We once had a weekend on the canal in a small butty boat. I just loved it. Two of the kids came and it was a great (but expensive) break. There is nothing like going nowhere very slowly in the middle of the countryside.
So I bought a smoky old two stroke, when I was doing well with Plaintalk, gift company I used to work for. The Dawncraft's original name was Gem, I decided to rename it Ruffles after a gift I sold.
It originally had an inboard diesel engine. I think they were worth more than the hull at one time, & in its place was an outboard Chrysler two stoke. Of course this meant that the ballast was all wrong & on windy days, it could drift all around the cut!
As the speed limit on canals was 4mph, I liked the idea of going nowhere very slowly & I wanted it to get away from telephones, faxes & work.
We were on the Garstang canal which was particularly beautiful with no locks to bother us. During the late 18th century the industrial demand for transport between Manchester, Preston, Lancaster and Kendal, gave rise to proposals to build a broad beam canal from Westhoughton, east of Wigan, and Kendal. A chap named John Rennie produced a survey which included several aqueducts but with only eight locks near the Kendal end at Tewitfield. Based on this survey, construction began in 1792. It took only 7 years to open the canal between Preston and Tewitfield and included a large aqueduct over the River Lune north of Lancaster. At the same time the southern section between Chorley and Clayton was opened. This caused a five mile gap across Preston and the river Ribble, which was never successfully overcome. Until 1849, the daily service of a waterbus ran between Kendal & Preston. The journey took, what would be today, a staggering 14 hours. In 1833 to compete with stage coaches this was reduced to 7 hours 15 minutes. This service was very successful and carried 14,000 passengers in the first six months of operation
The boat had a chemical toilet and a shower, plus you could sleep on board, but we never did, it was all a little crude! You could do a little cooking but with hindsight, I was after a motor home really! I couldn't keep the crew from mutinying, so it got used less & less!
It was broken into, even in the security of the canal basin. They were after petrol for their motorbikes and acquired my fishing rods too.
One stormy weekend we lost the cover off the stern, that all helped to cheese me off. I guess I just got fed up of it.
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