It was Graham & Jill blogging at nb. Armadillo and currently making their way down the South Oxford, that prompted me to write todays post. It’s one I’ve been meaning to do for a while, and forms part of an occasional series of posts about converted BCN day boats.

The nearest ex-BCN day boat to our home mooring is Iain and Alison’s (soon to be former) fuel boat Gosty Hill. With Gosty Hill on the market, with or without the business interest, I thought it’d be timely to celebrate its conversion and images of it’s more recent carrying days…

Gosty Hill was built in 1909 from riveted 1/4″ iron plate and still has her BCN gauge No. 20986. She was part of the Stewarts and Lloyds fleet as a day boat and bore the fleet No 103. She was purchased from Stewarts and Lloyds, who had become part of the British Steel Corporation by that time, in September 1976.

Gosty Hill showing her lineage, riveted iron side and reinforced rubbing strake on the fore-end.

The buyer took her from Coombswood on the Dudley No 2 Canal to Langley Mill on the Erewash Canal, where the boat was placed on hard standing and converted to a motor boat. A full length wooden cabin was added and the boat was lived aboard for some years. The wooden top gradually fell into disrepair, and in the late 1990s new owners put her back to a working boat and had the steel boatman’s cabin and engine room added.

Delivery under way…

The steelwork for the cabin and counter was fabricated by Nick Harrison, and the boatman’s cabin was fitted out by Dave Turner. In recent years the present owners have built a well established and profitable business trading in coal, diesel and sundries throughout the South Midlands, serving the Oxford Canal north of Claydon to Hawkesbury Junction, Braunston, the Coventry Canal to Atherstone and the Ashby Canal to its terminus at Snarestone.

iain & Alison plying their fuel-boat trade…

The boat was rebottomed at Brinklow Boat Services in late 2005 and the lower section of the counter reconstructed in 2010, also at Brinklow Boat Services.

Brrr, iced up yet still trading…
A survey last year (for insurance purposes) by Trevor Whitling showed Gosty Hill to be in rude health.

Gosty Hill in full trading glory, sitting gunnel deep in the water…

The engine is a Dorman 2DWD 2.7 litre 2 cylinder diesel rated at 28hp at 1600rpm. It is fitted with a PRM 101 gearbox.

Gosty Hill moored above Claydon Locks
Gosty Hill, as seen last week, by Graham and Jill, emptied of stock and up for sale…

And just in case you were wondering about the name, well Gosty Hill is on the BCN,  Gosty Hill Tunnel (North end) being on the BCN Dudley Canal No 2 between Windmill End Junction (Junction with Netherton Tunnel Branch Canal) and Coombeswood (Limit of Navigation – The canal from here to Selly Oak is closed).

Gosty Hill Tunnel and day boats…
One end of the Gosty Hill tunnel, the former Coombeswood Steel Works, with numerous day boat…
A more recent picture of Gosty Hill Tunnel…

ps. Graham & Jill thanks for permission to use your recent images of Gosty Hill displaying the ‘For Sale’ sign; and for the photos of Eileen in your blog posted 17.09.12

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One thought on “Gosty Hill

  1. What a shame – I spent a winter at Braunston 4 years ago and was always pleased to see Gosty Hill bringing top-ups of diesel and coal. Often at 8pm but on one occasion, after being iced in, Iain arrived even later – apologising for being a week late! Poor Alison was frozen stiff, waiting at the back of the boat whilst Iain had a good natter with all his customers. I hope to return to Braunston for a winter mooring this year and it is very sad to know that it won’t be Iain and Alison keeping me cozy and warm – just hope they find a like-minded buyer who will keep the business going. Good luck for the future to them both. Linda, Kanbedun Again

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