Thursday, November 02, 2006

Composting Toilets

Well that's decided then, since we read the reviews in Waterways World about these units and weighed up the pros and cons we are definitely going for the pumpout toilet on our boat with the backup of a cassette unit. We thought that they answered all a boaters needs to keep things simple but they seem far from that, yes Mark I know you will be glad and we agree that they are bloody ugly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! so thats sorted then.

Monmouth & Brecon

We decided that we needed to practice our boat handling skills on a longer narrowboat, our main experience is on our parents 33' narrowboat so we booked a 54' hire boat from the red line hire company at Goytre Wharf on the Mon & Brec canal. I believe this is the largest boat that can navigate this system so we thought it would be a good challenge. We decided to take this break on this canal as is it isolated from the network so we wont be able to get on it once we start our new lives as liveaboards.

By the time we got there, received the handing over brief then nipped off to get some supplies from the local Tescos time was getting on and the light starting to fade so we decided to stay overnight on the boat at the boatyard and get an early start the next day. Well morning came and moment of truth was upon us, we warmed up the engine and looked at what seemed to be a very tight turn onto the canal from the wharf. It wasn't as bad as it looked and we set off what was to be a fantastic journey along this beautiful if not shallow canal.

We soon settled into narrowboat time and chilled out taking in the stunning views and was pleased in how much easier it was to handle a boat of this length than we thought it might be. What surprised us is that the canal is built half way up the hillside for a fair part of its length, but this does offer the spectacular views that we had been promised from the guides we had read. We had been warned about the Tunnel from the boatyard and although this was not as bad as they made out they were definitly correct about the gauge boards being wrong at either end, as the tunnel was far lower than these in the middle. What made us a little more concerned was the boat we were on apparantly got wedged in the tunnel on its first outing by the hand rails, we were told that the yard had to go and cut the the rails off to free the boat (they have now fitted lower profile handrails but they still are close in the middle section). All in all we would recommend this trip to anyone as this must be one of the most picturesque canals in Britain but we can't wait until our boat is done and we find out for ourselves.