About Willow:Willow is a 'Stowe Hill' built narrowboat powered by a Perkins D3 diesel engine fitted in its own traditional engine room. We, the crew, are accommodated traditionally in the aft 'boatman's cabin'. A combination of the 'Stowe Hill' quality hull; 21" prop; and the raw power of the Perkins D3, make Willow handle like a dream, despite her size.
Willow is 'a proper narrowboat’ brought to Scotland from the English Canal network. Despite being shortened to an overall length of around 65ft (to accommodate the shorter Scottish locks) she is probably the longest vessel on the lowland canals but, being narrowbeam, not the widest. Deeper draughted than most modern narrowboats, she currently displaces just over 20 tonnes - And, No, we don't have (or need) bow thrusters.
Locks on the Scottish Lowland canals are wide enough to cater for wider beam vessels - But most of the wider vessels seem to suffer trying to make good progress on the Union Canal. As a traditional narrowboat, Willow was designed for use on canals - and so she makes good and efficient progress on both of the Lowland canals.
Throughout our website you will see photos of Willow's exterior. The 'all weather', comfortable leather seated, front observation cabin (also forming part of a split level lounge) is genuinely unique. It really does make Willow stand out from the crowd. This page provides a detailed description of Willow's interior - your guest suite.
Over the years, Willow has been totally refitted specifically to suit 'private charter' hotel boating. She has a wholly separate guest suite, including en-suite wash/shower room and toilet; four poster style double bed, dinette and attractive split level lounge area - all for the exclusive use of our guests. We think this innovative design is at present unique on a hotel narrowboat. We don't know of any of our competitors presently offering this exclusivity of facilities for its guests. Please check out the photos by clicking on the relevant areas of the diagram below - check for yourselves, before booking, the accommodation that's on offer and how many people it needs to cater for. The plan/diagram shows the general layout of the guest suite, but does need to be viewed in conjunction with the photographs - viewed by clicking on the relevant areas within the plan.
The Interior in more Detail:To describe the interior guest accommodation in more detail - The whole of the main interior of Willow is floored in hardwood (oak) parquet flooring. The whole of the guest suite (including the bow area) benefits from central heating, should it be required - and there is our solid fuel fire if it really turns chilly.
The main bed has a memory foam topped sprung mattress, with class 1 duck feather and down pillows. Guests benefit from exclusive use of the en-suite guest shower (cubicle with glazed door) and washroom, with ceramic 'pump-out' loo. We, your crew, have separate facilities within our own quarters, aft. There is a privacy door separating the guest suite from the galley and staff quarters. The staff quarters has its own exterior doors, so we don't need to enter your quarters, other than to feed you, and house-keep/service your quarters.
Forward of the main four poster bed there is the main lounge area with solid fuel fire, TV, quadraphonic stereo system, DVD etc. The lounge is on split levels and combined with the glazed 'all weather' bow observation cabin. An area we are proud of, but difficult to describe - so please do browse the photos via the above plan.
The glazed bow deck area (with skipper to bow-cabin PA/commentary system) not only provides a very comfortable dining/seating area, with a view - but it also provides a marvellous, very comfortable, forward observation facility whilst cruising. With wide opening side and roof hatches, we can set the area up to be airy if it's hot - or close things down if it turns cooler. Imagine taking breakfast or lunch seated in comfort at a table, whatever the weather, with forward panoramic views of the 'canalscape' as we glide by - it’s quite charming. Another luxury feature is our satellite linked/GPS ordnance survey mapping with its 14" screen display - so you'll be able to spot exactly where we are and 'what's what' in the surrounding canalscape. Many of our popular mooring locations are suitably near to BTOpenzone Wi-Fi hotspots for those that need to keep in touch or feel the need for regular internet browsing (we have withdrawn the supply of our own on-board Wi-Fi service, which was not suitable for large amounts of data transfer - gaming/video/graphics downloads). Alternatively many clients bring their own 3G or 4G internet dongle devices. The EE/Orange/T-mobile and O2 networks seem to work well for most of our cruising range.
The guest suite (designed principally for just one couple) measures approx 30ft in length. For private charter guests, this all represents spacious, comfortable and quality charter hotel narrowboat accommodation. We don't think that can be beaten in a hotel narrowboat.
We consider your safety on board Willow as a serious matter. Willow holds the required commercial licence to trade as a charter hotelboat (not all 'hotelboats' are properly licensed and insured). Our galley has been properly vetted and fully approved by local authority food hygiene staff. Willow is in full compliance with the statutory Boat Safety Certificate requirements for commercial vessels of our type and, on a voluntary basis, we also comply with the government's 'Maritime & Coastguard Agency Code for Small Passenger Vessels'. Although not yet a statutory requirement, we have audible alarm systems to warn of the presence of gas leaks; carbon monoxide; and there are smoke alarms situated throughout the boat. We believe these measures should be mandatory on all passenger carrying narrowboats.