Welcome aboard

Many companies build boats, we build Boaters!

Atherstone top Lock




It has been a wonderful 12 years for us, offering unique long term hire and seeing our guests moving on from the RYA Helmsman's Course to becoming, after six months on the cut, probably amongst the most experienced boaters on the UK waterways.


During these 12 years we have never had a single complaint about our hirers, indeed the contrary is the case, as we ourselves travel the waterways many recognise our boats and ask where "Pere and Jan", or Sandra and Geoff" are.


We have been proud to offer the highest quality boats, maintained far in excess of requirements with a full service every 200 hours, and never a penny pinched - preferring happy customers over skimping for a couple of extra pounds profit.


We have enjoyed every single minute of working with customers to ensure they have a truly life affirming experience, and we have been proud to act as ambassadors for our beautiful and unique waterways.


Proud to have been "Carbon Neutral" before it became fashionable, (and now utterly essential), and even prouder to have only generated two black binbags of waste that cannot otherwise be reused, recycled, reimagined or repurposed in the last year and a half.


Proud to represent Sheffield, buying from our neighbouring boatbuilder and friend Jonathan Wilson, only using Sheffield cutlery on our boats and making our part of the Sheffield Canal more interesting - our historic wharf resplendent with our Pirate skeletons being the most photographed feature of the Sheffield Canal.


But all the joys and celebrations have been undermined and eroded by constantly having to do battle with "CRT", the Canal and River Trust (previously known as British Waterways).


CRT are not only anti waterways business, they are deliberately antagonistic, unhelpful, obstructive, officious, inept and institutionally incompetent.  Their 'on the ground' staff, especially lock keepers are absolutely superb however, but anyone in an office will have had special training in being unhelpful and officious.  We have lost count of the number of times we've had to threaten legal action against them.


Our frustration and disappointment with CRT came to a head last year though.  The bicentennial celebration of the Sheffield Canal. After 10 years of drawing attention to the abysmal state of the towpath between Victoria Quays (Sheffield Canal Basin) and the start of the locks at Tinsley, being in many places impassable due to many a deeply rutted, muddy quagmire, the 200th Birthday celebrations were focussed at the Quays, with no regard to making the atrotious towpath even slightly accessible for wheelchair users or even families with a pram.  The celebrations (such as they were) consisted mainly of mutual backslapping of CRT officials and a floatila of boats from Don Valley to the Quays.


CRT have failed in their statutory obligation to ensure the towpath is accessible, counter to the Equality Act of 2010.

Having spent 12 years promoting the Sheffield Canal, making our canalside presence interesting and picturesque, we felt ashamed and embarrassed having to witness the state of many who'd braved the walk along the towpath.

Together with neglecting the disabled, CRT have consistently demonstrated a reluctance to support waterway businesses.  We are fortunate to have always self funded and have had no borrowing requirements, however due to lack of maintenance of their network with numerous breaches and stoppages, we have seen many colleague business fail with no support whatsoever from CRT.

In short, closing Sheffield Narrowboat, although sad to no longer being a part of the wonderful experience our customers share, will prove to be a welcome break from having to deal with CRT - who with experience, we now adopt an automatic default position of expecting difficulty.


To our many wonderful customers, colleages and waterway friends over the past 12 years, we thank you for making 'being a waterway business' a true joy, we love you all and will miss you.

To CRT, we'll be glad to never have to deal with you again.

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