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Swallow has now been sold – thank you for looking!

Beautiful, unusual 30ft narrowboat for sale in Manchester

Narrowboat for sale

Lovingly renovated from scratch 2013-14

Swallow is a cute, unusual and quirky little boat – a floating home for one!

Currently moored at New Islington Marina, central Manchester



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

Photo 18-09-2014 08 11 59

Length 30′  |  Beam (width) 6’10”

Internal height around 5’8″

All-steel  |  Complete exterior re-paint July 2014

BMC 1.5 engine – serviced Oct 2013

Dry-docked for full hull survey Aug 2013

Recent boat safety examination – certificate valid til Sept 2018

Currently moored at New Islington Marina, Manchester

£16,000 (no offers)

Viewings welcome!

Contact: beth.maiden@bluebottle.com  |  07792 808 893

Frequently Asked Questions

Where is Swallow?

She is at New Islington Marina, ten minutes’ walk from Manchester’s Northern Quarter and twenty minutes from the city centre.


What are the costs of mooring etc?

Around £100 per month for a serviced marina mooring (serviced meaning a 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).


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’.


Other costs?

A 13kg gas bottle (for cooking and hot water) costs around £25 – this lasts around 3 months. She has a full bottle on board right now (sold with the boat.)

No heating costs in summer, a little on wood/coal on chillier days in spring/autumn. In winter I spend around £12 per week on coal (including delivery). You can buy wood or do what I do and get it for free from building sites :)

If you’re cruising, you’ll need diesel too, around £1 per litre. Tank holds about 100 litres, which will get you a pretty long way! She has about half a tank-full right now.


Can you work from home? What about internet?

Yes – I run my business from the boat. I get 3G/4G internet via a dongle and 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 my last 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?

There is no shower on board yet, but it would not be a big job to install one. There is a tiny bathroom with plumbing/circuitry ready for a shower. There is a really nice wet-room shower in the boater’s hut here at the marina which residents are free to use.

There is a nearly-new cassette toilet here too – although thought you might want to treat yourself to a new one :)


How do you do laundry?

There are shared laundry facilities in the boatman’s hut – two washing machines and space to hang out and dry your clothes. Lots of boaters prefer to use a local launderette.


Aren’t you cold in winter?

Not at all – the stove keeps little Swallow so toasty that I’m usually warmer in winter than summer! 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. You can also plug in an electric heater if you want extra heat.


Is it a hard life?

I won’t pretend that living on a tiny boat is luxurious. Life is fairly basic, and hard work. 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 actually difficult. Sometimes things don’t work, sometimes you run out of coal, sometimes it’s just a bit too hard. But you get through it.

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 life’s most beautiful pleasures – 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 boat-life to anyone who is up for doing things a little differently and doesn’t mind a bit of hard work. If you’re interested in my life on board, you can read all about it on my blog, here

Photo 16-09-2014 18 07 37 (1)

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. I’m incredibly proud of my hard work.

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.