We’re a day late today but I won’t tell if you won’t. I had a busy day yesterday and by the time I got home I wanted to do nothing more than hit the hay (okay, so we continued our Star Wars marathon with A New Hope but who can blame us😆) let’s just fudge the date and move on..
I regularly volunteer with a charity that empowers young people with Special Educational Needs (more on that in another post), and we had an outing day yesterday. We took our members out in three groups to three different activities. My group went to The Pirate Castle at Camden Lock, while other groups did cycling in Victoria Park with bikeworks and pottery painting in Finchley with Creativity Crazy.
After an early start at our meeting point at Ermine Road Day Centre, we took the underground to Camden Town station then walked through the busy marketplace, up to and over Regent’s Canal where The Pirate Castle sailors greeted us.
The Pirate Castle is styled like a real castle on the outside with turrets and pirate flags flying. After a quick introduction to the facilities and health and safety considerations, we headed out in two groups on two narrowboats, the Pirate Viscount and Pirate Prince, the latter of which is outfitted for wheelchair access.
Our boat was surprisingly roomy inside with a long communal area, small kitchen and bathroom. The communal area where we spent the majority of our trip housed just a table, a seating area and some spare chairs. It was spacious enough for our group of twelve with room to stand up and move around, but it quickly became a little chilly out on the water (unfortunately they couldn’t get the gas lit for a cup of tea) and I think more comfortable fittings would have helped.
We had good fun watching the world go by through the windows and we took it in turns to allow a group of four to sit outside in the prow of the boat. Lifejackets were provided. The boat only goes about three miles an hour so it was nice and calm, and the weather – albeit cold and overcast – stayed dry and didn’t dampen our spirits.
We got a cheerful wave from the other narrowboat owners and people on the towpath. We saw a lot of runners and cyclists and photo-bombed more than one tourist’s photograph!
I always love seeing the funny names on other people’s boats and some of them looked very homely. We saw a lot of expansive gardens and grand houses on our journey. It must be wonderful living so close to the canal side. In some cases the downstairs windows were just above water level – imagine waking up to the ducks swimming past your window!
The Canal passes through London Zoo, specifically the aviary section and we saw some vultures in their large cages. We also went through a few dark tunnels which our members loved, especially when our voices echoed in the dark space. A passing train when we were outside again also caused a squeal of glee.
As we neared “Little Venice” we saw a Chinese restaurant on the water and lots of pretty boats. We rounded an island full of geese and made our way back again. The whole journey took about 90 minutes and was a fantastic day out.
Our canal boat trip was just sight-seeing, however it’s also possible to book other trips involving using the locks and also other water-based activities such as kayaking and canoeing. More information is available on The Pirate Castle website.