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Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal


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I was wondering if many folk have experience of cruising the mon brec canal. I am looking to move to the area and wonder if my 'standard' 57ft narrowboat would fair on the rather shallow canal - 3ft draft i believe.

As I understand things boats there tend to have a v shaped hull to make mooring easier and the bridges are quite low.

any comments?

thanks

carl

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I have had a 50 ft boat on the Mon & Brec for some 20 years and know it pretty well – and love it! But it is very shallow almost everywhere and also is (very) saucer-shaped, so even if you are clear in the centre, as soon as you go near then side, you normally end up stuck! Not sure but I would guess anywhere beyound about a 2 foot draft can be a problem, hence many of the boats are vee-bottomed. The locks are 60ft (by 10ft) but anything over 55ft can be a problem as many of the very sharp bends are tight. A couple of the hire boats are 60 ft but their hirers tend to battle. And yes, some of the bridges are very low – my boat is a pretty typical Colecraft and there is little space above me and some of the bridges. The tunnel is the real problem – I guess i have about 4 inches to spare, provided I am right in the centre. Most hire boats show the result!! The problem is that the tunnel has partially collapsed at one point – don’t try to go into the tunnel even if you are only a few inches above the indictor boards at the entrances. I met a newcomer last week who has just moved his boat from the K&A and got stuck in the tunnel – had to remove part of his cratch to get through.

Mike

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  • 2 weeks later...

I was wondering if many folk have experience of cruising the mon brec canal. I am looking to move to the area and wonder if my 'standard' 57ft narrowboat would fair on the rather shallow canal - 3ft draft i believe.

As I understand things boats there tend to have a v shaped hull to make mooring easier and the bridges are quite low.

any comments?

thanks

carl

We hired a boat on the M&B and our holiday was memorable because of frequently running aground and poor moorings.

 

Nothing to do with boats, but our other memory was the nearly unbroken continuous line of tall trees both sides of the canal that spoilt the views - that on occasions (where there was a break in the trees) were quite spectacular. Which was a prime reason for booking the M&B in the first place.

Don't let that put you off - it's just us.

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you are right; for a significant length of the canal, where it runs near the foot of the north-east slope of the Brecon Beacons, not only is the canal a tree- (and bramble-) lined avenue, but there is no sun except in mid-summer (for an hour or two) because of the steepness of the slope.

 

I have only cruised on the M&B in a shallow draft yogurt pot (twice) and loved most of it, especially the assistance given by a CRT maintenance/lockie guy who saw me down the big flight of locks, driving ahead to set each one for me. I guess he was under-employed and bored.

 

What I didn't like was the weed-choked pools just above Pontypool which were impassable, and the bloody cyclists racing along the towpath with no consideration for walkers or dogs. A bloody menace. Probably part of some bloody 'national cycle network'. Stuff 'em!.

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