Our British friends were curious as to how we decided to rent a canal boat. Apparently a canal boat holiday is a Very British Holiday. Many people had stories of having done one as a kid with their families. I’m not sure where I got the idea, but I think I thought the kids would enjoy doing something active, and that it was something that doesn’t really exist in the US, that I know of. There are many canal networks and rental operators in the UK. Some of the canals go close to more sightseeing areas like Oxford or Stratford-on-Avon, but they looked pretty busy with boats and I didn’t want to be operating the boat in traffic. Also, some of the canal boats are pretty spartan. I was looking for a relatively quiet canal with a relatively comfy boat. This led us to the Monmouthshire and Brecon canal network (or, the Mon & Brec) in the Brecon Beacons national park in Wales. We rented our boat from Beacon Park Boats. Because the canal boat allowed dogs, Meg came too.
We again considered whether we should rent a car but decided that taking the train made more sense. We could have taken a slightly more direct route to Wales, but in the end it was easier to take the sleeper train to London and then the Great Western Railway west to Wales. This trip is where Meg really got her transportation stripes, riding multiple trains and buses (dogs are allowed), and then on the boat. On the smaller trains we did buy a ticket for her just so we could have some more room, but it wasn’t required. The sleeper train left from Leuchars at 11:23 p.m., arriving in London at Kings Cross at 7:00 a.m.
From there we gave Meg a walk, got some breakfast, and took a bus over to Paddington Station, where westbound trains leave from. Our train went to Newport, and there we changed trains for Abergavenny.
From Abergavenny we took a local bus to the village of Crickhowell on the River Usk, close to the point on the canal where our boat was located. In Crickhowell we picked up some groceries, had lunch at the Bridge End Inn, and then walked a little less than a mile to the boathouse on the canal.
I’m going to let a kid write the next post to tell you what our boat was like.