Saturday, 16 July 2022

Our Luxury Narrowboat Holiday On Board Legato



Grab yourself a cup of coffee ... or something cooler ... and settle back for a little round up of our holiday, as requested.

The weather was beautifully kind to us over the days of our luxury narrowboat holiday.  

Although the mornings saw us briefly in jackets as we meandered along the canal at 3mph, the outer layers were soon taken off and we basked in blue skies and sunshine, so much so that by the end of our four days of cruising we both had red faces and Alan a nose that got redder and redder as each hour progressed.

The pace of life along the canal is so relaxing, well you do have to snap out of it occasionally then you come to narrow bridges, boats on either side that are moored up or boats heading towards you that sometimes seem to forget until the last moment that you should pass each other on the right-hand side.  But mostly you find you relax into it and rely on each other to point out hazards or things of interest.

I discovered that I am absolutely fascinated with bridges.  

The stone they are made of, the worn well-trodden flights of stone steps beside some of them, the rickety fences and gates by others, and the cobbled towpaths that go beneath them all had me transfixed.

Luckily Alan was the designated Skipper and me in my position as 'Crew' could occasionally take my attention away from hazards ahead and relish the wildlife, the bridges and the green, green fields and magnificent trees that line the canal in so many places.


Our first nights mooring was simply at the side of the canal.  

After having the hour long tuition journey out of the marina, taking in all the information we needed to know about how everything on the boat worked, how to drive it, turn it completely around and the rules of the canal and then returning Eammon the owner back to the starting point, then setting off ourselves and travelling for a couple of hours we were ready to just tie her up, let the dogs have a run around and crack open the wine.

We had to laugh to ourselves when we saw a familiar landmark in the distance and realised that if we were to have driven straight along the A6 we would have taken about twenty minutes by car to reach this point of our holiday journey!!


Posing with his flask of tea just minutes before the wine and beer came out!!


We slept like babies, with the water as still as anything and hardly any noise outside.  The dogs were slightly disturbed by this strange new environment but they settled down after a while.


And then it was morning and time to set off again, crossing small viaducts and going through lots of bridges as we made our way up North for a few hours.


Following the paths of the canal means you see so many fields, animals, houses and so much wildlife.  It's a beautifully slow pace to the day and you soon settle into the rhythm of the canal.

Everyone that passes, whether they be on another boat or walking or riding on the towpath says a cheery 'hello' or waves and smiles.  It makes for a happy atmosphere and a relaxed frame of mind.


We saw many swans on nests ...


... and swans that followed alongside for a while.


And then stopped in their tracks to feast on the oats we threw in for them.


We saw more Herons ... both on the waters edge and in flight ... than either of us have ever seen before.  They are such huge, graceful birds that fold away to little skinny-minnys once they are stood still.


Our second night was spent alongside Galgate Marina on the visitor moorings.

After arriving late afternoon and tying up, we walked along the tow path with the dogs and went to the canal-side pub for a late lunch  Then it was a quite night relaxing with some television, wine and nibbles.

There was some rain overnight but by the time we woke up it was all passing over and we had a healthy breakfast to combat all that alcohol and then set off on our slow travels once again.  


We carried on in the same direction at first under another couple of bridges to the nearest winding hole, to turn the boat around and head back the way we had come.


Alan did it so smoothly and before we knew it we were facing in the opposite direction and heading back.  It was time to head briefly for home to check on Ginger and leave him some fresh food.


I managed to get a shot of this amazing tree root system clinging to the stone sides of the canal that I had spotted on our outward journey.


We passed by boats that were up for sale.


Boats the like of which we had never seen before.


And lots of clusters of boats that obviously lived along the canal permanently.

The whole week was absolutely fascinating to both of us, and while Alan had his eyes mostly glued ahead to keep us safe, I could notice the details a little bit more and point out things for him to see when he could look away.


My view varied between the canal ahead, the banks and towpaths and every now and then down into the boat to see what the dogs were up to ... which was mostly snoring in their bed.  

They soon got into a rhythm and began to realise that the engine slowing right down, Mum grabbing the centre line and hopping off the boat and then Dad manoeuvring into the bank meant that it was time to clamber out of bed, stretch and shake out those little legs because soon there would be a walk, some food or just time for a play.


The boat was beautifully fitted out and everything that we could possibly need was there, plus more.  We hadn't brought any more than the absolute necessary with us so it as quite easy to keep things relatively tidy.


