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“Great one week outing with a narrow boat in excellent condition (Sir Melleaus)”

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Countrywide Cruisers
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Brewood
Reviewed 1 September 2016

Our family of 4 rented the Sir Melleaus for a week at the end of July and the early days of August 2016. Upon arrival we were an hour early and prepared to wait until it was our turn. However the staff at Countrywide Cruisers invited us to get on the boat earlier, as soon as the filling of the water tank was completed. That took just a few minutes allowing us to have a chat with Cliff, the clearly proud engineer of the company. After transferal of our gear we got a very good and lengthy introduction to the boat and its maintenance, the kids were handed their buoyancy aids and our wife was elected captain. As three of us have extensive rowing/coxing/coaching two sea kayaking experience we were happy to set off from the mooring without someone of Countrywide to get us going. So we did get the proper attention and care required for the first time narrow-boaters we were. We elected for a return trip in the direction of Chester on the Shropshire Union Canal. Eventually we made it to beyond Beeston Castle, winding between bridges 108 and 109, just after Wharton's Lock (and back turning after Brewood between bridges 9 and 8). The boat performed really well and without any issue. The only 'technical issue' was that the DVB-T aerial of the boat didn't work well, but fortune had it that I had taken our own DVB-T aerial along (with a magnetic base!) as used by us on campsites. Choosing the moorings wisely we had all the TV channels and programs we wanted. With regards to navigation we did not have any trouble as we had read the proper documentation and seen the dvd's/youtube footage about narrowboating before going on this trip. If you also stick to the navigational notes about the canal you are on you should not get into any trouble. A Scottish party leaving the same afternoon as us did get into trouble in the very first lock (we came later from behind to help them correct their mistake...) and were reported to have later gotten stuck at a very well known spot between two other locks (navigational note!), having to be freed by another boat.
That does not mean that we didn't have some challenges, with 40 mph winds, rain and some other boaters making life 'interesting'. And of course it is a challenge to enter a lock cleanly when the canal overflow hits the boat from the side some 2-3 meters before the entrance......
I must also mention the great wildlife presence during the trip. For instance, you will be very unlucky not to see several Kingfishers in the trees near the canal, following you and every now and again catching and eating a fish. Best chance in the early morning at the very wooded sections of the canal.
To sum up, we had a great week on the boat, with our captain (my wife) receiving praise at several moments from other more experienced boaters and the crew receiving offers to be hired by other captains ;-) . It turned out to be an especially confidence building trip for our two (11 and 13 year old) sons.
At the end of the week we had a simple almost businesslike transfer of the Sir Melleaus to the staff of Countywide cruisers. Again nothing but praise for their attitude and behavior towards us.
All in all we can very much recommend a narrow boat trip in general and especially one with Countrywide Cruisers on the Shropshire Union canal.

Room Tip: Sir Melleaus has traditional stern, less ideal for a captain that likes a lot of company on the mov...
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  • Stayed: August 2016, travelled with family
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Leonard_NL
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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8 - 12 of 45 reviews

Reviewed 31 August 2016 via mobile

Picked boat up for week long trip. Great handover from Cliff who went through all we needed to know before setting off. The boat (Sir Fergus) was great and just right for us having two doubles. We picked CWC because of the location (picked up daighter from mearby V Fest) but the company are really good in terms of value for money, service and friendliness. Thanks CWC and especially Cliff (careful on that motorcycle !)

Stayed: August 2016, travelled with family
Thank David W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 17 August 2016

Arrived early, but the boat was ready so we didn't have to hang around. The boat we had booked was under repair, so we were given an alternative, which had the same facilities as the one we had booked, but just with a slightly different layout, so was a perfect swap.We were given an excellent handover which covered everything we needed to know about the boat. We didn't have any instruction about driving the boat as we had previous experience and didn't need it. We were given a folder which contained all the information we had been given plus telephone numbers and other useful info. The boat was lovely. Very clean and well presented. The beds were made up and very comfortable. There were several sockets, so we weren't fighting over them to charge our phones etc. The galley had everything we needed plus washing up liquid, dish cloth, Scourer, and tea towels. Countrywide also supplied bin bags, kitchen roll and a toilet roll, all of which I'd brought with us, but didn't need. We were doing a mid week break from Monday to Friday. The boat had to be returned by 9am on Friday, so we moored at Brewood on Thursday evening and went out in the village for a meal that evening. This worked out well as Brewood is a lovely village and has plenty of places to eat. We took our dog with us, and found plenty of dog friendly places to stop and eat along the canal. All in all, we had a lovely break, all the staff were extremely knowledgable and very friendly and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Countrywide Cruisers to anyone considering this type of holiday.

Stayed: August 2016, travelled with family
Thank Carole A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 July 2016

We (family of four) have just returned from an amazing few days on Sir Bruin. We left with two tired, bad tempered children who were completely transformed by the experience and who loved drifting along finding new places and generally helping with the boat. Day by day we all unwound as the canal worked its magic. The Shropshire countryside was heavenly and I'm going to miss planning our day around the pub stops! Yes the weather was incredible but what made the holiday was the quality of the boat (spotlessly clean, really well appointed and what looked like brand new bathrooms) and knowing that the wonderful Cliff who met us and showed us round the boat was there if we had any problems. His induction was really clear and thorough and although we been on a narrow boat holiday before he gave us the confidence to get going and we felt like old hands by the end. Now we have returned to see the news reports of the poor people stuck at Dover and are doubly glad we decided to have a 'staycation'. If you want a really good fun but relaxing holiday in your own immaculate and well appointed floating home look no further!

  • Stayed: July 2016, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank sophieestewart
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 July 2016 via mobile

Lovely long weekend on Sir Cador. We arrived around 3pm on the Friday and could load our stuff straight onto the boat. We then settled in and had an intro by the lovely Cliff, who also supervised us for 5-10 minutes along the canal as we were complete novices (ask for this service, and make sure you read the handbook as it's invaluable). We had a minor issue with the barge but William came and fixed that quickly for us with no hassle. We went up to Market Drayton, which is a really nice route and doable by the Monday. On our return, leaving the barge was simple. Sir Cador is a lovely barge. Fully recommended!

Stayed: July 2016, travelled as a couple
Thank FranFran144
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about Countrywide Cruisers

Address: Brewood ST19 9BG, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Staffordshire > Brewood
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Hotels in Brewood
Number of rooms: 16

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