Jump to content

Are the canals getting crowded?


Featured Posts

Hi All, currently going through the looking at life on a canal and hope to start getting experience soon, but one thing i wondered is with the high cost of housing are many more people switching to the canals and hence it may be getting a little crowded? I keep seeing programmes on people who made the switch and this would obviously encourage more people to do likewise?

 

I would guess this makes last minute decisions to go to marina X or Y more difficult if they tend to be full more often and hence diminish the experience??

 

Have you long-time canal dwellers (not sure of the correct terminology so sorry if this isnt right!) seen a change in recent years??

 

thanks

rob

Link to post
Share on other sites

There are now more boats on the canals than there ever were in the working heyday, approx mid 1800's when the railways began to affect canal transport. Actually up until that time the canal boat people tended to live on the bank.

 

There has been an increase in the amount of boats on the cut.

 

I am at a bit of a loss at your post, you appear to want to live on the canal but are critically commenting on the numbers that already do?

 

If I am wrong please correct me.

Link to post
Share on other sites

sorry it does sound odd doesnt it.. :)

 

basically we are thinking of this for holidays initially and then our retirement in the years to come, but if its not how i imagine it and others have beat me to it in droves then we'd probably find our wonderlust elsewhere... :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would guess this makes last minute decisions to go to marina X or Y more difficult if they tend to be full more often and hence diminish the experience??

 

????????

 

Can you explain what you mean please?

 

It almost looks like you assume many people move about the system looking to regularly stop in different marinas, expecting casual spaces to be available for you to do so.

 

Sorry if I have misinterpreted, but that's not how it works for 99.9% of people, if that were your meaning.

 

EDIT:

 

Sorry, cross posted with your last post.

 

You have perhaps part answered your own question? A very large percentage of all the boats are kept in marinas or on permanent moorings by people who don't move them for (say) 50 out of 52 weeks of the year, (and sometimes not at all).

 

In a way if there are thousands of boats in marinas that seldom move, it doesn't really impact the experience for those who do.

 

However, equally the only area where boat ownership is actually growing is boats without a declared home mooring, where the numbers continue to rise rapidly. Although only a small percentage of the total, (say 5000 out of 33,000), this has perhaps the greater impact on other users, because in popular areas you will spend much more time slowing past lines of moored boats, (or lots of ones spaced at distances apart where you can't maintain a constant speed), and also they put more pressure on popular mooring locations where demand can sometimes outstrip supply.

 

The best thing if you have not done so would be to hire boats in popular locations at busy times, and see how you feel about what you find, because one person's "perfectly OK" is another persons view of hell! Also if you entertain ideas of eventually living aboard, hire at some of the less seasonal times of year, and see if the dream still seems as appealing if you are trying to work locks in a blizzard!

Edited by alan_fincher
Link to post
Share on other sites

sorry it does sound odd doesnt it.. smile.png

 

basically we are thinking of this for holidays initially and then our retirement in the years to come, but if its not how i imagine it and others have beat me to it in droves then we'd probably find our wonderlust elsewhere... smile.png

 

There are some crowded areas on the cut, mainly around London and parts of the K&A near Bristol, from what I have read and heard about.

 

There are also busy areas because of their beauty, the Llangollen Canal for example, but there are many canals oop Norf that are areas which certainly not over crowded.

 

We mainly cruise around the Warwickshire, Northants and Oxford areas and whilst it can be busy at peak periods it is not overcrowded.

 

To my mind I welcome hire boats, mostly, because they introduce people to the cut. Also the hire boats are successors the the likes of FMC. GUCCCo etc., boats, there to work for a living and earn money!

 

Whilst there are people coming on the cut, there are folks leaving it too. Off the top of my head I know of three this month, two in "our" marina and one elsewhere. Yes the boats are still on the cut but others, such as perhaps yourselves, in the future, are enjoying the experience.

 

We now tend to cruise in Spring and Autumn as the cut is not so crowded and we enjoy the scenery more at these times than the summer.

 

As an addendum there are also less canal miles today than the 1800's.

Edited by Ray T
Link to post
Share on other sites

sorry it does sound odd doesnt it.. :)

 

basically we are thinking of this for holidays initially and then our retirement in the years to come, but if its not how i imagine it and others have beat me to it in droves then we'd probably find our wonderlust elsewhere... :)

We have only been off the canals as leisure boaters rather than live a boards for a year, unless things have changed drastically in that time which I doubt the simple truth is there are parts of the system that are busier than others.

 

Where we did most of our boating for the last two years, the North East waterways it was very quiet in the so called 'busy' boating season. As a very generalised comment we noticed when we moved our boat North from the Midlands the overall density of boats seemed to reduce the further North we travelled.

 

You don't for example see huge Marinas like Mercia at Willington up North, they are generally much smaller affairs.

 

There are 'honey pot' locations on the system that get busy but it is still easy to avoid these if you don't like being in them, particularly if you expand your boating horizons so to speak.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

I would guess this makes last minute decisions to go to marina X or Y more difficult if they tend to be full more often and hence diminish the experience??

 

 

 

 

I may be wrong but you appear to assume that you go into a marina every evening, spend the night there and then move off the next day.

 

On the canals it is the norm to moor alongside the towpath every evening, this is free of charge and as the boats are all self-sufficient with cooking. water. bathroom, etc etc they can actually stay out of marinas indefinitely.

