Vlog 208: The Call of the Wide

If a traditional narrowboat that’s 6’10” wide is just too limited in width for you then you might want to consider a widebeam for the canals of Britain. However, there are limitations on such craft so in this video I talk to widebeam owners Julie and Mark Weir about their experiences on a boat with an 11′ beam.

See more of Mark and Julie’s adventures at: www.youtube.com/WeirOnTheMove

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  1. Ok David we have hit a milestone together.
    As I have noted I became a Canuck Canal Nut in the fall of 2018 taking my first cruise and working the Wessex Rose Hotel Boat on the Thames.
    Since then we have done Pewsey to Bristol on the K & A (just loved working Caen Hill) and we did the GUC from Stoke Bruerne to Kingston on the Thames this past summer. The plan for 2021 is 4 weeks in a narrowboat doing the Warwickshire Ring including going into Coventry and taking in the Ashby. We are not planning to go into Birmingham mainly based on the fact that it requires a couple of 77 yr old to do that long set of locks into the centre of town and I noted in my Peterson’s as you were transiting that mooring in the suburbs of Birmingham might be a bit dodgy.
    In preparation for this latter journey to come, I watch and read everything I can get my hands on. I probably have more literature, maps, history books and videos than any non-owning foreign visitor you might come across. We haven’t done the 2021 trip yet but if our health permits at 78 the Four Counties and LLagollen are already forming in my mind.
    So I want to thank you for doing what you do. It is most interesting but more to the point most educational for us who are about to take the leap and go narrowboating on our own. When I was just getting at filing the water tanks and pumping the loo holding tank my skipper was quite impressed how I seemed to instinctively know how it all worked at the service points and just got on with it. This is in part due to what I learned watch ALL you vlogs from 1 to 208.
    So thank you so very much for doing what you do. It is invaluable as far as I am concerned,
    Enjoy NZ, Travel safe and we shall look forward to your 2020 season.
    P.S. for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction hence the flower coming back up the side of the sieve. A fork is better than a wooden spoon because it does not compact the dough as easily.

    • I forgot, 2020 is to complete the K & A from Pewsey to Reading in late May ending up in Windsor. A flying trip which will allow us to see Crofton in steam on the bank holiday, perhaps take in Stonehenge and other sites before boarding the WR and then quick home for the grand daughter’s high school graduation. A busy time.

    • I am so pleased the videos have been useful! I think you will enjoy your 2021 trip :-) Cheers

  2. As noted in previous comments, my experience thus far on the lovely canals of the UK has been working a wide beam on the Thames, K& A and GUC. The boat is a hotel boat and I pay good money to work my butt off.
    The Wessex Rose was engineered and built to fit the K & A and the GUC. there is one narrow spot on the GUC where the beam of 12ft 6″ just fits through at 12ft 5”. Very precise navigation required. I cannot say we have heard any bitching from narrowboaters about the boat so I take the comment here as coming from someone who just has to get up every morning and take their frustrations in their lives out on others. Those people are to be pitied.

  3. Great vlog!

  4. nice 1 m8, congratz on 5 years too! i’m betting, you’ve enjoyed 9 outa 10 moments on the boat over those 5 as well :)

  5. I really enjoyed this one David. Mark and Julie just seem like the nicest people, an excellent choice for giving a perspective on wide beam boating. I must admit , there definitely is a certain draw toward these boats, especially if one were considering living aboard long term. I recall your featuring one on your visit to Crick. I was surprised to learn just how much of the canal network is accessible to these boats. I’m sure others viewing the map which you so graciously included were thinking immediately the same thing . . . if only they would create a link to the North and South. I suspect that Wide Beam sales might jump exponentially. If this were the case, would the Narrowboat crowd mostly be against such a proposal? The question begs answering . . . does one come away from one of these with “Width Envy ?

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