When we first decided to buy a boat, we made up our minds that we didn’t want too much of a challenge to start out with. Keeping a modern boat running is hard enough as it is, so the maintenance and expertise required to run a traditional boat seemed all a bit too much for our very first purchase.
We decided that it was best to go for a fairly new build with an easy-to-run modern engine much like the one we have now, and about 45-foot of well laid-out living space.
Meet Albion — the 1980 51-foot traditional tug style narrowboat with a vintage Petter PH2W 2-cylinder engine that we actually bought:
As it turned out, we didn’t want a modern narrowboat at all. The more boats we looked at — and we saw some lovely ones — the more we realised we actually wanted something with a bit more history and character. Albion popped up on the second day of our online search and seemed too good to be true. She’s the perfect blend of old and new; though not precisely a historic boat, from the research we’ve done it seems that she did used to be a working boat before being lengthened into the shape she is today. It’s going to be a whole new learning curve for us but we think it’ll be worth it to own something that bit more special.
Luckily for us, the previous owner has fitted her out really nicely inside too:
There is a bit of work to be done on her still. At the moment the sleeping space is a replica of a traditional boatman’s cabin with a fold-down bed which, while lovely…
…is a little less practical for the two of us, so we’re going to have the space under the front deck converted into a bedroom.
We’re also going to have to get used to a bit less space than the modern 65-footer we have now. While Albion is actually about the length we were looking for, she is narrower and smaller inside than some other boats we’d looked at. Still, she will (should) be easier to move round and easier to moor up than our current behemoth and she’s just the nicest looking boat we’d seen — inside and out. All this should make up for the amount of clothes I’m going to have to throw away and the fact that I’ll only be able to have one friend over at a time.
Anyway, all joking aside we are absolutely over the moon to be the proud new owners of such a unique and beautiful boat and we can’t wait to move aboard.
Updates on building work soon!