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The joy of barging

Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart have shunned luxury resorts for the delights of the Shropshire canals. Merope Mills can understand why – she’s been doing it for years

My 21st birthday was not celebrated in the raucous manner befitting an early twentysomething. By rights, I should have been falling off a chair drunk or misbehaving in a manner more commonly expected of the recently graduated. Instead – much to the surprise of a number of my student peers – I hired a narrowboat and went on a barging holiday.

There. I said it. My name’s Merope and I’m a committed barger. I’ve been going every year since. And before you start sniggering at the back, I’ve heard it all before. You don’t go barging six years on the trot and let it escape your notice that narrowboat holidays suffer from an image problem.

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