After feeding Ginger, watering the plants outside and making sure everything was okay at home we walked the two minutes back to the boat and resumed the holiday.  This time we were heading South to Barton Grange Marina where we had our fingers firmly crossed that we would be able to get one of the two visitor moorings on the canal itself ... we did ... phew!!

After a chippy supper we settled down for another relaxing evening on the boat.


And then before we even knew it the end of the holiday was in sight and it was time to head back taking all day to do it.  Drinking in the sounds and sights of the canal and getting a good look at everything we had spotted on the way down.


We weren't the only ones looking!!


This time each bridge brought us closer to home.


And still they had me fascinated.


And then before we knew it we were once again moored close to home and it was the final time for me to grab the centre line and pull the boat in while Alan got out the 'nappy pins' and tied the boat at the front and back to keep her safely at the towpath edge.

One of the guys from the boat company was going to meet up with us at our patch of the canal on his way back from teaching another couple the ways and working of their holiday boat and then take us back to the marina where our car was waiting.  It was the first time that Alan wasn't in charge of steering and safety, and he could completely relax and let someone else do the work for twenty minutes.

Here's a short YouTube film of us cruising on the Lancaster Canal.



We are now back home and still totally relaxed.  It's a good sort of holiday for chilling out, meeting nice people, for seeing nature and for getting back to basics ... or in our case a very luxurious 'basics'.


Did the little doggy life-jackets come in handy I hear you asking ...


YES they did ... Mavis fell in!!

The only other casualties were Alan's flask and the wooden brush off the top of the boat ... luckily all three overboard items were safely recovered.


One final photo of the Skipper.


We went with The Duck Island Boat Company who are based in Garstang Marina local to us, and who we now highly recommend.

If you have any questions just ask, I could have rambled on for hours, but I won't ... or maybe I did!!  😁

Sue xx



51 comments:

  1. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip.

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    1. It was a very worthwhile trip as Alan was debating buying a narrowboat to do up and then use without ever having been on one!! Now we are back he has decided that he won't be doing that, perhaps we would buy a shorter wide-beam to renovate and use briefly but definintely NOT a narrowboat. So it might have seemed an expensive holiday ... but it's saved us a small fortune!!

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  2. Lucky with the weather, nice boat, and no locks, sounds perfect. Poor Mavis. Bet it was a shock for her.

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    1. No locks was the only thing that made it possible for me. Aw, you should have seen her poor little face as she moved backwards and went right over the edge, luckily we were stationery and Alan quickly grabbed the handle on top of her life jacket and she was towelled dry.

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  3. Your trip sounds wonderful!

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    1. It really was, and a very good experience for us both, we do like to try new things. :-)

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  4. That was fascinating. What a lovely place for a holiday!!

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    1. We are really lucky to live in this lovely part of the country and have all this on our doorstep. It's good that it's so much quicker to get to any of the places we visited by car. Our longest journey which took us a full day to get to, Barton Grange Garden Centre, takes us about twenty minutes by car!!

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  5. Sounds wonderful Sue and makes me want to book up now! I could definitely listen to you "rambling" about the holiday for as long as you like!

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    1. It is a totally unique experience and well worth doing. All the YouTube videos that I have been watching in the run up to this holiday really helped out, giving us more knowledge and therefore a little bit more confidence.

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  6. What a wonderful holiday you all had. I enjoyed seeing the English countryside through your eyes as I live in Australia.

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    1. I'm glad you liked it, I should imagine we are quite a bit greener here in England than you are at the moment.

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  7. Poor Mavis, glad she is ok and you had a wonderful trip.

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    1. She was pretty shocked and very subdued for the rest of the evening. Those life jackets were worth every penny just for that moment.

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  8. Spending time traveling on a narrow boat sounds and looks idyllic and fun you could bring your dogs.

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    1. It was pretty relaxing apart from a few moments we loved it. Yes, being able to bring the dogs was what swung our decision to go with this company.

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  9. How absolutely beautiful that clip was - most of it, anyway!! lol
    I am so glad you had such a wonderful, peaceful, rejuvenating time. Will you do it again? xx

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    1. Haha .... he does like to mess around with his 'petrified face' when I'm filming. If we did, it would be on a wide-beam not a narrowboat and we would leave the dogs at home next time.

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  10. Allways wanted to do this, so nice to see it from the boat in your movie. It is just a long boat to look ahead from you! Good steering from Alan.

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    1. Yes it seems so long when you are driving from the back doesn't it, this particular boat was 57ft long and 6ft 10in wide. Alan soon got used to it, well he used to drive a much longer and much bigger submarine back in the day ... at least this time he had a view up ahead!!

