Canal Boat Hire on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal

The longest canal network in Northern England, the Leeds & Liverpool canal was constructed to provide transport of industrial materials to the market towns. The canal meanders through spectacular Pennine Views, passing mill houses and through staircases of locks.

We offer holiday hirers the opportunity to depart from either Barnoldswick marina or Foulridge marina which is just North of Burnley. From this location, you can cruise East and reach Skipton, navigating through the rural Greenberfield locks. Stopping off at Skipton you can have a gander around the market stalls, the Castle and eat in one of the pubs or restaurants. You can then depart on your narrowboat to experience a mixture of lock flights and lock free cruising. The Bingley Five Rise locks are a spectacular sight, they open directly one after, the other with a total rise of 60ft.

Views of Greenberfield on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal

Views of Greenberfield on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal

Alternatively, you can cruise West towards Wigan, sailing over the rooftops at Burnley passing through a combination of countryside and urban stretches. The area is full of industrial history, such as Weavers Triangle in Burnley, which is home to a lot of textile production and houses historic mill houses. From the marina just south of Blackburn you can choose to cruise to the top of the Wigan flight in a short break or if looking to cruise west for the week you can reach Manchester City Centre.

This canal network offers experienced boating holiday makers one way hire from Hebden Bridge to Barnoldswick or from Foulridge to Sowerby Bridge, passing onto the Rochdale Canal or Calder and Hebble Navigation. The Leeds and Liverpool offers the relaxed rolling countryside of the Pennines, with farmhouses, barns and the occasional market village or town.

Search for your boating holiday on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal :

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Or click to search for all our Canal Boat Holidays or to search for motor cruisers available for Norfolk Broads boat hire.

To speak directly to one of our friendly team at Waterways Holidays Ltd, call us on 01252 796400, open 7 days a week.

SUPER SAVER for this weekend on the UK Canals!

This weekend only, whilst the sun is out, the marinas at Lower Heyford, Lechlade and Bradford on Avon, are offering up to £600.00 off weekend hire on selected boats.

Bath City

Bath City

Save up to £600.00 on city breaks to Bath or Oxford this weekend!

Oxford is seven hours cruising from the Lower Heyford marina, heading south. Shop until you drop, immerse yourself in culture, party the night away, or simply relax.

Ten berth ‘Heyford’ reduced from £1,499.00 to £899.00

Or start at Bradford on Avon marina and head west for an almost lock free cruise to Bath, passing countryside fields and stopping off at one of the many canal side pubs, descending the locks to the city centre if you wish.

Ten berth ‘Dundas’ reduced from £1,499.00 to £899.00, six berth ‘Corsham’ reduced from £1,099.00 to £699.00

Save up to £400.00 on relaxing upper Thames cruising this weekend!

Head upstream on the beautifully peaceful Upper Thames to the Head of Navigation at Inglesham with opportunities to stop off in the countryside, whilst downstream you can visit Kelmscott Manor and Buscot House.

Six berth ‘Godstow’ reduced from £1,099.00 to £699.00

Rural Boating Break

Rural Boating Break

Book now to avoid disappointment!

Call us on 01252 796400 to book

Or click for all our special offers currently running: Canal Boat Holidays on the UK Canals or Motor Cruisers available for Norfolk Broads boating holidays.

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The Fenland Waterways

Bridge over the Waterways

Bridge over the Waterways

March Marina is situated on the outskirts of the village, once an island floating amongst the marshy fens, now a market village situated on the River Nene. The river banks are lined with pretty thatched cottages and reeds with scenic views.

As you depart March and head south you will pass St. Wendreda’s Church, named after the Saxon Princess, the church is known for its roof that features 120 angel carvings. Cruising to Peterborough is easily achievable in a weekend break taking 6 hours to reach, passing the historic town of Whittlesey and through marshy waterways. Ferry Meadows Country Park is also located on the waters, with a variety of activities available such as horse riding, walking, windsurfing and sailing. The park is an ideal mooring point for all the family before making your way to Peterborough.

