Shipping in the crowds for B&B on narrowboat

Mary Keady and Sean Louram from Hebden Bridge Cruises, at Stubbings Wharf
Mary Keady and Sean Louram from Hebden Bridge Cruises, at Stubbings Wharf

Imagine spending the night gazing at the picturesque beauty of the Rochdale Canal from the cosy haven of a narrowboat.

That dream could soon be a reality if plans to offer bed and breakfast accomodation on the canal are passed.

Business owners are hoping to capitalise on Hebden Bridge’s unique character with their new venture.

Sean Louram and Mary Keady, owners of Hebden Bridge Cruises, currently offer a range of dining cruises on their narrowboat, but hope the expansion of their business will provide another boost to Hebden Bridge’s tourism industry.

Mr Louram, 54, said: “Keeping in tradition with Hebden Bridge, which is alternative and quirky, we have reacted to customer’s requests and decided to expand our business and provide this unique experience so they can enjoy an even longer stay in Hebden Bridge and enjoy the tranquility the canal has to offer.

“Over the last 12 months we have attracted thousands of customers to our dining cruise, with some visitors from overseas.

“I am sure this expansion of our business will have a positive impact on lots of business in the area. It would give a big boost to tourism in Hebden Bridge.

“We are bringing lots of people in and they are not just going on the boat, they are walking around and going in the shops, cafes and pubs, which can only be a good thing for the economy.

“Everyone we have spoken to is really excited about it and they say it will be lovely.”

The plans are currently awaiting approval and a decision is expected by the end of the month.

If passed, the static narrowboat will be moored near Stubbing Brink and will accommodate a maximum of four people at a time, who must all be part of the same group.

The proposals have already been supported by the Canal and River Trust.

Mr Louram added: “It’s so unique and there’s only a few in the country. We are going to make it really welcoming for people.

“We’d like to get it up and running by spring as we don’t want to spoil it by rushing.”