Friday, July 18, 2014

Guest Blogger Steve Burton Reviews Canal Boats!

I have just returned from a week spent on a timeshare canal boat which is based at Anderton marina in Cheshire and I would like to write a review for Timeshare Insights.  There are nine timeshare boats based at Anderton  marina. There are five two bedroom sleep six boats and four one bedroom sleep four boats.

I believe that before you even collect the boat its important to decide what type of boating holiday you are seeking to have as it could be that you are wishing to spend most of the day cruising the canals in which case it is just about possible in one week to complete the Cheshire ring which will see you cruising numerous canals covering ninety seven miles and ninety two locks. I decided that this was too much cruising for my personal taste as I wanted to have a leisurely vacation rather than a trip which would give me little time to explore the towns and villages on my route. I decided therefore to travel from the marina at Anderton to Timperley in part so I could spend a day with my elderly mother. The route took me from the Trent and Mersey canal to the Bridgewater canal which by the way was the first canal to be built in England.

I found the Trent and Mersey canal to be challenging in parts because the canal boat has to be taken through three dark and narrow tunnels these are Preston Brook which is 1239 yards in length, Saltersford  is 424 yards and Barnton is 572 yards in length. At the Preston Brook and Saltersford tunnels boats can only enter at certain times of the day so to avoid meeting an oncoming boat in the middle of the tunnel. Having said that I was speaking to a man yesterday who had actually swum through these tunnels for a bet. This was not the greatest idea in my humble opinion as what would have happened if he had met an oncoming boat!!!!!!!!!!! Not only are these tunnels dark, damp and narrow neither are they straight which adds to the challenge of navigating through them without banging the side of the canal boat against the walls of the tunnels. In addition to that I found parts of the Trent and Mersey to be narrow especially if you meet an oncoming boat. I intend to get all of the negatives out of the way before I tell readers the positives regarding my week on a canal boat in Cheshire. I was talking to an experienced boatman while waiting to enter Preston Brook tunnel and he told me that canal boats are difficult to control if it is windy and he also reminded me that it was not much fun steering a canal boat if it is raining due to the fact that the boat is steered by somebody at the stern which by design is outside the cabin.

I think that this is enough of the negatives so please let me tell you that if you get good weather as we did then arranging an RCI exchange to a canal boat is one of the best timeshare vacations that you can ever confirm. I still remember with great fondness two weeks spent in the mid 1980's on Swan Cruisers on the river Thames. Sadly this timeshare is no longer in existence but there are plenty of other timeshare boating opportunities available in England through RCI. As many RCI members know all too well availability in the summer months is very limited hence I believe that RCI members would do well to consider a boating holiday in England.

I left the Trent and Mersey canal near Preston Brook where there is a small lock and then I joined the Bridgewater canal. I found cruising on that canal very enjoyable as it is much wider than the Trent and Mersey canal hence it was no problem if I met an oncoming boat other than if it was when I was about to travel under a bridge where the canal invariably narrows. At several places on my route from Anderton to Timperley there were pubs and grocery shops. My favourite village was Lymm so we moored near the village one night and explored that lovely location.

A positive feature of this type of vacation is the fact that you can go where you want at your own pace. As an example you can visit the famous Anderton lift which is located just a few hundred yards from the marina. If you wish you can take purchase tickets to see how the Anderton lift works and also take a boat trip down the Weaver navigation. It is also possible to take you canal boat down the Anderton lift to the Weaver navigation providing this is not the first time that you have been on a canal boat holiday. Strangely enough it appears to me that due to its width navigation on the Weaver is far easier than navigating parts of the Trent and Mersey canal.

I believe that I should mention that because of the nature of the holiday that at least two able bodied people are required in order to be able to operate the boat safely. This is a requirement of the Canal boat club which I agree with though I did see several experienced boatmen managing to operate their boats on their own. I should also mention that unlike the vast majority of timeshare opportunities in the UK up to two dogs are allowed on the boats but there is a charge of thirty pounds per dog for each week. There is also a utility charge as is common in timeshares in the UK but not in the USA for some reason plus a charge for the cost of the fuel used during your trip. There is also a fifty pound optional insurance charge to cover most but not all potential damage to the boat.

I am well aware that most readers of Timeshare Insights are Americans who find it very difficult to get RCI exchanges to timeshare resorts in my country so in my humble opinion you should give serious consideration to having a different type of summer vacation on a canal boat in England.

This sounds like an incredible holiday opportunity!  Thanks, Steve.


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