oxford Canal (Rose Narrowboats for example) Then you could go to Hillmorton in one direction and to the end of the Ashby Canal in the other only passing through one stop lock, which isn't like an actual lock in that the water only rises and falls by 9 inches or so. However, I would agree with others are that the locks are an essential part of a canal experience.

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As lots of people have suggested, if the hire takes in the North Oxford/Coventry/Ashby you can do few or ever no locks on a holiday up to even a week if you want. Assuming you don't mind doing a few locks, it would seem a shame to do none, then you could choose from Rose Narrowboats, Ashby Boats, Union Canal Carriers, Napton Narrowboats, Calcutt Boats, Black Prince (at Wigrams Turn).

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As lots of people have suggested, if the hire takes in the North Oxford/Coventry/Ashby you can do few or ever no locks on a holiday up to even a week if you want. Assuming you don't mind doing a few locks, it would seem a shame to do none, then you could choose from Rose Narrowboats, Ashby Boats, Union Canal Carriers, Napton Narrowboats, Calcutt Boats, Black Prince (at Wigrams Turn).

And also visit some well known canal locations such as Braunston, Sutton Stop and maybe Napton and take in canal pubs like the Admiral Nelson, Greyhound and Folly Inn. That's achievable in a midweek break from a number of hire bases with potential to include Braunston Tunnel (all canal breaks should include a good tunnel).

 

JP

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And also visit some well known canal locations such as Braunston, Sutton Stop and maybe Napton and take in canal pubs like the Admiral Nelson, Greyhound and Folly Inn. That's achievable in a midweek break from a number of hire bases with potential to include Braunston Tunnel (all canal breaks should include a good tunnel).

 

JP

If you do fancy a meal at the Greyhound, ring up and book a table, even mid week

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It might be worth mentioning that there are a couple of websites offering last-minute deals on boating holidays:

 

http://latelink.com/

 

http://www.hireboats2go.co.uk/phppc/index.php

 

- so it might be worth staying a bit flexible on location rather than getting too set on one hire base.

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The North Oxford may be convenient in several ways, but while it's a useful link it is not a Thing Of Beauty - long straight bits, railway lines alongside it for several miles.

Capt. Pegg, you must be joking! A long tunnel is one of the things likely to put new boaters off ever boating again. (In case you weren't aware, Froggy, they have no lights).

 

Martin's suggestion is probably the pick of the bunch. The Ashby Canal is pretty, winding and rural, has no locks (let us not try to lock before we can walk) and a couple of good pubs along its way. Also, being a branch canal (i.e. dead-end) it usually isn't too crowded.

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Athy, on 19 Apr 2016 - 11:02 AM, said:

The North Oxford may be convenient in several ways, but while it's a useful link it is not a Thing Of Beauty - long straight bits, railway lines alongside it for several miles.

Capt. Pegg, you must be joking! A long tunnel is one of the things likely to put new boaters off ever boating again. (In case you weren't aware, Froggy, they have no lights).

 

Martin's suggestion is probably the pick of the bunch. The Ashby Canal is pretty, winding and rural, has no locks (let us not try to lock before we can walk) and a couple of good pubs along its way. Also, being a branch canal (i.e. dead-end) it usually isn't too crowded.

The downside is that it's a bit boring - with no diversions (such as locks) and it's shallow at the margins so not a lot of places to stop.

 

(apologies)

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