Steam Experience Day

Steam Narrowboat Adamant

Price is £320 per person.

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This is the original and the best steam narrowboat canal experience. We are now in our third year of running these days and we know how to make this a day to remember forever.

Engine briefingThe day starts at 9.00am and after donning your overalls and gloves, (all provided), you can help light the boiler! There are just four delegates on each day and two instructors so you will be well looked after. The driver is very experienced at running the boiler and engine and the person guiding the helmsman is a qualified RYA instructor.

There isn't enough room for friends and families to join the delegates on board Adamant but they are not pushed away and are welcome to stay with the group for morning tea and coffee, watch the ceremony of lighting the boiler and watch the briefing which includes the history of Adamant. When Adamant leaves the wharf, friends and family can drive the short distance to Stockton top lock and photograph the delegates negotiating the lock before turn to head back toward the wharf and Calcutt locks. Further opportunities to see Adamant are limited due to uncertain times of arrival. Families and friends are however welcome to join the group again at the end of the day, for tea or coffee.

After the safety and history briefing and once steam is up, you will start your journey along the Grand Union Canal from our centre at Nelson's Wharf taking turns in steering and looking after the engine and boiler. This is not like steering a standard narrowboat and you will learn some interesting skills. For example, the Steerer has no direct control over the engine speed or gear from the helm, you rely on communicating your timely requirements to the Driver in the engine room.

Steerer in actionThe journey takes us through delightful Warwickshire countryside and includes locks and at least one winding, (turning). There is tea and coffee on the move and we stop for a lunch break before turning for home. You will normally be out on the water from 10.00am to 4.00pm.Engine briefing

At the end of the day you will be tired and grubby but will have the biggest smile you have ever seen. Be prepared to enjoy yourself.

SteererOne word of caution. From the helm, all you hear is the swishing of the propellor and the tweeting of the birds. After steering a steam driven narrowboat you may never go back to a diesel again!

This day is brought to you in association with the owners of steam narrowboat Adamant. Thank you to the Steam Boat Association for their background support.

We don't normally show customer feedback but we received one that was so funny we thought we would share it with you. Click to read.



The iron hull dates from early last century and the 1988 cabin has been built to replicate the Bridgewater Canal Tugs which operated through the Barnton and Preston Brook tunnels. These were also used as packet boats, hence the longish cabin towards the stern.

Adamant has always been powered by steam; the plant consisting of a coal fired vertical fire tube boiler with 177 tubes passing through the water space, operating at 125 lbs per sq inch. The engine is also from the 1900's, built by Cochrane of Birkenhead, a 2 cylinder compound producing about 7 HP at 200 RPM. The exhaust steam is condensed and re-used as feed water.

The propellor is 24 inches diameter with 33.5 inch pitch, direct drive from the engine; no gear box as the engine reverses.

It takes about 45 minutes to raise steam from cold and fuel consumption is about 3 bags per day (75 kg).

Adamant has been in the present ownership for 22 years during which time many modifications have been made to improve the set up.

Steam Experience Days for 2017: There will be one in April and another in late Summer, probbaly September. Book early to be sure of a place, they do fill up very quickly.

The Steam Experience is an ideal Christmas or Birthday gift.