Moses loves life in the slow lane

Even though Moses Masih doesn’t consider himself a romantic he’s certainly enjoying one passionate love affair. His beloved Kennet & Avon Canal has been the place for romance, including his marriage proposal to his wife Heather.

Moses on a narrowboat holiday, credit Heather Winstanley Moses on a narrowboat holiday, credit Heather Winstanley

On the boat the pace slows right down, you’re closer to nature. It’s so therapeutic.

Moses has long been a fan of the outdoors, regularly walking and cycling around Bristol’s waterways. So, his first weekend with Heather, in 2017, just had to be a surprise narrowboat trip. February was probably not the best month for the novice boaters, but hail, rain and wind didn’t deter them.

Heather and Moses  (photo by Heather Winstanley Photography)

Well-briefed by the hire boat company they set off from Devizes and immediately caught the boating bug. And the romance continued – on a 2019 trip (perfectly timed as they sailed past Bath’s Sydney Gardens) Moses proposed to Heather (pictured). 

Friends and family

Enjoying a boating holiday at least once a year, Moses has organised many trips for friends and often takes older family members. As Moses explains: “My city-based family rarely visit the countryside, but they love coming out with me. It brings us closer together. On the boat the pace slows right down, you’re closer to nature. It’s so therapeutic. People are kind and helpful, if you get stuck there’s always someone to lend a hand. And people walking on the towpath smile and greet you. For an ‘old school’ man like me it really appeals.”

In 2019 he embarked on his most ambitious adventure, taking 30 church friends along the K&A. For the “city folk” shifting their busy pace of life down to two miles an hour took some adjustment. But Moses’ enthusiasm for narrow boat holidays won through, introducing them to a new view of the town and countryside, impossible to see from any other perspective. Many of his friends are pestering him for the next trip.

Moses and his church friends on holiday in 2019 (photo by Heather Winstanley Photography) Moses and his church friends on holiday in 2019 (photo by Heather Winstanley Photography)

Top tips for boating holidays

This year’s pandemic meant Moses postponing his spring holiday but he’s looking forward to getting out again as soon as possible. He shares his top tips:

  • Be ready to be hands-on. Boating is teamwork. There’s always something to do, from steering the boat to operating the locks. So it’s great exercise.
  • Be prepared to take in the wildlife. The exposure to nature is wonderful, sights, sounds and smells – your senses will appreciate it! And there’s the tasty food you’ll enjoy onboard or in the pubs and cafes along the way.
  • Be ready to slow down. Even the boats take a while to respond when you steer them. This is not a holiday to be hurried, the boat just won’t let you.
Approaching Bath on the Kennet & Avon Canal (photo by Heather Winstanley Photography) Approaching Bath on the Kennet & Avon Canal (photo by Heather Winstanley Photography)

The picture-perfect Dundas Aqueduct is one of Moses’ favourite locations and where he signed up to be a Canal & River Trust supporter. He’s now considering volunteering:

“I really have fallen in love with canals. I’m in awe of the engineering and the fact they’ve survived so long. I am so happy to have found them, and narrow boats” he says, “One day I’d like to live on a boat but until then I’m planning ahead to my next trip”.

Last date edited: 10 August 2020