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Life on a narrowboat can be as peaceful as it is idyllic BUT you need to understand the pros, cons, highs, lows, and day to day logistics in living on England's inland waterways. Let me help you find out all you need to know before you commit to what could be a very expensive mistake.


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Try and stay on the towpath…That stuff in the cut is wet!

I can confirm that Canal water is wet!

Cycling along the tow path from Ricky to Watford, as I do on a regular basis, the other night I was balancing a strimmer on the handle bars in the direction or travel when I struck a bump (BW used building rubble in places to shore up the path and the soil has subsided leaving bricks sticking up at inopportune times) this caused the strimmer to swing left, catching on a bush (CRT are even less effective in towpath maintenance than BW and the outgrowth severely narrows the path) , which pitched me to the right where my wheel went down a crumbled edge (Yep, they are not much better at edging either-frankly that whole stretch is awash with awful or not done maintenance) and I pitched into the cut…bike strimmer and all!

I managed to pull myself and goods out and squelched the last mile home! Just glad it was not a winter night!

But it does bring home the differing views of the cut. I am both a dog walking-cycling-use of the towpath AND a boater (albeit still on friends boats) and there are differing views between the groups.

As a cyclist I want a clear, reasonably smooth path and hi-vized mooring pins please! and I appreciate the way nature adapts and adapts to this man-made watercourse.

As a dog owner I clear up after him but want to be able to let him run.

As a boater I want;

1. Not to be knocked down by speeding bikes (come close twice now);

2. not to have to step in others dog shit 3. If you’re dog is not “other dog friendly” keep it on a lead!

4. Able to moor without the bank giving way or so narrowing the channel I have to “thread a needle”.

5. Able to navigate the waterway without either getting my head knocked off by a branch or fouling my prop on submerged obstacles!

A little thought about other people makes life on the cut a whole lot pleasanter! As would a bit more CRT maintenance.

In fact I have just acquired a video camera and once I figure out how to use it I will take some vids of this stretch for CRT to see what needs doing.

So, I finish this missive in line with the safety tips that Paul has been giving in the newsletter and I add my own for towpath users and” boatie folk”…

“Try and stay on the towpath…that stuff in the cut is wet!”

 

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stlyon
 

Solicitor by profession. Grumpy old Bugger by experience. Ex-HM Forces, Ex-Firefighter, Ex-perienced in life! Am within a gnats whisker of achieving my dream of living on the cut! Sometimes it seems the Gnat has thicker whiskers than Duck Dynasty!

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