Wednesday, 25 April 2012
I am fascinated by canal boats, especially the colourful narrowboats with traditional paintings. In the photo above, the horse-drawn boat 'Elland' is on the left and the narrowboat on the right is a beautiful boat called 'Pearl Barley', which they were using to power 'Elland' when it wasn't being towed by the horse. This is also a traditional 'under the cloths' boat, similar to 'Elland', that would have been used to transport goods. These narrowboats were not, I think, built for the Leeds-Liverpool Canal (most of the traditional boats here were wider barges - see old picture on my blog on Sunday)) but they nevertheless give a good flavour of the days when canals were serious working waterways.
(Later note: I am reliably informed that Pearl Barley is actually relatively new, built in the 1990s... Nevertheless it (she?) is beautiful and, I think, built with great attention to the traditional detail).
I didn't get chance to talk to the boatman but a Google search suggests that he is the owner, Duncan Davis, who sounds a colourful character himself.... his family run The Black Bull Inn in Frosterley, in County Durham (website worth a look!) He is described as 'a dyed-in-the-wool Geordie (ie: native of Tyneside in NE England), folksinger, church bell-ringer and ex top London photographer'. Wish I'd had a chat now!