From caravan to narrowboat

Published: Friday, 07 January 2022

THE very busy roads of today, notwithstanding the virus, has given Sheila and myself enough of caravanning, writes Tom Turner.

Being on a site by the river (I was told it was the Avon) and seeing boats sailing past few and far between each other we decided last August that that was going to be for us.

Taken by the facilities

We have fully looked into this, visiting places where boats are for sale and realised (what I am told are cruisers) on the rivers are secondary to what is usually used, which is a a narrowboat and we were very taken by the facilities that easily outstrip our old caravan and are so sound, not being the flimsy aluminium, but solid steel, but best of all realised that the rivers (and then we discovered the canals) are not at all like the hectic roads of today but nice and quite with hardly any traffic to speak of.

The initial shock of their price has now worn off, as you are getting what you are paying for, but having had no experience of this pastime are getting more and more confused as we meet more people attempting to sell us their boats, but at least they have decided us on the basics and that is one with a proper toilet into a tank (marvellous after years of carting stuff to dispose of!). Then of course the galley and saloon (we are now into the slang) and the luxury of a separate bedroom.


Another thing that we like is the heating and the ability to get out in the colder weather, but are completely flummoxed by the different methods, being advised to get a wood burning stove they being so pleasant to sit besides on cold nights. One person told that gas cetral heating is best - you can carry spare bottles so never run out.  But one showed us the diesel heater that he told needed nothing more that switching on to warm the installed radiators, with diesel taken from the tank (that feeds the engine.)  But as Sheila pointed out to me all the salesmen were trying to sell us boats with that particular feature!

As now fully retired we like the idea of extending our holidays into the colder weather and so want a reliable and well heated interior to the boat, and of course have been told only of the advantages of the particular systems and wonder if anyone with experience of different kinds of heating could advise. I ask for this as I am not of course interested in knowing how a person's own heating is of course favoured, but someone with experience of all the methods of heating. (Or perhaps I am asking too much!)

I await with interest.