So the first thing to consider was where do we want to live?
We both have full time jobs which are just over 80 miles apart, so finding a location that works for us both is a bit of a logistical nightmare. However from what we have been able to find out so far where we decide to locate our narrow home is the most important decision to make.
Of course a great number of those living aboard make the most of canal side moorings or as we have discovered it is called continuous cruising, but these do come with their limitations, having to move every 14 days and no real sense of home is something which just wouldn’t work for us. This leaves us looking for a permanent mooring in one of the plethora of marinas on the canal ways.
As marina spaces aren’t in surplus, especially in more desirable locations, (thankfully this seems to apply more to London and Oxford areas, which are out of our search area) this first step is vital to get underway as soon as possible.
The search began and I hit google maps hard! We were instantly surprised by how much canal network there is, around 2000 miles and the location of these canals seem nearly perfect for commuting from. I suppose when you consider it thats exactly what they were designed for, transporting goods from industrial areas to cities.
We concentrated our search in an area north of Northampton and South of Lutterworth, nice and close to the M1 motorway to make both our commutes as simple as possible. This gave us an incredible choice of marinas to look at. Browsing through the websites of them all and looking at how they would fit with our commutes, we started to narrow (no pun intended) our list down, grabbed the car keys and took to the roads.
So what did we discover? After driving to many of the marinas you realise how deceptive pictures and websites can be, beautiful country side one way and a roaring train track the other, which seemed in constant use even on a Sunday!
So surprisingly the marinas which were originally top of our lists (naively because of fancy pants websites and photography skills), were the ones which disappointed us most upon visiting. As we got further into our day of marina hopping the ones which had been a lot lower down our preferred took us by surprise and we started to fall for them.
Whilst doing this we were also costing things up and whilst marina life will cost up to £3,000 a year more than continuously cruising, it offers you exactly what we want a secure environment with parking and amenities such as electric hook up (metered), water, WiFi, toilets, laundrettes and refuge. What’s more with the better ones you also get a community, with coffee shops, cafe’s and social events … we don’t even know our neighbours names at the minute, so the thought of a real community whilst foreign is exciting.
We think we have found the one just need to talk to them now, don’t want to name it so not to jinx it! Things seem to be moving a lot quicker than we ever expected, watch this space.
James & Kirsty