Narrowboat is new tourist attraction for Spalding

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She’s 48 feet long and has a recommended top speed of seven miles per hour.

This is South Holland’s marvellous new tourist attraction: a narrowboat named All Well and Good.

Imagine relaxing here while tootling along the River Welland. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG030414-130TW

Imagine relaxing here while tootling along the River Welland. Photo (TIM WILSON): SG030414-130TW

On Friday, when Spalding Water Taxi sets afloat its four craft for the new season, it will also be launching its smart new green narrowboat.

Word has got out and the craft – six feet ten inches wide, six-berth and fully equipped for life on the gentle waves of the Welland – has already been booked for its maiden voyage.

Spalding Water Taxi manager Simon Clarke says the narrowboat is available for self-drive day hire for a maximum of ten people (at a cost of £180); overnight for up to six people costs £280, £350 for three days and £700 for a week.

When the boat is handed over on the outskirts of Spalding tuition is given – although all nine water taxi drivers have been trained to pilot the boat, so it is possible to have your own captain aboard.

Sailors can then either head into Spalding, mooring up near Ayscoughfee Hall in order to explore the town, or sail south along the quieter stretches of the Welland.

There are 16 miles of navigation in that direction, all the way to Peakirk, where the water becomes too shallow to sail.

That’s the direction to see wildlife, from kingfishers to otters, as well as horses and cattle that are kept on the riverbanks.

Simon says there are moorings along the way, at Crowland and the Bridge Inn pub, but he says the joy of the narrowboat is that it’s possible to stop anywhere en route, simply banging stakes into the ground for mooring along the left-hand riverbank heading to Crowland.

He says: “Having a young family myself I think it will be marvellous to spend a night on the boat, so I can see families and groups wanting to hire it.”

The boat has everything you might need for life aboard: from a well-equipped galley to a shower and even an airing cupboard to dry wet clothes.

There are four bunk beds and the seating and table in the lounge/dining area transforms into a double.

There is central heating, a fridge and gas cooker, cutlery, crockery, pots, pans – even wine glasses.

Spalding Water Taxi bought the diesel-powered boat as a shell and fitted it out in the workshops.

The team has already built and privately sold five narrowboats – one is on the Brayford Pool at Lincoln.

Simon says: “We saw it as an opportunity for bringing people into Spalding and staying locally.

“People were asking if we had other boats for hire, even long term, and we decided on the narrowboat to help make the water taxi sustainable .

“It’s not been launched, but word has got out and a group of three couples is coming over to hire it for three days. It’s going to attract all kinds of people, from those wanting a mini break to children who want to sleep overnight on a boat.”

The boat will contain a folder full of tourist information for visitors who are not familiar with the area