A lifelong dream has been to live on a narrow boat…..impractical in my current situation I was overjoyed when offered a chance to stay in one for the weekend to help create imagery for social media. Narrow Escape is a company based on the Kennet and Avon Canal and run by Mash and Naomi. They have a 60 foot refurbished narrow boat to rent as moored accommodation or to use up and down the canal at your leisure. The canals are now managed by the charity The Canal & River Trust (CRT) and the inland waterways are in the best shape they have been in for years.
Arriving to the canal at night, easily following the directions we couldn’t appreciate the boats full glory. It wasn’t until the morning drinking coffee on the bow waving nonchalantly to runners we realised her true beauty. Navy blue with gold and white hand painted signage, perfect round brass framed portholes, swans circling the bow and two tiny doors to climb through to gain entry…
The interior was better than I could have ever dreamt, a cosy, quirky nook centred around a charming log burner with thoughtful soft furnishings and well designed kitchen. A somewhat small but perfectly formed living area cleverly designed to maximise space yet embrace you with its warmth and glow in the evenings. The two sleeping quarters with cabin beds and portholes to gaze at passing boats and canal wildlife in the morning and snuggle up with a book before bed time.
As our friends arrived on the second day with their children and dog we all jumped aboard sunk a champagne breakfast and then set off chugging down the canal towards the city centre. There’s something really special about narrow boats, being so close to nature and the tranquil water makes for a relaxed care free environment, one we were all savouring in the rare English sun. Sitting on the roof basking, whilst playing reggae on our loudspeaker we were hardly the stereotypical canal boat owners but we got waves from locals and other captains none the less.
Parking a narrow boat is another matter altogether. Luckily Mash the owner of the boat gives great lessons, turning us from novice to El Captains in no time at all. It is really easy to master and as long as you take note of the parking signs and make sure the boat is secured with the right ropes you can cruise to your hearts content. There’s nothing better than being able to motor your boat back down the canal at the end of the day, find somewhere to moor and then bunk down for the evening. Even though we moored right outside a really lovely pub we spent our last evening drinking red wine and watching movies in front the fire…. Perfect end to a perfect weekend.
Narrow Escape is available for
• Long weekends (Fri-Mon)
• Mid-week trips (Mon-Fri)
• 1 or 2 week holidays
• Long-term bookings considered