Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Hilperton to Bath (England)

Some people go RV'ing, others go House Boating, but in England you combine the two and you have Narrow Boating. Yes, some people live on these boats and traverse the hundreds of miles of canals in England. We decided to try it for a weekend.

Unlucky for us, the weekend that we decided to do it was when the flooding happened in England. We had a bad start to the weekend when all trains out to Hilperton were cancelled. So, what did we decide to do? Rent a car and drive it. We figured, we've been through flooding in Cayman, we'll show these English how its done!

Hmmmnnnn....this could be a problem if we flood the car! Do we dare try?

Well, we did and we succeeded and made it to the Hilperton Marina. Yeehaw! Hope that car is still working at the end of the weekend!

Down to brass tacks, food & booze has to be unpacked. Not an easy feat in a narrow boat. Two people max in the kitchen!

And while some people were unpacking, the other two were supposed to be learning how to drive the boat. Slight incident with a tree....these boats are hard to steer!

Yikes and some traffic congestion! A little hairy since our Captains still weren't 100% comfortable with driving the boat. But they did it, with only a couple of frantic push-offs from the nearby boats.

And as we learned, the traffic congestion was due to our approach to the first lock. Okay not the Panama Canal, but still we were all a bit frantic since we had to work the locks ourselves and there were too many witnesses around if something went wrong!

But all the worrying was for naught, as it turned out Wade and Casey were old pros at the locks! Well sort of.

So this is what narrow boating is all about. Stopping in the little canal side taverns for some English brew & grub.

Aaaah....they say English food is bad, but out here it is fab! Homemade meat pies and fish and chips. Yummy! And the boys were pretty happy about the Ale as well.

And after all the commotion earlier...finally some tranquility...

in the beautiful English countryside. Too bad the weather was so cold that we could see our breath. Not exactly a hot sunny July...but we made the best of it. At least the pubs were warm.

And finally we made it to Bath. Hilperton is only about 22 kms away, but when you can only putt along the canals at about 2 to 3 km an hour and we were a day delayed getting to Hilperton, it meant no time in Bath. Basically we got there and had to turn around. Ah, I guess it will have to be a future adventure.

Here is a look at Bath, even though we never made it into the city. It is pretty.