Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A different tour of Britain

Great Britain is a hugely popular tourist destination, and the place if full of 'must-see' sights, packaged tours, and twee little villages. A new DVD on our shelves shows you a different way of seeing Britain, a way that seems especially attractive to our little boating community. Britain's Gentle Highway: a canal adventure in England, Scotland & Wales allows the viewer to accompany Fran and Brooke Reidelberger - an American couple - as they travel around the country in an adorable little travel barge. About the size of a large RV, and sporting the same amenities (bathroom, shower, bed, kitchenette), these housebarges can be rented by travelers for the week or month. Providing transportation and lodging (and meals, if you want to cook), this seems like a lovely way of tooling around Britain. You are confined to where the canals are, but according to the short historical introduction of this DVD, there are hundreds of miles of canals to explore.
This DVD is a bit mediocre (you might even consider watching it with the mute button on - the narrator consistently mispronounced the word 'quay'), with a little too much footage of ducks and swans, but the scenery is wonderful and it presents a truly unique way of seeing England, Scotland and Wales. The best thing about this DVD are the locks. Not the locks on the case, but the canal locks. There seems to be an innumerable number of configurations and designs for locks, and the most spectacular is the Falkirk Wheel in Scotland (in fact, it was the picture of this 21st-century engineering marvel that made me sit down and watch the DVD in the first place). Whether you are planning a trip to Great Britain, or you just love boating and engineering, this DVD can be very informative. And clocking in at 90 minutes, it covers a lot of territory at a leisurely pace - much like the canal boats it celebrates.

No comments: