About Us

My photo
In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Unprepared hirers.

I reckon the boater we talked to last night was just scare mongering as we had a lovely peaceful night without any incident at all. Even the youths on the bridge just kept going and didn't even give us a second glance. It wasn't until around 7am this morning that the peace was shattered by two Aqua Hire boats out of Mercia Marina, careering past us at full throttle. Our boat tilted alarmingly  and it was a wonder none of my kitchen stuff  ended up on the floor. To add insult to injury they then put the boats hard into reverse as they had missed the junction and wanted to go up the Wolverhampton 21. I got up muttering to myself about inconsiderate boaters, took Jade over the bridge toward the lock only to find one boat in the lock and the other in the junction entrance.   I was all prepared to say something to them about slowing down, when I heard one of  them say to another that they couldn't operate the paddles. Thats when I realised that they had no idea that they needed a handcuff key. So instead of having a rant I offered my assistance. A key was duly found and I showed them how to unlock the paddle gear but gave them strict instructions that the last boat through was to lock them up again. They were ever so grateful for my help. I did comment on the speed at which they passed us and they were really apologetic.Apparently they were told that doing the Stafordshire ring was doable in a week, 104 miles and 98 locks. What they hadn't been told was the amount of cruising required to do it. They were now 3 days into the cruise and still had to do part of the Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Coventry canals before heading back up the T&M. To say the were peeved about the amount of cruising they had to do was an understatement.
I left them to it and, on getting back to the boat, found Ian dressed, toast and tea made, satelite dish down and put away and tiller already on. Okay I got the message. We were ready to get underway.
The journey toward Gailey went without hitch. We didnt even meet a boat in the narrow cutting between Bridge 67 & 68. It was so hot by lunchtime that we managed to find a shady mooring before the top lock at Gailey to have lunch. Thats when we got the chairs out, sat on the towpath with a beer and decided not to move any further today.

Hope he doesn't poop!!!

The narrows

Unusual coloured duck

Gailey moorings.


Andy Healey said...

We moor at Alvechurch, and often see the hirers going out in summer, to be fair they give more tuition than we got at Norbury Junction years ago on our first hiring when the yard man leaped of at the first bridge, ie the road next the Junction leaving us to crash and bang down the long term moorings. But what is worrying for me is the non mixed parties of young males who leave Alvechurch heading for Birmingham at around 5 on a Friday. Not a time you would want to head through Wast Hill in the Alvechurch direction!!

Andy, NB Centurion (shared owner)

Aqua Narrowboats said...

Hi Ian & Irene
Interesting to read your comments about the two couple's on Aqua Leven and Aqua Jeta. As always in life there is always two sides to the tale.

Both myself and the handover crew explained that the Staffordshire Ring is 'Do-able' in a week, as we have many hirers completing the ring in this timescale. However we always explain that some long days are required to tackle the ring and it's nearly 100 locks. I recall recommending to them it would be best to check there location on Tuesday evening and if needs be turnaround and head back.
Handcuff keys are also explained and pointed out during the handover.
So for the hirers to tell you that information wasn't provided is simply untrue. I'm more than happy to call hirers if boaters speak to us if they've a complaint or have concerns about our handover procedure. This gives us the chance to explain before being judged on our procedures.
I'll be calling the hirers this morning to ask them to slow down passed moored boats (something that are also aware of).
Kind regards
Justin Hudson-Oldroyd
MD - Aqua Narrowboats.

Anonymous said...

I can vouch for Aqua having hired one of their boats, they also sent me a boaters handbook before I went on my holiday. We were actually given quite a long handover, longer than I have had at other hire bases. It's a shame that some hirers do speed, but a hire boat I was on, was almost sunk once by an owner intent on getting past us. Must have been scary for you though, I know when the boat passed us the bobbing up and down and side to side really freaked me out!! Carol Blog Virgin

Blog Archive