The Bruce Branch of the Kennet and Avon Canal Trust provides specially-designed, purpose-built, wide-beam canal boats, for hire for self-catering, self-steer holidays by disabled, disadvantaged or elderly people along with their family, friends or carers.
The Trust has a fleet of four boats. Hannah is 12 berth, Rebecca and Diana are 10 berth and Rachel is 6 berth. Each boat has the highest quality accommodation and the ultimate flexibility for people with a wide variety of special needs. They all have a fully equipped galley with cooker and fridge, central heating and flushing W.C. The extra width of the boats provides excellent manoeuvrability for wheelchair users and they all have special built-in facilities:
- Hydraulic lifts
- boarding ramps
- Low-level bunks
- Specially fitted showers and W.C.s
- Large, low-set windows
- Scissor-action hospital bed on The Rebecca
Additional equipment can be provided on request:
- Transfer hoist
- Shower chair
- Cot sides
- Perching stool
All the boats have been designed to give wheelchair users the opportunity to steer by using the tiller. However, both Hannah and Rachel have been fitted with a remote steering device that enables someone with less upper body mobility to steer from their wheelchair, using a joystick.
The boats travel along the Kennet and Avon Canal, which flows through Berkshire and Wiltshire, from the River Thames at Reading to the River Avon at Bath. All four boats operate from Great Bedwyn Wharf, near Marlborough, with a changeover day of Friday or Saturday. These are ideally situated to cruise towards Newbury and Reading or westward to Devizes and down the Caen Hill Flight.