Going through Newbridge bridge

When Daisy met Roach

Daisy and Roach met for the first time a few days ago when Rich brought Roach onto the Thames too and met up with us. We have been travelling to Lechlade together for the last couple of days.

Daisy is dwarfed by Roach! 

Daisy and I have spent the last few months hidden in the upper reaches of the Thames where its quiet and peaceful and away from the madding crowd. It’s my favourite stretch of the river, so apart from a foray to Wallingford and back, this is broadly where Daisy and I have been loitering.

Roach on the other hand has been busy! 

Rich says “Roach has been from Stone down the Staffs and Worcestershire canal and up the Shropshire Union, and the Middlewich branch, up the Trent and Mersey to join the Bridgewater canal at Preston brook then up to Leigh to join the Leeds and Liverpool, into Wigan and into Liverpool and to the Saltisford docks, and the return journey retraced steps back onto the Bridgewater Canal and into Manchester up the Rochdale nine into Piccadilly and then onto the Ashton canal and after the 18 locks on the Ashton turned off onto the Peak Forest Canal and all the way up to Buxworth basin and back down to Whaley bridge onto the Macclesfield canal, back down to the Trent and Mersey through Harecastle tunnel to Great Heywood junction, back down the Staffordshire and Worcester Canal, and up the Wolverhampton flight of 21 locks onto the old main line through Birmingham to old turn junction and down Farmers Bridge flight onto the Grand Union to Napton Junction down the South Oxford Canal (getting stuck twice) and onto Dukes Cut and the Thames…”


Daisy and Roach are very different

Daisy is a Market Harborough boat built in 1991 with slightly dented sides and a nice, but not particularly noteworthy shape – she is ‘just another narrowboat’ (although she is totally unique and special to me!)

Roach on the other hand has much more impressive lineage being firstly much much older – built in 1935 – but also with shape and history. Her ‘lines’ are beautiful. The swim (the curve that starts at the front of the boat) is long and sleek being a Josher bow. 

A Josher bow has a double curved bow which is quite slender which creates a long swim to the front of the boat to give a better passage through the water. I believe it was either designed by or named after Joshua Fellows from Fellows Moreton Clayton. 

As Roach approaches Daisy for the first time I could see how much bigger she was. She moves gracefully through the deep river water leaving barely a ripple. She has a calm air of authority in the way she moves through the water – majestic. Quite often when driving her it feels like she’s finding her own path. She frequently draws (demands) admiration from passers by with her general stature and demeanour.

Roach barely noticed Daisy!

As we set off on our upstream river adventure, we quickly realised that despite being on tick over, Roach was significantly quicker than Daisy. So she took the lead. Daisy being a smaller boat, caught up on the bends.

We decided though after breasting up for lunch that it would be easier to stay that way. Roach barely noticed Daisy tied up alongside her – and she would have plenty of experience with pairing with butties – In the 1950’s we know that Roach was paired with Dory, her sister, who was turned from a motor into a butty for a while.

We just about squished through the bridge at Newbridge! We knew in theory it should be possible as motors and butties have travelled this way before. Even so we all breathed in as we went through!

Further upstream the river gets over grown with sharp bends so we untied by Shifford lock. This time Daisy in front and Roach following. Her hull appearing from impossible looking angles as she came round the bends.

We watched the sunset on the river at the end of the day.

About the author


  1. Steve and Janet Freedom no1 says:

    Great story for both but an epic trip for Roach. We passed in Middlewich turning off to Llangollen on Freedom No1

  2. Well done guys. I take it you made it up to Lechlade.
    I couldn’t help noticing that on one of those views of Roach at an impossible angle there appeared to be quite a lot of reverse going on 😉


  3. Fiona Larcombe says:


  4. just fabulous

Comments are closed.