It is perhaps no secret that the best time to enjoy a narrowboat hire is from late spring until just before the cold begins to bite in Autumn.
Many renters and owners alike tend to do most of their adventuring during the warmer half of the year, but if you are committed to living the canal life and enjoying the unique, crisp beauty of the canals in winter, it is essential to be prepared.
The first step is to ensure your heating system has been recently serviced and is fit for purpose, and in that respect, you have a few options to choose from:
- Multi-fuel stoves have always been a highly popular option, as they are exceptionally easy to use, relatively easy to install, can be used with a range of different solid fuel sources such as wood or coal, and the fire absorbs humidity, avoiding problems with condensation on deck.
- Alternatively, there are diesel-fired central heating systems that use diesel fuel to power a boiler similar to those found in a conventional home, which allows not only for heat but also supplied hot water, although it will need a qualified service each year.
- Finally, there are gas central heating systems that run from a gas bottle, which whilst not compatible with a timer can be more easily refuelled using your gas bottles.
Whichever stove you have, make sure it is serviced and checked before winter and stock up on fuel, as a cold snap could potentially leave you frozen in place, wherever that leaves you on the canal network.
As well as this stock up well, apply for a winter moorings permit and try to get a mooring point near shops or services. If there are none available, at least try to get one near a pub where you can keep warm for a few hours.
Wrap up warm, take turns at the stern and drink hot drinks such as tea, coffee or hot chocolate whilst navigating.
Avoid breaking the ice if at all possible, as tall this will do is damage your hull and your engine.