We are Pete and Dave and welcome to our web site.
It’s all about the building of our narrowboat and our adventures in it. The narrowboat is called “Hyskeir” (pronounced hess-key-er), named after the island in the Hebrides from which the engine came. We have a certificate from the Anson Engine Museum which shows that the engine (an old Gardner 3LW) started its life in 1963, and was delivered to the Northern Lighthouse Board as one of three generators for the Hyskeir Lighthouse.
The dream all started during a holiday in the Autumn of 2006, in the South West of France, in a place called Trèbes near Carcassonne on the Canal du Midi. We hired a gite (featured on the TV Food Programme “Rick Stein’s French Odyssey”) and we had many pleasurable hours there, wining and dining on the bank of the canal, watching the boats go by. “Why aren’t we doing this?” we thought. Just along from the gite are the locks at Trèbes where we watched many private and hire boats passing through, of all types both large and small, GRP (fibreglass) and steel. It was then that we thought it would be nice to own a boat ourselves but the question was, could we afford it? We might if we sold the house and downsized!
In the following Spring 2007, we fell in love with the idea of having a Dutch Barge in France and investigated the possibilities of having one built in the UK. Many boat builders were visited and later, an invitation came from one of them for us to go on a familiarisation trip to Burgundy in Central France, where we were allowed to try one out for a few days. We were sold with the boating idea especially in France but unfortunately, the cost of the whole thing proved to be out of our reach. The remainder of that year was spent pondering other possibilities and it was then that we decided to acquire a narrowboat in the UK and later, maybe, take it to France.
After visiting many narrowboat builders and boating shows in the UK, we eventually placed an order with Barry Hawkins Boatbuilders at Atherstone in Warwickshire in January 2008. Our requirements were for a traditional “Northwich” style with a tug deck, a traditional engine in its own engine room, and a Boatman’s cabin. Trying to get all this in to a 62ft length proved to be a challenge. We considered a 70 footer and a shorter 58ft but on balance, 62 ft seemed a good compromise.
The subsequent events are all recorded in the Journal pages that follow. See the “Journals” link.
There are many photographs showing different stages of the build and subsequent cruises, and these are contained in the albums in the “Gallery” page.
Please feel free to let us have any comments by linking with the “Blog”.
Thank you for looking and we hope you enjoy the content.
Pete & Dave