Peterborough is home to a rich heritage as well as a large selection of shops and dining opportunities. In a weekend break you could choose to spend the day off your hire boat and explore the city by foot. Perhaps browsing the local boutiques or visiting Cathedral Square in the city centre for alfresco dining with plenty of street entertainment. A collection of unique sculptures can be visible from the water or closer inspected by foot, they are often located in areas of great beauty such as Thorpe Meadows, Lynch Wood or Burghley House.

Ely Marina is situated on the River Great Ouse within easy reach of the town centre, once home to historic leader Oliver Cromwell. The towering Ely Cathedral, known locally as the Ship of the Fens, is visible wide and far around the flat countryside of East Anglia. From this marina you can leisurely cruise south and merge onto the River Cam to float into Cambridge in a weekend break, taking approximately six – seven hours cruising.

Ely Cathedral

Ely Cathedral

Float down to Cambridge past Wicken Fens and the Nature Reserves, where there is a wealth of things to experience in the City Centre. Whether you are looking to experience the heritage of Cambridge, the nightlife entertainment through theatre performances or one of the many bars, or if you’d rather a healthy walk to explore the local scenery. There really is something for everyone to experience with a large selection of shops to browse or restaurants and pubs to dine in. The City also offers water lovers the opportunity to take to the River in slightly less orthodox form of vessel, sailing down the marshy flatlands in a wooden Punt.

For one week plus holidays from Ely, why not cruise past Huntingdon and St Neots and make your way to the cultural town of Bedford where the navigations end. This is achievable in a week with approximately 6 – 7 hours a day. There are a wide selection of villages tucked away down country lanes along the River, each with their own historical significance.

Search for your boating holiday on the Fens:

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Or click to search for all our Canal Boat Holidays or to search for motor cruisers available for Norfolk Broads boat hire.

To speak directly to one of our friendly team at Waterways Holidays Ltd, call us on 01252 796400, open 7 days a week.

Canal Boat Hire on the Lancaster Canal

The Lancaster Canal offers boating holiday makers the chance to experience the scenic views of the Lancashire rolling countryside, Forests of Bowland, Morecambe Bay and Lancaster City Centre.

The Lancaster Canal stretches from Tewitfield to Preston, covering 41 miles of lock free contour built canal. From Preston in the South, dating back to the Doomsday Book, the Canal meanders through rural Lancashire passing market villages such as Catforth and Bilsborrow. At Bilsborrow you can moor up your narrowboat and visit the award winning Garden Centre and Cafe. Situated across the water at Barton, you can browse the horticulture, grab a cup of tea and cake before returning to your canal boat. Cruising North you approach the medieval village of Garstang, a place full of history and culture, explore the town centre with its unique craft shops and boutiques. The village offers several walks as well through the sweeping rural valleys and fields.

Glasson Branch on the Lancaster Canal

Glasson Branch on the Lancaster Canal

Moor up to experience the Glasson Branch by foot, it is worth a detour if you have time. Glasson port was once a fully functional method of transporting goods via the River Lune until Preston Dock opened. Now a quiet village boasting some spectacular views, on this stretch you will encounter six locks, travelling through the open countryside as you approach the port. The dock is now a quiet backwater at the mouth of the River Lune.

Lancaster City, originally a Roman settlement, is full of interesting architecture, museums and shopping facilities. Lancaster Castle provides lofty views of the City and Coastline, as does the Victorian domed building, Ashton Memorial, overlooking Morecambe Bay. There are plenty of restaurants to pick from here, if you’re stopping off for the night. Or if its just a flying visit you can grab a cup of tea and snack to go at one of the tucked away cafes. The maritime Museum is just off the water front as well for those interested in the history of the port and the merchants activity.

Returning to your hire boat, you can cruise out of the city North to Tewitfield, where the Lune Aqueduct will shortly become visible. An impressive piece of architecture designed by John Rennie and completed in 1797, the aqueduct carries the canal for 664ft at a height of 61ft. A canal boat holiday on the Lancaster Canal really offers the perfect combination of historic architecture and culture, scenic Lancashire Countryside views and a coastal experience, all accessible by boat!

