Specialist Education
Cambian Northampton School is an independent specialist secondary school for students with Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs.
Previously, Northampton School visited Braunston Marina and learned about the narrowboats and the local community. Students engaged excellently and really enjoyed the trip, and we were lucky enough to be offered to take part in a residential trip where a group of students and staff could experience life on the narrowboat for 24 hours.

On Tuesday 2nd July 2024, a group of students and staff from Cambian Northampton School arrived at Braunston Marina. The group was greeted by Nigel, Paul and John, who offered their expertise and hospitality.
“Guinevere”, a seventy-foot narrowboat, was equipped with all of the things needed for a comfortable trip on the canal system. A well-explained and engaging safety talk by Paul told the group exactly what we needed to know to keep safe, and they were provided with buoyancy aids to ensure our safety when around the boat.

Once the formalities were finished, each of the students rushed to find and claim their bunks. They were extremely happy and commented on how comfortable each of the beds were. The group then visited the local pub, The Boathouse, and devoured a mighty dinner ready for the adventure ahead.
When back on the boat, tables were put up and games were played; the perfect environment to put your phone down and enjoy alternative forms of entertainment for the evening. After a fun and laughter-filled time, students and staff bedded down for the night to the peaceful sway of the boat.
The following morning started early, with staff using the facilities provided to make everyone bacon and egg sandwiches which were definitely a hit! The boat’s skippers - John, Paul and Linda - explained what was going to happen and our plan for the day.
The journey started with six locks. Staff and students actively got involved, filling the locks and opening the gates. On the journey up, the group were joined by another boat to ensure the lock was full. Students engaged well and really enjoyed this. After the locks, students were provided the opportunity to take the helm and be the skipper of Guinevere, some more successfully than others. It was a proud moment for the staff to see each individual student steering the boat at the tiller, quietly confident learning this new skill.
The group travelled through the Braunston tunnel, plunging them into 1,867 metres of darkness at a rate of 3 knots per hour! Students learnt that before engines were created, the boaters previously had to move the boat by putting their feet on the brickwork and push it along, before being pulled by a horse when out of the tunnel. Fun was had, with flashlights and echoes throughout. After going through the tunnel, the group stopped at Napton Junction for lunch, before making the reverse journey home.
Staff and students alike were extremely grateful for the opportunity provided by the London Narrowboat Project and the volunteers. This was an experience that our students would likely never have had without this charity. We cannot recommend or endorse them any higher. 

A huge thank you from everyone at Cambian Northampton School for the most wonderful experience on the beautiful narrow boat, Guinevere at Braunston, Daventry.


Safety Brief