Saturday, September 17 – Preston Brook, UK
We took a 20 minute taxi ride from our B&B in Runcorn to Claymoore Canal Holidays in Preston Brook to pick up our 48′ long narrowboat named “Walton Hall”.
Up until this day we had only seen photos of narrowboats on websites & videos of them on British drama TV & YouTube. It’s hard to appreciate how long & how narrow these boats really are until you see on for real!
Ananda is 36′ long & 11′ wide. At 48′ long Weston Hall is a pretty good sized boat but there are lots of these boats that are between 60′ & 70′ long! Due to the width of the locks on the the majority of the canals & the narrow passages under most of the bridges, narrowboats are never wider than 7′
Prior to officially picking up our boat we walked a short distance down the canal to Midland Chandlers, the local boating supply store. I love these places & could spend hours looking at all of the neat stuff they have!
Anyway, Catherine refocused me on our mission & we talked with the proprietors Tom & Geoff about our trip & possible routes.
Tom & Geoff were a great help to us in deciding upon a suitable route – given our lack of experience & the 7-day time limit. We would set out for the Town of Nantwich, which is about 18 miles (by canal) from Preston Brook.
After buying a canal guide & chart/map from the chandlery we were ready to cast off & headed back to the boat dock.
Shea, from Claymoore gave us a tour of the boat & tutorials of how everything worked & how to handle the boat. The route we had chosen involved a small lock and a canal tunnel that were just a few minutes from our dock so Shea offered to take us through those first few parts of our journey & were we ever glad that he did!
The canal lock was pretty straightforward – with a level difference of only about 3′ but the canal tunnel was a completely different story!