Festival on a Boat 1st & 2nd Sept 2018

Every year the small village of Shackerstone hosts a family festival with lost of things to do, including Craft, Medieval re-enactments and food stalls along-side much much more.

The event usually draws up to 15000 people every year and this year there is even more. Why not stay on a Luxury Narrowboat and enjoy the festival that runs from 1st and 2nd September 2018.

To find out more about the festival please go to or click on http://www.shackerstonefestival.co.uk/

To find out more about our luxury Narrowboat click on midlandmallard.com/

Canals Online

Moira Canal Festival 19th – 20th May 2018

In 1804 the Ashby Canal was completed and served the coalfields in Derbyshire and Leicestershire. Running from Bedworth on the Coventry canal to Moira further north, the lock free Ashby canal ran a distance of around 30 miles but in 1944 the Moira section was closed and a further closure of the section from Snarestone was also closed in 1966. The section at Moira based within the national forest later received funding and was restored back to its original glory in 2000, this included the restoration of bridge 62 and further winding holes were introduced.

moira-furnace

The Moira canal festival is held every year to raise funds for the further restoration of the Ashby canal and this year hopes to entertain the public with live music, medieval re-enactments, Narrowboat exhibitions, Morris dancing, children’s crafts and a memorial flypast.

Opening hours are from 10:00 – 17:00 and admission prices are £5 for adults and £2.50 for children with free car parking available. Further reading and link to the official website can be found here. 

To visit the Moira canal festival Follow the festival signs to the Moira Furnace Museum, Furnace Lane, Moira, DE12 6AT.

Why not spend that weekend living on a Narrowboat? We offer luxury canal boat holidays on the Ashby canal based at Bosworth Marina a stones throw from the festival. All prices and further information can be found on our website by clicking here…

 

Spring Me a Cup Of Tea Please!

Midland Mallard Radios.
Midland Mallard Radios.

This spring Midland Mallard are introducing a new product to enable better communication between the captain and group members whilst steering the boat.

Having listened to your suggestion in 2017 we are introducing two way radios to help you speak with your group.  Long gone are the days when you are desperate for a coffee but your group are relaxing at the Bow of the boat whilst you steer them about,  Canal boat journeys around the Ashby canal will no longer be a waiting game for the Skipper,  you can now contact them instantly,  that’s right there will be a constant flow of drinks for the Captain!

Order your cup of tea or coffee at the click of a button or send your helpers out to look for mooring spaces in advance with the Motorola H20 waterproof two way radios.

The new system will be in operation from the Spring of 2018 and on-wards and we are awaiting your feedback.  Why not book for this spring and be the first to test them out?

Click on the following link to contact us 

The Ashby Canal is one of the most beautiful canals in the country and spring is one of the best times to see it in its full glory so why not book your Canal Boat Holiday with us!

Best regards!

Midland Mallard

Pictures from the Rail Ale Festival Market Bosworth

The rail ale festival which took place at the weekend was a great success with lots to see and do.  Our visitors Angela and Gary from London had a great time at the festival enjoying the plethora of ales, music and comedy.

There were lots of traction engines as always again this year some of which are shown below…

We are taking bookings for next year so be sure not to miss out on this family festival in 2018.

Thanks for viewing canal boat holidays on the Ashby canal in the Midlands.

Midland Mallard

Real Ale Festival 2017 and Narrowboat Hire

This years Market Bosworth Rail Ale festival is nearly upon us!  Why not spend the weekend living on-board our luxury narrowboat just a stones throw away from the annual festival based at the Market Bosworth steam train station?

Rail ale festival market bosworth
Real Ale Festival 2017

Serving up 80 Real Ales
Over 30 Ciders & Perries
Pimms Bar
Featuring Steam Trains
Live Entertainment – Dr Busker and Natalie Nightingale
Traction Engines
Morris Dancers
Hot/Cold Food
Children Welcome

Book a six berth narrowboat with friends or family and enjoy the festival.  Or why not take a steam train up and down the Battlefield line and visit the historic site of Bosworth Battlefield?

Click here to contact us and book your stay for three nights four nights or a full week.

From the Lime Kilns to the Rising Sun

This week we took a journey from The Lime Kilns Pub to the Rising Sun Pub on the Ashby Canal.

The Lime Kilns Pub is great place for a Real Ale and a Pie. Voted the Hinckley and district CAMRA pub of the year 2016, it sits neatly aside the Ashby Canal at bridge No 5 and can be found in the Good Beer Guide.  When we entered the pub “for the first time” there were instant home made aromas coming from the kitchen, as it turned out there were a number of home made pies being cooked up for guests.  Having never stepped foot in the Lime Kilns before I was unaware of the Landlord or Landlady.  So I was surprised to find out later on that the man I had just walked past at the door giving out free home made smoked cheeses was in-fact Gary the Landlord. We soon began chatting and it soon became apparent that this is the type of place “The Lime Kilns” is, and a place that we have become unaccustomed to since the rise of the large multi-national beer companies back in the 80’s and 90’s.  A place to relax and see craft in action in the form of great food and ale kept as fresh as a daisy with a lot of history and great scenery to back it up.

Lime Kilns

Keep up the great work Gary and we will be back soon!

The next Pub we will be blogging about will be the Rising Sun located at bridges 52 and 53 in the picturesque village of Shakerstone just a short trip up the Ashby Canal in the Midlands.

Rising Sun Pub.jpg

The Midlands Canal Network

About The Midlands!

