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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday in Little Venice London - On A Canal Boat

The canals have locks to raise and lower the boat from one canal to the next. This is the Camden Locks in North London.

There were several pretty mansions along the canal.

Canal Camper enjoy the old freight boats. they are rigged with full bathrooms and showers - just like a motor home - only slower. They are not cheap - prices range from $100k to $200k.
In a tunnel looking backward.

The canal boats are long and skinny - 70 feet by 6 feet.

The cabins were added later - they were open boats. They hauled a lot of coal into London for fireplaces.

Little Venice is a pretty part of London.

From the bridge in Little Venice.

3500 miles of canals still criss cross England. From 1800 to 1950 - they were the major way to transport good throughout the country. Today - mostly canal campers - navigate the waters.

We got on a 100 year old cargo boat at Little Venice. Our journey covered 4 miles in 1 hour - you can figure out the speed - in other words people could walk faster than we went. But this boat was capable of hauling 40 tons of cargo - being pulled by one horse. Today the boats have a small diesel engine chugging along - but they still are limited by the canal for speed. If you go any faster - you would pull the other boats from their moorings.

Many people live in their canals boats. They have coal stoves for heat and batteries for electricity. When the batteries get low their diesel engines re-charge them. Our boat was 72 feet long and 6 feet wide - you can see why they are called long boats.

All along the canal there is a footpath. At one time this was where the horses pulled the boats. We went through a 900 foot tunnel - in the old days they would push themselves through the tunnels with their legs.

Our tour was over at Camden Locks - a bazaar collection of street markets. From there we took the subway home.

Although we did not go through any locks - there were about 10 of them before the canal boat would reach the Thames. The lock gates are still operated by hand.

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