Our Magazine Page:

Here I post articles, from time to time, that may be of general interest to our clientele and the boating fraternity at large. I'm not always too politically correct and the content is very much my own 'take on things'.

Delightful message from our Town Cryer: (27th June, 2015)

What a lovely poem by recent guests Faith & Chris.... (Chris a renowned 'town cryer')

As our time on Willow comes to an end
To Nick and Irene our thanks we extend
We can't forget Skye who amused us each day
And for a bonus with Faith she did play
Whilst Nick was on tiller at the stern he did stand
Irene worked in the galley and her food it was grand.
Several times off the boat Irene would hop
Then down to Tesco with her rucksack she'd shop.
Over the intercom Nick's voice would sound true
Giving information on what we could view.
It wasn't all sailing as walks we did take
And Chris wore his shorts - it was a mistake
For on one of these walks he picked up a tic
But lucky for him it was removed  by Nick.
We visited the Kelpies and Edinburgh too
An open top bus ride we had splendid view
A trip to Britannia, saw how royalty fare
And Botanic Gardens with species so rare.
The highlight of our journey and it was quite surreal
Was travelling up and down on the Falkirk Wheel
I've come to the end of this rambling verse
And so I'll finish as the rhyming gets worse
With many thanks we give to you two
Wishing you all the best for venture new.

Our Collie Pup 'Skye': A Happy New Arrival (13th November, 2013).

Our new crew dog is border collie 'Skye'. She was born in September from working parents on a hill farm in the Trossachs. To follow Meg, Skye has big boots (paws) to fill - but she's a border collie so I'm sure she'll do her very best. Only a month since Meg left us but we need the dog crew training time - ready for the new season starting April, 2014.

Left: Skye at 9 weeks (born Sept'13).
Skye was born at Immeroin Farm, deep into the hills at Glen Buckie south of Balquhidder village in the North Trossachs. What a stunning setting to be born in.

For us the training/socialisation processes will start even now. At the moment (until her injections get completed) we have her at our Tillicoultry Flat, but soon she needs to get used to a narrowboat home with a big Perkins D3 engine running in an engine room. Getting used to a home that both floats on water and moves with great regularity. Tying up with mooring ropes - Locks (not to mention the Falkirk Wheel) and passing through tunnels will need to become the norm. Lots to learn and get used to. All of that, together with learning all the normal puppy things.

Visitors to this website, may already have guessed we are daft on our Collies. But, we don't want to bore those more interested in boating on the Scottish Canals. For those of you that are interested enough, just click on Skye's photo (left). That will open her own web page - which is quite indulgent of us - but it is also quite a good way for us to keep a photo record of how she progresses.

Our Collie Meg - 1998-2013: A Very Sad Time (12th October, 2013).

Regular Guests will be sad to learn that we no longer have Meg with us. Her poor old central nervous system had stopped working properly and it prevented her from being able to stand properly - she had stopped eating and drinking. Thanks to the Vets Practice at Falkirk High for their help with that final act of kindness. For 15 years, my constant companian on the back of Willow - or wherever else I happened to be.

Nick & Meg on Willlow Meg
Meg and Nick at work on the English canal network, summer of 2009.
14 yr old Meg in September, 2012. Still liked a game of stick (or bark) throwing.


Avon Aqueduct from the Air: Around the time of taking the kingfisher's photo further down this page, we came across Peter Sandground (professional photographer hired by Scottish Canals). He was also taking photos and we got chatting. He has a commission to re-do autumnal aerial photos of the Avon Aqueduct. It is to be re-done because there were no boats crossing the aqueduct at the time  - you've probably guessed that we've tentatively agreed to conveniently have Willow crossing for his new photos next autumn. In the meantime Peter has given us permission to use the current versions - here's one of them......

Loading photo  

Willow temp moored below Falkirk Wheel on F&C pontoons, during 4 week maintenance period. Look at this little visitor, pic.twitter.com/HwHbbsPC

— Nick & Irene Scott (@HotelboatWillow) November 15, 2012

The Marriage Ceremony Aboard Willow (August'12)

We think this was a first for a narrowboat, never mind a hotel narrowboat. Janet and Paul joined us at Linlithgow for a seven day cruise, but it was a cruise with a difference. Both Janet and Paul had separately enjoyed a number of canal hireboat holidays and, coming together after previous marriages, they wanted a quiet wedding. Of course Scots Law in respect of weddings has always been different to England - and, with a special licence, a ceremony on Willow at the Falkirk Wheel would be much prettier than Gretna Green.

So, the following morning (Thursday 2nd August) we cruised the Union canal from Linlithgow to the top of the Falkirk Wheel where we paused for a while to fit white ribbon and a decorative rosette to the front of Willow's bow cabin. Internally floral decorations were added to the Bow Cabin table and at about 1.30pm we were joined at the top by local Registrar Kay. Irene and I were to be the witnesses. Weather was dry and with some sunny spells.

Everything prepared, we entered the Gondola (the transiting water tank) on the Falkirk Wheel. Scottish Canals staff obviously knew what was going on (and had been very helpful), so the descending 'rotation' of the 'Wheel' magically stopped half way round. This 'pause for thought' gave plenty of time for Janet and Paul's marriage ceremony to take place (and a charming and moving ceremony it was too). From up on the 'Wheel', the view through Willow's bow cabin windows out over the plain below to the Ochil Hills formed a magnificent backdrop. When the ceremony was complete, Brian, the Scottish Canals 'Wheel' escort, was given the nod and the 'Wheel' continued it's rotation and Willow's descent. By now the Visitor centre staff had announced to members of the public what was happening, and the congratulatory cheers and clapping from the public drifted up from the ground level below. Boats in the basin below the 'Wheel' -  Seagull Trust boat skippers and the Scottish Canals Trip Boat  masters, showed their support and congratulations with suitable sounding of boat horns. Thanks to the guys because it added that little bit of 'something special'. Willow's horn replied in celebration.

Willow Wedding
Photo Credit - Angela Finlay (Scottish Canals) - Thanks also to Angela for the signs and Rosette.

We came out of the 'Wheel' and backed Willow straight onto our Falkirk Wheel Basin mooring. Janet, Paul, Irene and I later went for a very pleasant (and posh) celebratory meal to nearby Glenskirlie Castle. The whole wedding ceremony was very much a first for us - extremely pleasant and, for Irene and I, it was a privilege.