The Midlands Geography

The Midlands is an area centrally located within England, part of the UK.  It currently has no designated administrative area , it therefore, lacks any strict definition. However, it is generally considered to include the counties of Derbyshire, Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Rutland, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, and Worcestershire.  Being as far inland as it is possible to be, the Midlands generally has a temperate climate with generally calm winds and warm summers.

History of the Midlands

The Midlands is considered to be the historical heartland of the Industrial revolution which came about during the period between 1760 and 1820. Incidentally, this period coincides exactly with the reign of King George III.  During this period, hand held tools and the human workforce began to be replaced by steam driven machines which were more reliable and could work around the clock. Machines based around the James Watt steam engine were changed to incorporate a circular motion thus replacing the piston motion engines of the past.  This enabled industry to create production line systems.  Due to these changes, and due to the large number of factories making textiles and popular products of the time, this made the Midlands a significant contributor at the cutting edge of the industrial revolution.

The Midlands Canal Network

The midlands canal network first came into being in the 18th century and was “Cut” to provide transport for the growing pottery industries around Staffordshire and the West Midlands.  It was created to provide a more efficient and faster route for commercial goods to be transported. The Midlands Canal Network formed a major navigational highway through the period of Industrial revolution.  Canal boats were mainly pulled by horses which travelled on the “Tow Path” built next to the canals.  Horses were later replaced by on-board mechanised systems, which again were brought about by changes in the James Watts Steam engine.  Some of the steam powered boats can still be seen today making their way up and down the Midlands Canals but are mainly kept under wraps and reserved for special boating events.  Most of the canal boats are now powered by even more efficient propulsion methods such as Diesel engines and even hybrid petrol engines using silent electric motors.  Later, around 1840, the steam powered train network came into being and began to threaten the very existence of the canal network as transport times were quicker. By 1850, nearly two thirds of the produce previously carried by canal was now being transported by rail.

Things to see and do on the Midlands Canal Network

There are many relics of the industrial revolution to observe throughout  the Midlands Canal Network.  There are many things to do whilst navigating the Midlands canal network not least of all the pubs and restaurants that festoon the tow paths.  Ironically, what had become the bane of the Midlands Canal network inadvertently became it saving grace.  As the steam engines rolled on to become the highway of its day , the canal network was allowed to rest and mature. Where once stood a dirty trodden towpath may now contain a woodland. Where once upon a time industry had created pollution, there are unspoilt waters containing large fish. In fact, the water now houses some very weird and wonderful creatures indeed.  For example, during the 1990’s, children watching T.V programmes like the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (As it was called in the UK) went out and purchased Terrapins from their local pet shops.  Once the children became bored of the turtles and moved onto something more adult, those turtles were discarded into the Canal Network and, survive in parts, to be the size of dinner plates. This is why the Midlands Canal network is worth exploration and why we hope you will enjoy the freedom and adventure that it will bring to you.

Heating a Narrowboat

Most boat owners know how hard it can be living aboard a narrowboat especially in Winter. However, with central heating and various heating systems on board these days life on board a narrowboat should be a cosy affair.

In this short clip by our old friend David, or Mr CC as he prefers to be know by these days, David explains the different types of heating available and their individual merits.

Hope you enjoy!

 

 

 

Canal Boat Training

Will I receive training on a Canal Boat Holiday?

To make your stay as comfortable and relaxing as possible you will receive face to face training and one clear document that will help guide you through your holiday, everything from how to steer the boat to how you make the beds up. You will also receive hands on training as there are some things that will be easier to show you. We will also point you towards the most helpful of tutorials either on line or on DVD before your stay.

There are various ways in which you can prepare for your canal boat holiday, one of which is to watch the “Youtube” video of the “Boaters Handbook DVD” which should help you understand the basics of boating life. This can be viewed by clicking the following button  how-to-operate-a-narrowboat-button

The Ashby Canal is a Lock free canal so there may only be a few instances that require you to use the on-board winding / lock keys and this will also be explained as a matter of course.

You will receive training before and during your stay on the Narrowboat in the following areas…

1)      Safety – How to stay safe when on-board and off the boat.
2)      Gas – How to operate the cooker and gas bottles.
3)      Waste Water – An explanation on where it goes and how to empty the holding tanks.
4)      Fire – Where to find the Fire Blankets and Extinguishers.
5)      Heating – Heating controls and operation.
6)      Toilets – How to Operate.
7)      Electrical – Where they are located and how to keep batteries charged.
8)      Sleeping – How to make up the beds and how to configure the layouts.
9)      Alcohol and Drugs – An explanation of your requirements whilst in charge of the Narrowboat.
10)  Points of interest – Where to eat and drink and other points of interest.

You will also learn how to open and maintain the weed hatch which is located at the back end of the boat just in-case you pick up any obstructions in the water.

A basic Android tablet with the canal route app will be provided on all rentals. This app will allow you to view places nearby in greater detail and will give you a GPS location. In the event of an emergency whereby we have to reach you it will be easier to locate you with this app.

When Hiring a canal boat in the Midlands you will have access to the main artery of the canal network so if you are staying for a while the whole network is accessible.

A Canal Boat holiday on the Ashby canal is the perfect introduction to narrowboat life.

Happy New Year

Lets hope 2017 is a great year and the weather stays good for a canal boat holiday on the Ashby Canal.

 

May your 2017 wishes come true.

Happy new year from MidlandMallard.

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