The Best of Boat Life?
As the dust settles from another busy Easter time on the Llangollen Canal, I have to say I have enjoyed the quieter evenings and calmer days again!
It is an interesting thought that when the canal is at its busiest, and the key holiday phases are in full swing, it is also the least "normal" time to experience the canal lifestyle.
From April to October there will often be a base level of boating traffic and towpath trudging being done by boaters, gongoozlers and general people alike, with minor spikes at the weekends. Then for key moments like Bank Holidays, Easter and the summer holidays, there will be a huge surge in traffic of all kinds.
This year, before Easter I had the Ark moored up just down from the Mighty Pontcysyllte Aqueduct at the top end of the Llangollen Canal, one of the busiest places on the network... and from some of my fellow boaters posts online... it was the usual fun and games on the narrower, less mooring abundant top few miles!
I try to be as laid back as possible during these busy times, and have the bonus of having a few of the holiday boats going past and recognising me or the boat from YouTube, this time I even returned home to find a gift and a card from a follower, left on the stern! (Thank you!)
So what makes these busier times so different to "normal" boat life times. Personally, I would say that the nature of holiday boating itself is the opposite of many liveaboards general lifestyles.
Remember that living on a boat doesn't mean you don't also have a full life of work, friends, family and the other endless distractions of life. So for a lot of people afloat, this means that traveling onboard for 8 hours a day and going as far as possible as quickly as possible is not feasible.
This also brings with it a certain amount of absence from the boat, I've known people who live aboard but work away and so might return to their boat in the small hours, or spend days away at a time. This then brings into play one of the greatest parts about living on a boat... being able to take your time.
Picking the time you want to travel, being able to break trips up into smaller chunks every couple of days, even being able to give up if you meet some traffic and carry on the following day... these are all the small differences to the destination based boating holiday. (I'm certainly not criticising anybody for wanting to see as much of the amazing canal and engineering features as possible though!)
I have spoken to a few people who do what I'd call "livaboard" style holiday boating, which I always like to hear. They may hire a boat for just over a week, and in that time maybe only travel for a few hours. Stocking up on food and then just heading to the sort of "middle of nowhere" moorings that I like, then spending a few days, reading, walking or simply not really doing anything in the middle of the countryside!
One thing that the holiday boat experience definitely adds to my life though, is the conversation with people experiencing boating for the first time. I've said it plenty of times over the years, but seeing the joy and love that people have for the surroundings I get to call my home, is a perfect reminder for me to be grateful and to appreciate just how good it is out here!
So, the busyness and almost endurance style boating that dominates this stretch of canal during the peak season may not be for me, or even represent what boat life is really like for livaboards, it is certainly good to know that at least people are out here enjoying what can become a very desolate and isolated feeling place when November rolls around and a near five month period of silence falls on the canal!
Thanks for reading friends! This isn't my most structured article, I'm just getting back into writing the new batch of posts for this site! So please stay tuned for more!
Keep it boat worthy,
Keep it interesting,
(Want more Dan Brown? Take a look at my boat life books HERE, and my three YouTube Channels; HERE, HERE & HERE!)