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  11. That looks absolute bliss and your first picture of Alan is an absolute keeper.
    Poor Mavis - proves you were absolutely right to get those jackets. Are they safely packed away for the next trip (because it sounds like that is a holiday you would be happy to repeat)?

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    1. It's quite easy to get good photos on the canal, the colours of nature are just all around you and the glorious blue skies were wonderful ... and of course, my man is quite photogenic!! (I had to say that he might be reading the comments.)

      The life jackets are in the cupboard, but I don't think we would take the dogs with us if we went again as they are getting older now and they are a pair of home-birds. Next month they will be staying at home with their Uncle Jason, who's doggy sitting with his partner while we head back to Wales for a couple of days.

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  12. Brilliant Sue. So glad you enjoyed it and Alan obviously took his Skipper duties very seriously!! He did a great job. Such a peaceful relaxing way to travel and see the wonderful sights of nature.

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    1. It really does ground you being so much in nature, that was the best thing about it. We noticed so many birds, animals, trees etc and little things going on that you just don't see when you whizz past in a car.

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  13. Loved seeing and hearing your trip. It sounds like you had a lovely time.

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  14. Now trying to convince DH that he would like a trip like yours! Thanks for sharing. Catriona

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  15. How glorious that was , a little bit of peace amongst the chaos of the world ,water is so calming ,( except if you're a cute little dog who falls in ) x

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    1. That's exactly what it felt like, tootling along at 3mph while the rest of the world carried on it's rushing around as usual. It's made me think about simplicity even more.

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  16. It sounds a lovely peaceful way to spend a holiday.

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  17. This looks like a wonderful break.

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  18. Loved seeing your holiday pictures , something different to what we have in Oz, looks so relaxing. Good to know you all had a nice break away. Wendy C

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    1. Thank you, do you have canals in Australia? I have never even thought of that until I read your comment.

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    2. Not country side canals, where I live we have residential canals I suppose you would call them, houses both sides, boat access to water ways, to bays, coastal waters. Your video, so green and beautiful.

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    3. Thank you. That sounds a bit more like Amsterdam then, most of the canals as thoroughfares through the residential areas and joining into rivers and the sea. I loved Amsterdam for that and the fact that so many people lived and worked on the canals full time.

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  19. A canal trip has been on my Bucket List since I read "A Clutch of Constables" by Ngaio Marsh, but your wonderful report is likely to be as close as we get - we're in our 70s, and unlikely to be able to travel to the UK again unless the world 'sorts itself out' PDQ and secondly, Bill is resistant to the idea of being the Captain, so we'd need to do a trip with "staff"... which would cost ££££.

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    1. Maybe a trip with staff could be a holiday of a lifetime and be worth saving up for. Or perhaps get some younger members of the family to be crew of a hire boat for you in return for a 'free holiday' for themselves.

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  20. Thank you for sharing your photos, it looks like a great way to spend a few sunny days. Poor Mavis... thank heavens you had the foresight to buy the life jackets. At least you know now that a renovation of a narrowboat isn't what Alan wants to do. By the way, I love Alan's t shirt! 😂

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    1. It was a great way to spend last week, thank goodness we're not on board in this hotter weather.

      Haha ... Alan's t-shirt gets a lot of compliments, and occasionally little old ladies on the High Street or in the supermarket asking 'Are they really?' in response to the last line which says 'some parts still in working order'.

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  21. Oh I am jealous. I did several canal & river holidays in my 20s, narrow boats and cruisers, and absolutely loved it. Glad you did too.

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    1. It is a brilliant way of life isn't it, and very tempting to just sell up and go even more simple. If we had discovered narrow boating a bit earlier in life we might have just had that as an adventure instead of small-holding.

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  22. I would get tired of steering but Alan seemed to handle it well. Nice to relax and drift along. I get seasick but I wonder if the narrow boat glides so smoothly that it wouldn't be a problem.
    Glad you enjoyed your vacation!

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    1. Alan loved it, although he did lose control slightly when he oo'd and aa'd over some tiny little 'days old' ducklings and took us into the bushes :-)

      We both get terribly seasick, hence Alan's time in the Royal Navy being spent under not on the water, but the canals don't have any current or ebb and flow so it's a smooth ride. Funnily enough I felt weirdest when I got back on dry land, if I closed my eyes when stood still I would feel as though I was still on the boat. Alan said that is quite usual.

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  23. What a lovely way to spend a holiday.

    God bless.

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    1. It was totally relaxing ... even for the skipper :-)

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  24. Totally relaxing video, thanks Sue for sharing x

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