pictures were taken on our first long distance cruise in Taku, which
we acquired earlier this year from David Mawby Sales in Nottingham.
We did the Leicestershire Ring clockwise in June/July, and Taku performed
brilliantly over the 11 days.
We did the 140 miles and 100 locks with barely a mark on the boat,
a nearly broken nose for me, and a few hairy moments in locks and
tunnels. The scariest incidents were the drunken boat-loads of girls
and boys out on their weekend hire narrowboats, bouncing off everything
in sight: have you ever seen a family of 6 ducks surfing down a canal
on a boat's wake? Shouldn't there be laws about this?
The best moments were reaching the top of Foxton Locks in just over
an hour and looking down the staircase (see picture from halfway);
and mooring up in Braunstone after the scary 2000 yard S-bend tunnel,
passing 3 very well-behaved narrrow boats in the middle of it, luckily
there is an all-day pub for nervous types to recover in.
Best marina en route was certainly the excellent Raynsway marina at
Thurmaston north of Leicester, can't praise it enough, everything
to hand, all credit to Dave the manager, we stayed there 2 nights
getting Taku set up for the rest of the cruise. We also had a warm
welcome at Crick marina where we were the only GRP cruiser amongst
a huge collection of the biggest and brightest narrowboats we've ever
seen: the owners must all go there to polish the boats once a week!
The most amazing day was the rainy afternoon when we put the canopy
up and set off from Tamworth, cruising non-stop (no locks) to Fradley
Junction in 3 hours without seeing another boat on the move the whole
way: the other boaters did not want to get wet I suppose. It was incredibly
tranquil passing through the countryside and the villages with no
The worst day was the last day when we went from Fradley to Sawley
in a single day and had no luck: locks ALL 13 against us, queues,
rubbish in the locks and in the prop, slow boats, fast boats: moral
is to never to cruise against the clock, just as with driving really.
Top tip: some of the urban canals have quite a bit of rubbish floating
about: I found that a cook's knife taped onto the boathook was the
best means of removing carrier bags and weed.
All in all we can't wait for the next cruise.
Roger and Lynne Lainé