If you’re looking for a narrowboat, wide-beam or barge for sale in London or Herts on the Grand Union or River Lea, you may already have an idea about the things that you love about the canals. Here I’ve gathered together some of the reasons why boaters love their boats.

1. Getting away from it all. It’s a cliché but it’s true. Life slows down on the cut; you can escape from the everyday hustle and bustle. Even if you’re cruising in a city you see the place from a completely different angle. When you untie your ropes you can drift off into canal life for as long as you need to.

2. The People. Boaters, gongoozlers, cyclists and fishermen, they all get along in perfect harmony…? Maybe not, but when you meet other boaters they’ll give you a friendly boating nod, and if you share a few locks together you’ll be sure to strike up a conversation. It’s great to discover the diversity of people that use the waterways. People seem to say hello more than they do on the street.

3. Convenient moorings. Sometimes you can moor outside Tesco or Sainsbury’s and unload your shopping straight into your kitchen. Later that day you can moor at the boatyard to visit the chandlery. Other times you may moor up outside a lovely waterside pub and have no need for a taxi home if you stay until closing time. If you feel the need to get in touch with nature you can plan a cruise to include a very isolated mooring; somewhere with a beautiful rural view like a wild flower meadow, or near to a lock or weir with the comforting sound of running water.

4. History. I like it when old wharves and canal-side buildings remain with their original character, and who doesn’t want to stop and stare at a pair of traditional working boats or hotel boats chugging along, motor towing butty just as they did in times gone by?

5. The wildlife and the sense of calm. Any boat owner knows the rippling pattern that the sun makes reflected on to the ceiling on a lazy afternoon. It’s not unusual to see swans, ducks or even herons out and about.

6. 2000 miles of towpath: This is a long winding parkland in which to get active, especially if you’re into walking, running or cycling.

So whether you want to get away from the rat race and cruise into the English countryside, or if you fancy a city centre pied a terre, then welcome aboard. Someday soon you could be woken by a gang of aggressive geese, or the tapping of duck bills on the hull, instead of your usual alarm clock, and think, I’m glad to be a boater!


You may also like:
Living on a Boat: The Boatshed Guide (free) / Castle Marinas Welcome Liveaboards / Canal Diary 2012 / A slideshow of our boat of the moment./Blog Archive

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