Regretably our 2014 canal trip has been
cancelled. We are currently unsure if we will be offering a
trip in 2015, but if you are interested, please drop us a line
- your interest could make all the difference! The information
below pertains to the very successful expedition, made by nine
Canadians, five Americans and one Brit; in July/August 2011.
FLOAT TO THE FESTIVAL IX
During the Industrial Revolution, in the era immediately prior to the implementation of railway building, thousands of miles of canals were constructed and for over 100 years they efficiently transported freight between the great industrial and port cities of Britain. Though appearing to fall into disuse in the early part of the twentieth century, in the past few decades the English canal system has seen a second lease on life as one of the most relaxing and unique vacation choices imaginable. Like floating recreational vehicles, a mere 7 feet wide, yet up to 70 feet in length, canal boats once again ply their way through the heart of England at a leisurely 3 mph.
Our expedition will commence, on Monday morning, when we pick up our group at an hotel close by Heathrow airport and drive (less than 2 hours) to the boatyard, in Napton, on the Warwickshire Ring Canal. Following a brief operational training and safety session we shall ensconce ourselves in a pair of luxury canal boats which will be our home and transportation for the next 14 days. During our trip we shall travel through the countryside; taking a leisurely two days to arrive in the medieval city of Warwick, on the Wednesday. Most evenings we will be mooring at a friendly canal-side pub, or visiting local folk clubs where we shall be joined by some of England's finest folksingers. Plenty of opportunities will be available for us to make side trips to galleries, theatres, exhibitions, museums, breweries, etc.; all facilitated by our own minibus; driven, as on previous trips, by our old friend Pam Wilkins.
The ancient city of Warwick, and its world-class Folk Festival will be our sojourn for the first weekend of the trip. We shall have booked moorings in a quiet nook of the Saltisford Arm Canal Trust. This is about a 10 minute walk from the centre of Warwick, and about 20 minutes from the furthest performance venues. There is much heritage to experience in Warwick, so Thursday will be given over to whatever explorations each of us wishes to pursue… the castle, Lord Leycester Hospital, sun-dial spotting (there are several dozen dotted around the town), investigate local hostelries, etc. Later side-trips will include; but not be limited to; a visit to Stratford on Avon for performance of a Shakespeare play, and a day out at the Black Country Living Museum.
We shall return to Napton on morning of Monday, August 8th, when you will be driven back to Heathrow airport or (if desired) to some other terminus for onward travel.
As “crew-mates” we become very close… in more ways than just being on a boat!
Whilst our boats are certainly comfortable (and the very best available), space will be at a premium. In order to keep things running smoothly it is not our intention that many meals be prepared on board. A comprehensive bill of breakfast fare (coffee, tea, milk, OJ, breads, muffins, eggs, cereals, snacks, etc.) will be available for self-service (including dishwashing!). Snack lunches will be supplied on the same basis. Each morning a shopping list will be prepared, to top-up our supply of comestibles. Should anyone have special dietary requirements you will be taken grocery shopping so that you may have whatever you require to hand, in order prepare your own meals.
Overnight, doors close to make cabins (twin or double) private. The comfortable and modern bathroom facilities are accessed without the necessity of passing through anyone else‘s sleeping space. (There will be no reveille, though we shall probably check that you are actually on board, prior to casting off in the morning!)
The galley and dining areas have been thoughtfully designed for comfort and convenience within the constraints of a 7 ft.-wide hull. NB … male crew-members also do food prep and clearing up!
Although a vacation on the canals is extremely relaxing, it is highly participatory; much of the enjoyment comes from everyone's involvement in driving the boats, operating the locks and generally ‘mucking in’. In this sense you will be signing-on not just as passengers but also as crew, so please consider this an ‘activity vacation’. However; we shall have plenty of folks eager to steer the boats, handle the lines, work the locks, etc. They also serve who make tea and wash dishes! Please click here for an overview of "Locks: Uphill and downhill on a boat".
Due to currency fluctuations and boat rental increases, cost is difficult to estimate, for a date almost 12 months away. However, we are fairly confident that we can hold the price below (perhaps considerably below) $2,600 (Can.) $2,500 (U.S.) per person and will include the following:-
- 14 nights accommodation (in a private “twin” or “double”, en-suite cabin)
- self-service breakfasts and lunchtime snacks on a luxury “narrowboat”
- Towels (not wash cloths) & bedding
- Transportation between appropriate (British) termini and Napton Marina
- Transportation to and from side-trips, errands, folk clubs, etc.
- Weekend tickets for the Warwick Folk Festival
- All other folk music events
- Incoming “cellular” telephone calls
- Full boat damage insurance
- Limited accident, loss and medical insurance
NOT included in the price shown above are:-
- Airline travel costs
- Dinners, alcoholic beverages, etc.
- Trip cancellation insurance
- Vacation medical insurance
- Entrance charges on side-trips, such as museums, theatres, etc.
Although our few previous experiences with the British National Health Service have been universally positive (and totally free!); we strongly recommend that you take out trip cancellation and medical insurance!
We recognize that most of our canalees come as “couples”; which eminently suits the twin or double lay-out of cabins. However; we do welcome “solos” (of both genders), and are usually able to successfully match-up trip-mates.
As we shall need to reserve our chosen boats before the end of October 2010, we will require deposit checks by that date. Reservations will be confirmed upon receipt of a 30% deposit; the balance due by February 28th 2011. This deposit is non-refundable. Should your personal circumstances force cancellation after the balance has been paid then, regrettably, 50% of the total cost will be forfeit! We do keep a “stand-by” list and, in the event that anyone with a reservation is forced to cancel, we will do our very best to substitute from the stand-by group. If; after payment of the full cost of the trip; such cancellation is required, and substitution is arranged, we will refund all of the monies rendered, apart from the initial deposit.
If any of this interests you, if you’ve got any questions, . If you’d like to find out what some of our previous canalees themselves enjoyed, please visit: Float to the Festival 2000 (Warwick), Two Weeks on the English Canals (Warwick 2002) or The 2006 narrowboat tour of Wales and England (Chester).
IMAGES ON THIS PAGE ARE OF THE BOATS WE HAVE ALREADY RESERVED
YOU CAN CONTACT TOM AND LYN
By mail at:
14 Library Road
Bournemouth BH9 2QH UK
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