Meet the boat hire firm aiming to become perfect 'stress-free' tonic
- Credit: Daniel Mason
Husband and wife team Danny and Natalie Hardiman hope that their boat hire business can become an ideal relaxation spot for both younger and older visitors.
“You are hiring the boat for a slow relaxation” said Danny, who runs Brandon Creek Boat Hire.
When the boat hire business opened in May last year, the couple were receiving much interest from different families, friends and couples.
Natalie and Danny have made changes to their booking process and aim to offer a relaxing tonic through the likes of a narrowboat and cruiser.
“We’ve always loved being near the river; it’s the peace and quiet of being on your own," said Natalie.
“We have a declaration form to prove they are happy to manoeuvre the boat and shown how to use the boat."
On my visit on June 29, I was given a tour of the 35ft narrowboat named Matilda used for private hires, featuring a kitchen and seating area for up to eight people.
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It is a boat that was fitted out by Danny, formerly a welder, two years ago after the first Covid-19 lockdown and requires at least two people aged 25 to travel on board.
“The boats get sprayed, cleaned and sanitised,” the couple said.
“One person had decorated the narrowboat for a 60th birthday party! A lot of our bookers are booking for special occasions.”
With the guidance of Danny, I navigated the narrowboat along the peaceful River Little Ouse towards Brandon, known as a popular route for birdwatchers and wildlife lovers.
This is one of several routes you can take including to Ely and Littleport, which can also be embarked upon in the company’s cruiser, Daisy.
And despite facing the challenge of social media, Natalie, who runs Little Ouse Moorings along the river, feels that their plan is working.
“We know how lovely a day out on the river with friends and family is and we want people to see that,” she added.
“In 2019, we decided we wanted to do boat hiring but we wanted to do it properly.
“It’s a lovely stress-free day.”