Just before entering Islington Tunnel on the Regent’s Canal—the longest tunnel in London—another boater gave me this advice:
Just drive like the clappers and the wash of your narrowboat will ensure that she stays exactly in the middle of the tunnel.
Didn’t work. There seems to be a kink in the middle of the tunnel, or maybe that was my imagination. Your imagination does seem a bit overactive when you’re in the pitch dark surrounded by water.
Glad we fixed the problem with the headlamp; last time I drove through Islington Tunnel it was with three battery operated torches strapped to the front of the boat.
A few tips for driving a narrowboat through a tunnel
- open all your curtains and put all your lights on: then you can see the sides of the tunnel better and avoid bumping into them;
- test your headlamp before going into the tunnel;
- make sure your headlamp is pointed upwards a bit so you don’t blind oncoming boats;
- watch out for water pouring from holes in the roof, and have a hat handy;
- and sing “What shall we do with the drunken sailor?” very loudly as you drive through.