 

As a leisure boater you could just leave your boat in a marina when you are not using it (this is called a 'Home Mooring'), when you go away for a few days, a couple of weeks or even a few months, you just tie up almost anywhere on the 2000 miles of Canals & Rivers

Link to post
Share on other sites

In the past two years we have 'navigated' a lot of the system from Oxford to Ripon and point between.

 

My personal opinion is that the canals this year are quiet.

 

Yes,there are areas more busy than others,however,in the main quiet. Even at this time of year we are pasted by maybe 8-10 boats, mostly hire boats and hired day boats. We are just outside Skipton.

 

Martyn

Link to post
Share on other sites

There are now more boats on the canals than there ever were in the working heyday, approx mid 1800's when the railways began to affect canal transport. Actually up until that time the canal boat people tended to live on the bank.

 

There has been an increase in the amount of boats on the cut.

 

I am at a bit of a loss at your post, you appear to want to live on the canal but are critically commenting on the numbers that already do?

 

If I am wrong please correct me.

 

 

Understatement of the century!

 

Pete Harrison quoted some figures on here recently that showed a shocking small number of carrying boats on the system in the heyday. Something like 500 IIRC. Now we have over 30,000 current CRT licences apparently.

 

Another factor that illustrated the continuing upward trajectory is the fact that a narrowboat virtually never gets scrapped and broken up. No matter how bad the condition of a NB somebody somewhere always seems to find it worth patching up and keeping afloat.

Whilst all the time, new ones are being built and launched.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ah yes! Well spotted. Not the first time I've been well 'pasted'.

 

You survived the festival then Mike. Hope all is well with you both.

Yes thanks, and likewise. I did remark to Mrs. Athy that I enjoyed the three days of the festival but that I was grateful that there wasn't a fourth!

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

Understatement of the century!

 

Pete Harrison quoted some figures on here recently that showed a shocking small number of carrying boats on the system in the heyday. Something like 500 IIRC. Now we have over 30,000 current CRT licences apparently.

 

Happy to be corrected, but that simply sounds completely wrong.

 

Just two large carrying fleets (GUCCCo & FMC) would have produced more than 500 boats.

 

There must also surely have been far more than that number just in BCN based day boats.

It is undoubtedly correct that there are many more boats overall than then, but I still reckon you are out by over an order of magnitude!

Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks for all the replies... this is very encouraging as nobody came back with 'steer clear mate!' :)

 

im pretty sure we'll get a week before the end of the year to see for ourselves... thanks for all the replies to date, they are much appreciated!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I would guess this makes last minute decisions to go to marina X or Y more difficult if they tend to be full more often and hence diminish the experience??

 

 

The number of marinas is not fixed. A lot have opened in the last few years, and although the number of boats with a home mooring is fairly static at the moment, if the demand is there, more will come forward.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just spent 2 days (Sun and Mon) moored near Dudswell locks on the GU whilst I sanded and painted our roof. Don't want to use power tools in our marina and disturb the neighbours.

 

Beautiful weather, in August, and yet we only saw 10-12 boats pass each day, that's 5-6 in each direction. Don't get why it's so quiet in middle of school holidays when I would have expected lots of traffic, even if only from the rental companies.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

There are some crowded areas on the cut, mainly around London and parts of the K&A near Bristol, from what I have read and heard about.

 

There are also busy areas because of their beauty, the Llangollen Canal for example, but there are many canals oop Norf that are areas which certainly not over crowded.

 

We mainly cruise around the Warwickshire, Northants and Oxford areas and whilst it can be busy at peak periods it is not overcrowded.

 

To my mind I welcome hire boats, mostly, because they introduce people to the cut. Also the hire boats are successors the the likes of FMC. GUCCCo etc., boats, there to work for a living and earn money!

 

Whilst there are people coming on the cut, there are folks leaving it too. Off the top of my head I know of three this month, two in "our" marina and one elsewhere. Yes the boats are still on the cut but others, such as perhaps yourselves, in the future, are enjoying the experience.

 

We now tend to cruise in Spring and Autumn as the cut is not so crowded and we enjoy the scenery more at these times than the summer.

 

As an addendum there are also less canal miles today than the 1800's.

Yes they are, they are filled to bursting, enter them at your peril ;)

Link to post
Share on other sites

I know it isn't possible to accurately (well CRT probably should know) know the number of CCers but I find the figures and statement rapidly increasing interesting.

 

During the time I have been on the forum (a mere 4 years admittedly) the estimate has always been in the region of 5000 surely if the number is rising rapidly the figure should have moved a thousand or two.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I know it isn't possible to accurately (well CRT probably should know) know the number of CCers but I find the figures and statement rapidly increasing interesting.

 

During the time I have been on the forum (a mere 4 years admittedly) the estimate has always been in the region of 5000 surely if the number is rising rapidly the figure should have moved a thousand or two.

Not sure how many are on the canal, and if the number has increased, to be honest. There do seem to be new marinas opening up, right left and centre, but then some online moorings seem to be empty/have disappeared altogether.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Up in the north we have fabulous scenery and fascinating reminders of our industrial heritage around the canals. We have narrow canals, wide canals and rivers with huge easy electrified locks. Plus, it's quiet, very quiet. It has always felt quiet through all my boating life compared to our trips further south.Easy to moor up, and despite what you hear, we are friendly.

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
  • 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.