When people talk about Milton Keynes, they often talk about the endless roundabouts or the concrete farm animals that have become synonymous with the city. But there is a little known secret that runs through the heart of Milton Keynes that is often overlooked, The Grand Union Canal.
The canal opened in it’s current form in 1929 after the amalgamation of several different waterways, which were once the main gateway to Birmingham during the Industrial Revolution, when roads were only just emerging. The canal stretches from London to Birmingham, passing directly through Milton Keynes, cutting past Bletchley in the South, up through Peartree Bridge (the location of Milton Keynes Marina), pass the foot of Campbell Park, before meandering it’s way around to Wolverton and beyond. The entire 15 mile Milton Keynes segment of the canal is lock free, meaning even a complete beginner to boating will have no trouble navigating the waterways.
Many people aren’t even aware that a canal exists, let alone know how they can get to enjoy the waterway. This is where exciting new Milton Keynes’ start-up, Our Little Boats, come in.
Our Little Boats was founded in 2017, born from a passion for boating and the drive to encourage more people to use the waterways in Milton Keynes. They are based at Milton Keynes Marina, which is just 10 minutes from the M1 and is the main hub of Milton Keynes boating community.
The business will have two canal boats available for hire for weekday and weekend boating holidays along the canal, as well as providing a brokerage and chandlery for those already involved in boating. Boating holidays are a great way to enjoy the English waterways and countryside, in a relaxing and slightly different manner to what many are used to. Hire will include all fuel, bedding, towels and buoyancy aids. Our Little Boats expect to have their first boat available for hire from Easter and their second available from June. Bookings will be open from the end of January. The marina also runs day boat hire for those that want to just get their first taste for life on the water.
But the canal isn’t just about boating, there is a plethora of great scenery and wildlife along the banks and parks that surround the canal, which can be enjoyed on foot or by cycle. The canal also hosts a number of events throughout the year. In December 2017, around 10,000 people descended onto the waterway for the first ever Illuminated Boat Festival, organised by the Canal & River Trust.
Our Little Boats will be having an open day later this year to showcase their two newly refurbished boats, but in the meantime, you can find out more about Our Little Boats on their website: www.ourlittleboats.com or connect with them on social media: www.facebook.com/ourlittleboats/ or www.twitter.com/ourlittleboats