Living in the centre of the UK, we don’t often get to the seaside, but we can get to water! We took ourselves off for a day trip recently on the Stratford on Avon canal.
We hired “Happy Valley”, a day boat from Lyons Boatyard. The deal is you have it from 9.00am to 5.00pm. So, on arrival, Andy showed us how it all worked and told us what we needed to know.
He assured us it was unlikely we would get any problems, but that we should be aware of what to do if the propellor got tangled in weeds. Or if we ran aground! Apparently the canal is really shallow and if you do fall in then the chances are the water will only come up to your waist! All very reassuring for novices.
We aren’t complete novices having had a week on the Thames a few years ago, and a holiday on the Abergavenny canal about 20 years previously! I still have memories of that holiday and will share them in another post!
There are three different routes you can do in the time you have the boat. We had planned to do Route 1 which goes into the centre of Birmingham.
Having looked us up and down Andy persuaded us that Route 2 might be more suitable for us. It is a meander through the pretty north Worcestershire countryside. There are no locks to navigate and two turning places so you can decide how long you want to be cruising and how long you want to be in the pub! After much debate we decided to cruise on to the second turning point.
At one point I had to jump off the boat to operate a drawbridge! We stopped for a picnic on the way back. Also, we were incredibly lucky with the weather too as it was a lovely sunny day.
Dos and Don'ts
We had a great time and will definitely do another canal trip! There are things we will do better or differently next time though!
- take a picnic in case you run out of time to get to the pub
- remember some coffee/tea/water etc., so you can have a drink or two during the day
- wear plenty of layers, it can be colder on the water than on land
- listen to Andy’s instructions
- relax and enjoy the scenery
- try and have important telephone conversations along the way (we were in the process of buying a house)
- be late back, it will cost you £25 per each 15 minutes past 5pm
- upset the moored boats by going past them too fast
- worry if you forget your picnic, there is a bakery en-route
- forget your decent ‘wildlife’ camera as your phone will run out of battery taking all the amazing wildlife you will see along the way
Amanda Ingham 8th July 2019