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The Bug Bit Hard


Our introduction to narrowboating came in the form of a near-derelict ex-hire boat called Hermitage. We knew nothing about narrowboats and much less about the Kennet and Avon canal, so Hermitage was a good project to cut our teeth on.

After stripping out and re-building the interior, then a coat or two (or three or four) of paint, Hermitage was a narrowboat that we were proud of.


But we wanted more


We had sampled the delights of narrowboating and seen some wonderful places and soon decided that we would like to explore the entire inland waterways in England.

The New Boat

With champagne taste and beer money, buying a fully-functional, ready-to-go boat was not an option and anyway, there wasn’t much fun in that. We would have to draw on blind luck, common sense and shear tenacity as we set about looking for a ‘project boat’ to fit out – not without its ups and down. Ian found ‘The New Boat’ on the internet. An unattractive grey battleship and was little more than a cold intimidating steel shell with a veteran engine and a delightful ,traditional ,boatman cabin. Almost in jest, the boat was named Winedown, and so our new project got underway.

The New Boat1.gif


Winedown is a 60ft traditional style narrowboat built by CoalCraft and powered by a Lister HA 2 diesel engine. She has a traditional, beautifully appointed and decorated boatman’s cabin behind the engine room which houses the veteran engine.

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John Forth lined the interior and ran a wiring loom for us amongst other things and then we asked a friend of his (another John) to paint her. So it was that our lined and painted ‘sail-away’ was ready to go to her new home. Frouds Bridge Marina.

IMG_0826.JPG Over the next few years Winedown was slowly transformed from an inhospitable project to a high-spec Dreamboat. Stepping down into the cabin from a large cratch area we have a settle-like seating in the lounge that converts into an occasional double sleeper or add a table for a dinette (not to mention the reclining chair for Ian in front of his television). This leads into a galley kitchen complete with granite worktops. The fixed double bedroom has a high ‘Captain’s bed’ with ample drawers for storage beneath. The walk-through bathroom continues the contemporary theme with a built-in washing machine, glass hand basin (with granite surround) and a corner shower.

Engine.gif The bathroom leads into the engine room… In the engine room, alongside the ‘traditional’ is the ‘new’. Ian has installed a Fisher Panda 4 ½ KVA diesel generator which will augment the bank of four leisure batteries (and one starter battery). A Power-master intelligent inverter completes the picture to look after our electrical needs. A Webasto diesel heater to heat water and provide central heating for the winter is also housed in the engine room.

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John and Maddy Forth initiated the fit-out when John hand crafted the beautiful traditional boatman’s cabin, and Maddy decorated it with ‘Roses and Castles’ artwork. Cherryl completed the soft furnishings

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