It’s the second week of Jim and Karen’s OE. Forty years ago, they set off on their first OE, and now they’re doing it again. They’re documenting their adventures along the canals and roads of the UK through regular updates that we’ll share here on the World Travellers Riccarton blog. In this blog, Jim describes some of their impressions after a couple of weeks on the waterways. 

Well we are into week two and have reached Nottingham on the canal boat, travelling on both canals and the Trent River to get here. Boating the river was an interesting feeling after the confines of the canals. Big, wide and deep, for some reason it felt slightly intimidating after the confining nature of the canals. It actually made me wish I had a bit of jet boat power to assist in the flow.

For the last couple of days we have also had to travel through big double locks and they are definitely different from the narrow locks we experienced in the first few days. For a start, the gates are much heavier to operate so Karen is really getting the benefit of a better gym workout. On top of that they seem a lot deeper and more turbulent when inside them whilst doing the hard work of boat steering – precision stuff that.

We have had a bit of cold shitty weather in the last few days. Standing out on the back of a boat in this spring weather has been less than inviting, but fare not fellow readers I survived, and I don’t require your accolades … 


But we have made Nottingham and are parked up in the centre beside one of the big marinas. Part of the reason for coming here was to catch up with family. The other reason is to allow us to scope out a few motorhomes for the next part of the trip. Nottingham has half a dozen large dealerships all located within a 50km radius of the place, so we have hired a car for a few days to start doing the rounds. Interestingly we have a really cool wee Renault Clio for just $28 per day. It’s cheap, goes like hell and I am impressed.

Searching for a motorhome

We got around four dealerships on day one. The good part was that allowed us to eliminate two of them as having nothing suitable. The other two both have viable options in stock. On day two here in Nottingham we went back to relook at one of the dealerships and that has really helped cement what we want to buy.

Currently we have one hot favourite in mind but tomorrow (Monday) we have another large dealership to visit and that will likely determine the final outcome. Because we know the basic layout we want inside the vehicle and what size we want our options are a bit more limited while we find a vehicle suiting our criteria. Tomorrow will be the decider but I suspect in the end we will end up buying a new mobile home. I am also now thinking I will hedge my bets and look at registering it for export to NZ and claiming the VAT. If we don’t export it at the end I will just have to pay the VAT back, but we have a year to decide.

Tuesday today. Had a big weekend of mobile home viewing and we have made a decision, but you lot will have to wait and see what it is. I think our new baby will be born in about eight weeks.

Before then we have to arrange insurance, which in itself is proving interesting as most companies don’t deal with us foreigners – we’re an untrustworthy lot it seems. So with that part of our onwards journey all but sorted we will be pulling out of Nottingham today. Currently we are sitting in the cafe next door to a  laundrette having a coffee while our washing is going through. Amazing how much washing you can have in just over a week.

Canal boating along the Trent and Soar Rivers

Eventually we got boating again at lunch time and we headed back down the Nottingham Canal. Then it was onto the Trent River for a bit before turning onto the Soar River in the direction of Leicester. The weather has been kind over the last few days so hopefully it continues for a bit longer – it certainly makes steering the boat a bit more pleasant. The Soar is a much smaller river than the Trent and feels not much bigger than a canal in places, but it’s great to be meandering back through the countryside again.

Soar River canal boating

I’ve got to say you see some amazing sites when you are boating, especially when you come round the corner to see a huge power station on the river bank.

Canal boating down the Soar River in the UK

Anyway onwards now to Leicester.

3 thoughts on “Canal boating in the UK: Nottingham and the Trent River

  1. Alison says:

    Thanks for sharing your adventures, I’m really enjoying reading them. Can’t wait to see your camper!!! Safe sailing, take care ?❤️?

  2. Sandy Trengrove says:

    Fabulous photos – looks fun. Can’t wait for the camper either! What name will she be called then?

  3. Jan Cooper says:

    We had a little Clio in Ireland a couple of years ago and loved it too.
    Enjoying your journeys. Keep it up.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.