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Swaledale in the Yorkshire Dales

By Lyndsey Thomas | 25th July 2018

When my stepdad announced that he’d hired a barge for the entire family to celebrate my mum’s birthday, I’ll admit, I turned my nose up at the idea. My immediate thoughts were ‘small children, stagnant canal water, travelling at five miles per hour – no thanks – I’d rather tattoo my eyeballs TBH.’


Well I take those thoroughly ungrateful thoughts right back and hive-five Phil for coming up with such an awesome idea for a family adventure in Yorkshire.


This wonderful weather turned a good day out into a bloody awesome day out for all the family. In any other situation that consisted of sitting on a vessel and moving slowly for eight hours solid, my brood would be bored shitless and whinging all the way, but a barge trip brings with it a boatload of distractions and fun for the little people. And the big ones too.


Our four little skippers – all under 10 – seriously pulled their weight and earned their keep and their ice creams as they jumped on and off our 32 foot-long narrow boat to hurl ropes and swing heavy bridges.


Meanwhile, the men stood at the back of the boat with beer and the steer, leaving us ladies to relax up front, soaking up the Yorkshire scenery… once we had cooked a bit of light lunch in the onboard galley complete with (basis) gas cooker and hot & cold water system.

Soak up the scenes of Yorkshire at the perfect pace


There really isn’t a better way to see Yorkshire’s incredible scenery. We navigated our beautifully painted, red and green vessel through stunning Yorkshire countryside and incredible canal-side industrial buildings at a pace that allows everyone to truly observe and enjoy some incredible scenes of Yorkshire in and around the historic and very pretty town of Skipton – the gateway to the Yorkshire Dales.


Of course it would have been rude not to jump off for a quick drink at The Boathouse in Skipton’s bustling town centre on the way back. A quick drink turned into a bit more than that – we sat outside the water-side bar and were entertained by The Flagcrackers of Craven, thoroughly enjoyed by all.


There aren’t many days out that can claim to entertain three generations for 8 hours for less than two hundred quid now are there?


A bit about Skipton
Skipton is the Gateway to the Yorkshire Dales National Park and was voted best UK place to live 2014. It’s a wonderful historic market town situated in North Yorkshire – a proper popular tourist destination with the perfectly preserved 900-year old medieval Skipton Castle, famous open-air Skipton market, loads of great places to eat and drink, and spectacular limestone cliffs at Malham and Bolton Abbey to the East.


The Leeds Liverpool Canal passes right through the Town’s centre and for those of you who don’t drive, it’s a direct train ride from Leeds and Bradford. The canal path is another great way explore and the cycling in and around Skipton is great for all ages and levels. More information on cycling around Skipton can be found HERE.


We hired our canal boat from Snaygill Boats of Skipton who hire by the day and also offer overnight hire. For overnight hire, be sure to stick your bike on board.

Lyndsey Thomas GirlAbout.co .uk
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