Thursday, 14 May 2009

More Canoodling

Okay, still with me.

Psst - wanna go boating on the cheap ??

These are the ingredients you will need to make Canoodle Soup:

1 - Canoe - e.g. like a Mobile Adventure 16 Open Canoe (available on Ebay Uk for £276

      next bid price). Brand new boats range from £680 to several thousand.

2 - A Paddle - from £25

3 - A Buoyancy Aid - from £30

4 - A British Canoe Union membership - £32.75 (licence for 4500Km of UK water)

Take the ingedients, throw them into or onto the car, drive a short distance to the nearest water and add a picnic to taste. Paddle gently and soak up the summer sun.

So potentially, boating on our canals and rivers for £363.75

Compare that to the costs of owning and maintaining a narrowboat !!

Of course, I over simplify. In practice, you will need a car or similar way of getting your boat to the river or a canal (unless you are lucky enough to live next to an inland waterway).

Most people strap their canoe to a car roof rack - modern canoes are usually plastic and weigh something like 30Kg + .

Unless you are Hercules, you will need a friends help to lift the boat on and off the car and carry it around the locks (technically, you are not allowed to work through the locks and it would be a waste of water anyway).

However, some solo paddlers carry a little foldable wheeled trolley and are quite adept at getting the boat on and off the car roof alone and then using the trolley to wheel around the locks. Also, if you are on a busy stretch of canal, you can usually get through the locks with narrowboats (I didn't tell you this !!).

So, there you have it. If you get hooked, you will surround yourself with lots of kit and other canoeing paraphernalia.

Its like the old story of the guy who goes in the New York department store to buy a new fishing fly and ends up coming out with a canoe for him to fish from, as the salesman was so persuasive.

Once you have a canoe, you will want a real wooden paddle, a pair of salopette trousers to keep you dry, a silly floppy hat to keep the sun out of your eyes, paddling boots and so on.  

However, all joking aside, it is a cost effective way of getting afloat. If you have a garage or garden, most canoes, (which range from 14-17ft in length) can be kept there and are quite happy being stored outside all year round.

Although we have a narrowboat, we keep an inflatable canoe stored in a rucksack inside the boat.


This enables us to go for a paddle and explore quiet, little (read shallow) backwaters for a drift and a bottle of wine. We call the canoe Shamu, because it reminds us of a killer whale - note no hint of sexuality with canoes - none of that "doesn't she handle superbly, Rupert" with canoes.

Shamu can be inflated in ten minutes and rolled away when not in use - mmm..

Whatever your choice of canoe, the act of paddling your own canoe is a great way to relieve stress. Not physically demanding, there is a multitude of different strokes and with a little bit of practise, you can make the boat go, any which way you want.

See you on the water !!!

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