It’s with a lot of mixed emotions that I’ve put Swallow up for sale. She’s my home and been my big project for the past 13 months and I (finally) love her dearly. I’m not desperate to sell her, but I’d also like to go travelling for a bit, see some friends in the US and maybe visit Scotland. If Swallow doesn’t sell I’ll also get to enjoy living in Manchester (where I’ve always wanted to live) and have the fun of living on the water for another winter – the summer is great, but Swallow really comes into her own with cosy nights by the fire with wine and a box-set.
But, let’s see what happens.
Here’s the ad:
Beautiful, unusual 30ft narrowboat for sale
Lovingly renovated from scratch 2013-14
Swallow is a cute, unusual and quirky little boat – a floating home for one!
FULLY FURNISHED, INCLUDING:
Custom hand-built oak-top kitchen with mini butler sink
Cosy cabin bedroom with skylight – large double bed nestled in the bow
Pure wool carpet | New sofa | Hand-made sideboard | Desk
Efficient multi-fuel stove – really warm in winter
Middle section slides open!
Gas hob & grill | Hot & cold running water | Cassette toilet
Length 30′ | Width/beam 6’10”
Internal height around 5’8″
Steel hull, cabin and roof | Brand new steel hatch
Dry-docked for full hull survey Aug 2013
BMC 1.5 engine – serviced Oct 2013
3 x new batteries | 12v electrics
Very large water tank | Brand new ropes for cruising
Recent boat safety examination – certificate valid til Sept 2018
Complete exterior re-paint July 2014
Currently moored on the Rochdale Canal Todmorden/Manchester area
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org | 07792 808 893
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Swallow?
She is on the Rochdale Canal, between Hebden Bridge/Todmorden area and Manchester.
As of Friday 26th September she’ll be moored in Manchester and available to view.
What are the costs of mooring etc?
Average around £100 per month for a serviced marina mooring. Typically this would have 240v electric hook-up, a water point for filling the tank, and an ‘Elsan point’ where you empty your toilet.
Licence fee is around £65 per month.
You should also think about insurance but this isn’t expensive (say something like £150 for a year).
Do you have a mooring?
It’s a bit complicated, but the short answer is no.
If you’re looking for residential moorings, in Todmorden you can contact Baltimore Marina, in Hebden Bridge try Mayroyd Moorings or Callis Boat Club – or contact CRT directly as they have moorings between Tod and Hebden.
If you are interested in the Manchester mooring speak to me.
What about ‘continuous cruising’?
Continous cruising is a travelling way of life where you keep your boat moving on a slow, steady journey. You can stay in most spots for up to two weeks. You can fill your water tank/empty your loo at regular boat stations or marinas along the way. Here’s some info from the Canal & River Trust about ‘CCing’.
A 13kg gas bottle (for cooking and hot water) costs around £25 – this lasts 2-3 months. She has one full bottle on board right now, sold with the boat.
Nothing at all in summer, a little on wood/coal on chillier days in spring/autumn. In the very coldest months I’ll spend around £12 per week on coal (including delivery).
There are ways to get wood for free if you’re prepared to put in some elbow grease (I’ve not paid for wood in a whole year of living aboard). Swallow has lots of wood on board right now, again included in the sale.
Diesel goes up and down depending where you get it – officially around £1 per litre. Tank holds about 100 litres, which will get you a pretty long way! She’ll have enough to get you back to the valley or out onto the Bridgewater where you can fill up.
Is it safe, do you feel vulnerable?
I feel completely safe in the Todmorden/Hebden Bridge area – there are so many boats and I’ve never heard of anyone having a break-in or vandalism. The boating community is friendly and people look out for each other.
In Manchster I don’t know yet, I’m definitely happy to be going to a marina, but there are lots of safe, green spots along the Bridgewater Canal where I’d be happy to live.
The worst thing is people taking pictures of you or looking in as they cruise past but you get used to that :)
Can you work from home? What about internet?
Yes – I run my business from the boat. I get 3G/4G internet via a dongle or by tethering my mobile phone.
- Where 240v electric hook-up is available, you can have all mod cons. Some serviced moorings also have phone lines (I had broadband internet at Baltimore Marina!)
- If cruising/no 240v, you can run laptop, phone, internet dongle etc from cigarette lighter sockets directly from the 12v batteries (which also power the water pump and ceiling lights.) I have only installed one socket but I have a box full of electrical bits and bobs you could use to add more.
What about the bathroom? Is there a shower?
Not yet! There is a little shower room plus plumbing/circuitry for a shower…it would not be a big job to install one (I just ran out of energy and am happy with strip washing at the sink!) The shower room is not glamorous, I basically haven’t tackled it since moving aboard and just use it for storage.
There is a nearly-new cassette toilet here too – I bought a new one just a couple of weeks and this comes with the boat, although thought you might want to treat yourself to a new one :)
How do you do laundry?
The launderette in Todmorden picks up my laundry and drops it off for me – a brilliant service! In Manchester, there is a washing machine (most marinas have laundry facilities). If you’re continuously cruising I guess you just find places along the way!
Aren’t you cold in winter?
Not at all – in fact, in the coldest months I’m usually in a vest as the stove keeps little Swallow so toasty. It can be chilly first thing in the morning if the fire goes out overnight, but I’ve learned the knack of keeping it in so you have a gentle glow in the morning – I’ll show you how :)
Is it a hard life?
I won’t pretend that living on a tiny boat is luxurious. Life is fairly basic. You spend plenty of time outdoors bringing in wood/coal, filling the tank and so on. Nobody likes emptying their toilet but that’s just the way it is – it’s not difficult. There’s always something to fix or improve on a boat – a window leaks or the engine won’t start or you want to fix up some woodwork or something. Having a boat is like having a never-ending Saturday project, be prepared to spend a lot of time working on it.
On the other hand it is a beautiful adventure. I’ve seen more kingfishers than I can count in one year of living aboard, the geese call to me each evening, ducks come and peck on the hull for bread. Waking up on a bright autumn morning and watching the mist on the canal with a cup of coffee is one of the greatest pleasures in my life – something I will sadly miss. Sitting on top of the cabin with a cider in the evening summer sunshine is another joy. There is no better way to see the seasons changing than from the canal, and no more sociable way of life than the boaters’. I would recommend it to anyone who is up for doing things a little differently.
More about Swallow
Swallow is a beautiful, cute and truly unusual boat – I am selling her because I would like to go travelling but am in no rush. She has been a labour of love for me since I bought her in August 2013 – I have restored her from an empty shell to a cosy, tiny home.
I’ve been living aboard since October 2013 with my two cats, gradually installing heating, electricity, gas, running water, furnishing and decorating, and finally repainting the exterior this summer. You can read all about this on my blog, here. I’m incredibly proud of my hard work – Swallow is now a much-loved travelling home.
That said, if you know boats, you’ll know you never ‘finish’. To own a boat is to have a never-ending project to tinker with and you’ll find there’s always something to fix! I had a priority list of jobs which started, naturally, with adding a stove for warmth, gas, electrics, plumbing etc, finishing here with the repaint… but there is always more you can do to improve and increase her value.
If you have any questions about life aboard, cruising, mooring or my ‘next year’ jobs, drop me a line!
And if you want the full warts-and-all story of my journey with Narrowboat Swallow, you can read my blog, here.