Messing around on the river

on the riverWe make a summer bucket list each year. Not everything is ticked off before we find ourselves clambering around for sports bags and school shoes which I swore I had stowed in a sensible place this time. Some items on the list are old favourites. Flying kites and crazy golf are always there. Without fail.

This year, I think we have found another favourite. Messing around on the river.

on the boatIn all fairness, we did hire a rowing boat last year, up in the Lake District, so maybe the tradition started last year.

This year, we hired a boat to go along the Kennet and Avon canal.

on the river canal boatsA very relaxing way to explore the canal. We took a picnic and headed along the canal from Limpey Stoke over to Bradford-upon-Avon. There are canal boats moored along the way.


The children didn’t grow bored of looking at each one and enjoying the names of the boats. They were intrigued at the idea that some people lived full time on the boats. Even spotted cats curled up in the sun on the boats. Some boats had the most amazing container gardens, providing them with fresh food.

boating on the Avon and KennetEach of the children had a go at steering the boat. Eldest became quite proficient at it. This is not a speed boat. We were advised to stick to walking speed which suited me. It was perfect for wildlife spotting.

heron on side of canalThere were several herons along the banks. They obviously had the measure of the crazy humans in boats and realised that they were pretty safe, as they chose not to fly away, but to watch us. We spotted a lady shoo one out of her canal side garden, and it was most reluctant to leave. On our return trip, I noticed it was in another part of the same garden. A determined bird, who knew an easy meal, I think.

We also caught a glimpse of a kingfisher. There were a few little holes in the muddy banks, but no sign of their residents.

duck flyingThere were plenty of ducks that flocked as soon as they saw boats, in the hope of being fed.

The captain and his fatherOur route took us over an aquaduct which goes over the river Avon. It is quite a sight. Not easy to appreciate when you are on a boat, as the walls block the view. We have walked over it before.

aquaductWe passed plenty of other people, enjoying the canal. There were canoes, paddle boards and narrow boats, of course. Lots of people obviously holidaying in narrow boats. Must be lovely to wake up in the morning, when it is quiet, and see the wildlife.

kennet and avon canal boat rideIt was a fabulous afternoon. We really loved messing around on the river. We are hoping to get some canoes sometime soon. So maybe this family tradition will carry on.
Linking up bit later than usual to Fiona’s inspirational #CountryKids linky.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

*I really should add that it wasn’t until we were half way to Bradford, that we realised that the children didn’t have life jackets on. Oops! The canal is relatively shallow and the children are all confident swimmers. Next time, I’ll make sure they are properly attired from the start. Despite the title of this blog post, they were very sensible and there was no messing around.

15 thoughts on “Messing around on the river

  • Monday 5 September, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    We live near a canal and I love to spot the names of the boats. My gran used to collect the names so I can imagine doing this with my son one day. We want to get canoes one day. I love being on water. If your kids are confident swimmers I wouldn’t worry that you forgot the life jackets! No accidents! #countrykids

    • Tuesday 6 September, 2016 at 1:40 pm

      Lucky you living near a canal. Like the idea of collecting names. You are right. No harm done.

  • Tuesday 6 September, 2016 at 11:54 am

    This is such a lovely lovely experience! I am so in love with boating even though I am totally scared of water and boating is one of my bucketlist in life.


    • Tuesday 6 September, 2016 at 1:41 pm

      Hope you make it one day. It was very relaxing.

  • Tuesday 6 September, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    What fun! That looks wonderful.

    • Saturday 10 September, 2016 at 9:28 am

      It was. Thanks Lisa

  • Tuesday 6 September, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    I love this, what a great experience for everyone! Great photos – I love the duck and the heron photos!
    Look like a great boat trip along the canal 🙂 #countrykids

    • Saturday 10 September, 2016 at 9:30 am

      It was a fun new experience.

    • Saturday 10 September, 2016 at 11:25 am

      It was great. Expanded their experience that little bit more. I think after steering they had all grown an inch or two. 🙂

  • Wednesday 7 September, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    What a fabulous day out. We had a narrowboat holiday a few years back on the Kennet and Avon canal and it was utterly blissful. Love all the photos of the wildlife and your children look like they were enjoying helping to steer the boat.

    • Saturday 10 September, 2016 at 11:26 am

      A canal holiday sounds like a lovely relaxing way to spend your time.

  • Thursday 8 September, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Hee! I do like your disclaimer about the children and their lifejackets…I didn’t even notice!
    Your day looks amazing and spending time looking at life on the river looks great. We often seen the narrow boats on the river at Stratford but have never been in one. It really does look narrow! I can imagine looking at life on the river must be quite tranquil even with the children!
    I bet they all enjoyed their time steering the boat – what a great experience for everyone

    • Saturday 10 September, 2016 at 11:29 am

      I’d hoped at the slower pace we would see wildlife. It was probably too busy to see much. I suspect early morning would be best. The children all enjoyed steering.

  • Thursday 8 September, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    I can imagine what a wonderful day this must have been. there is something about the pace of life on a river that makes you relax into the way of life and hours just melt away. We did just a couple of ours on a self drive boat earlier in the summer and I couldn’t believe where the time went. How fab for the kids to each have a chance to take charge of the wheel and so much to spot along the banks as you passed.

    Thank you for sharing a gorgeous looking day with me on #CountryKids

    • Saturday 10 September, 2016 at 11:43 am

      I remember your trip. The time does fly. I know ours loved having the chance to steer and were so responsible about it. A great day out.

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