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  • Writer's pictureDan Brown

Narrowboat Neighbours Near and Far!

One of the hallmarks of my boat life has been to try to find moorings that are "close to civilisation" but not quite in it! The experience of going to sleep on a peaceful canal with no other boat in sight, and a slight sense of pristine rural isolation is one that has led to many good nights sleep... (maybe too good as I have found myself having trouble sleeping under "normal" slightly noisy circumstances!)

Now that is a close neighbour!

That's not to say that I never moor up around other boats, and of course other boats will often join me, mooring not too far away, in my little rural hideaways around the corner from the popular places! Often these like minded boaters have a lot of wisdom or curious boat stories of their own to tell. Only recently I had an in depth conversation about boat life with a neighbour. If you've seen my recent videos it won't surprise you to know I was out chatting away while testing out my new super torch!

I wouldn't moor next to this many boats during the holiday season!

Sometimes however, inexplicably, you will find somebody mooring up right next to you... this is normal in the popular places around towns, cities and villages... but when it happens out in the rural stretches it can be a little unnerving. The few times this has happened to me it has led to nothing more than some pleasant boating discussion, but I will admit it has also helped me make a decision to move a little further along the canal, sooner than intended!

To be absolutely clear these incidents have had absolutely no malice in them, maybe even the opposite with the hope of better overall boat security. However it is definitely not quite as peaceful when suddenly in an evening a generator or engine strikes up to boost the batteries for the night! Luckily for me, apart from a few moments where boaters have been singing incredibly loudly late at night (honestly!) my worst neighbours have always been the characters around Chirk, seen in the photo below!

The noisiest most disruptive neighbours I've ever had!

The best mooring moments for me are almost universally linked to the autumn and winter times, when the holiday traffic has all but vanished, and literally miles of canal in the summer destination hot spots can sometimes have not a single boat on them!

Mooring up on a crisp winter evening, after a spur of the moment boat trip, knowing there are no boats within a mile of you in either direction is fantastic. Finding one of the many spots that you can't even see a house or sign of another human beings existence, completes the sense of peaceful isolation... although it needs to be said that some people hate this idea!

A bike, a boat and a sunset, what a picture of happiness!

The silence that can descend on these places during the evenings and night time is probably the only unnerving part for me, as they can make every rustle of leaves, every drip of water or animal sound seem infinitely louder and more startling in an otherwise, almost motionless world.

On very rare occasions a cyclist or walker will pass by in the small hours and create a brief, pulse quickening sense of dread, but I am pleased to say that I have probably more often than not been that late night walker/commuter/cyclist than I have been the one half dazed trying to figure out if I have imagined the sound or not!

Imagine returning home to this and sleeping with nothing but the stars looking down on you!

The long, chilly winter nights may be unpleasant for some, but for me there is a certain specific feeling of cosiness to being huddled up on a boat with the chimney smoking while the fire pumps its heat into the cabin. Stepping out onto the stern to see a sky full of stars and not another human in sight can transport me to another world. These lingering moments of peace on the English and Welsh canals will stay with me long into the busier summer months and then be topped up again the following winter!

Thank you very much for reading my friends.

Keep it boat worthy,

Keep it interesting,



(Want to help me out? Please take a look at my boat life books HERE, and my YouTube Channel HERE)

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