Going under a bridge on the canal

Red brick bridge on grand union canal

There are a couple of things to bear in mind when you are going under a bridge on the canal around Market Harborough.

Most of our bridges are delightful, red-brick styles which are picturesque and quite narrow. They mainly have a towpath running under one side which you have to consider when lining up your boat.

navigating through a bridge from market harborough

Many of the little bridges along the Grand Union Leicester Line are like this one and they can be misleading. You will need to position your boat to one side, lining it up with the gap at water level rather than the centre of the bridge arch itself. Our short video gives you a boater’s view of the experience.

Taking your narrowboat under a redbrick bridge over the canal

  • If a boat is coming towards you and is closer to the bridge than you, slow down to a stop and wave them through.
  • Use reverse to slow down if you need to, but don’t slam the throttle from forward to backwards in one movement: pause in neutral half way.
  • Keep to the right hand side until the boat has passed, and then move on.
  • Each redbrick bridge has a number in the centre; it can help to line this up with the outside edge of your boat.
  • Check along each side of the boat as you go underneath the bridge.
  • It isn’t necessary to take down the chimneys on the Boutique Narrowboats, but do be mindful that they don’t catch the bridge on the way under.

We are delighted that more and more narrowboat novices are enjoying the canals around Market Harborough. We are putting together a series of Beginner Guides to help you prepare for your holiday and find a few solutions to common problems en route.

It is also a good idea to familiarise yourself with the Canal and River Trust’s Boaters’ Handbook before you arrive.

We offer all kinds of narrowboats, from Day Boats to Boutique Narrowboats and boats suitable for families. All our hires involve full training and we welcome complete beginners.