‘Don’t fall in!’ Readers’ tips for the perfect canal boat holiday

‘Don’t fall in!’ Readers’ tips for the perfect canal boat holiday

Nothing beats experience when it comes to handling a narrowboat – or making the most of life when you’re moored and chilling out. Old hands explain what to wear, what to pack and how to get unstuck if you run aground

Newbies on the tiller have an obvious tell: they zig-zag down the canal. That’s because they don’t give time for the boat to respond to their steer – it does take a moment. Bear this in mind, be patient and avoid oversteering. Remember you moor, rather than park the boat, and the canalside is a towpath, not the “bank”. Put time into planning your route: working out where to finish every day (preferably by a pub), building in contingencies in case of rain or other hold-ups, as well as things to do on land and, for trips longer than a weekend, water points. Embrace the change of pace and give yourself over fully to the way of the canals, where 4mph is top speed! Let getting to the pub on time or finding a good mooring spot be your priorities and try to leave everything else at home. David Lawrence, civil servant, London

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