Search for your boating holiday on the Lancaster Canal :

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Or click to search for all our Canal Boat Holidays or to search for motor cruisers available for Norfolk Broads boat hire.

To speak directly to one of our friendly team at Waterways Holidays Ltd, call us on 01252 796400, open 7 days a week.

Dawn’s canal boat holiday – Grand Union Canal

A member of our booking team at Waterways Holidays took to the waters again. Dawn, accompanied by friends, family and Meg the dog, booked a canal boating holiday on the narrowboat ‘Jade’ from the base at Linslade. We thought it might be useful to supply you with a day-to-day diary of a weekend boat hire from Linslade.

Hire Boat 'Jade'

Hire Boat ‘Jade’

Day 1 – We arrived at Linslade marina at 1 o’clock to collect the boat ‘Jade’. The marina is located 1/2 hour cruise north of Leighton Buzzard.

After studying our canal guide and chatting to the lovely staff at the marina, we took their advice and decided to cruise north from the Linslade marina with the hope of reaching the bottom locks before Stoke Bruerne and walking to the Canal Museum. This was the furthest that the marina staff advised for a weekend cruise. We boarded promptly at 1.30pm and set off with our boat instructor, Pete, after receiving tuition at the yard. After running through the lock tuition for the benefit of my novice boaters, Pete said his goodbyes. We started cruising at 3.50pm. The Canal navigates following the River Ouze and meanders much like the river up to Stoke Hammond. The landscape begins quite hilly with expansive woodland and then towards Soulbury flattens to reveal some very well maintained grounds.

Approaching Stoke Hammond

Approaching Stoke Hammond

We arrived at Stoke Hammond at around 5.15pm and cruised past what appeared to be an old pump house that was being used as part of someones farm grounds. Here we stopped off to pick up some freshly laid eggs for the following morning fry up. Just pass this farm is a connection to the Milton Keynes Boundary Walk, if you fancy stopping off the stretch the dogs legs for a nice scenic walk.

We decided to stop for the night at 6.30pm stepping off our canal boat to eat at the Bridge Inn for some pub grub. Ideal for those with dogs and families, very accommodating.

Day 2 – Set off the following morning at 9.50am to begin our cruise towards Milton Keynes and Yardley Gobion.

We began by passing the outskirts of Milton Keynes with light industrial buildings to one side and a large nature reserve along the other, it’s a great route with ever changing landscape! We stopped at The Black Horse Bridge pub for a nice lunch at 1pm, we decided the weather was nice enough for eating in the pub garden with nice views of the canal. After starting off again we came across some professionally painted walls that appeared like graffiti and then passed over a main road on the Grafton Street Aqueduct with some impressive views.

Grand Union Canal - Aqueduct

Grand Union Canal – Aqueduct

We got a little way laid by the dredger boat on the water on the second day. A group of volunteers had dedicated their weekend to clearing up the waterways. Unfortunately their hard work did slow us a little, which meant we decided to turn an hour or so short of the Canal Museum. We came to the decision that it would be better to turn around rather than panic to get the boat back to Linslade on Monday morning! And of course, we knew we’d have to pass them again on our way back to the marina.  Just goes to show how tricky it can sometimes be to plan your route before hand.

We turned our hire boat at Yardley Gobion, a village just south of Stoke Bruerne, just past the pretty Solomon’s Bridge. Cruised back to Thrupp Wharf and ate dinner at The Navigation Pub. Here children and pets are welcome in the eating area or garden. There is a selection of real ales and bar food available, and it had a really friendly atmosphere.

Day 3- Departed Thrupp wharf at 10.30am to start heading back to the marina.

Heading back past Milton Keynes we noticed in the far distance what appeared the metal structure of a theme park ride, after further research we’ve determined this to be Gullivers Theme Park, featuring rides, splash zone and dinosaur area. If your travelling with the children and have a spare couple of hours, it looked at exciting place to stop! We cruised to a point along the canal an hour or so from the Linslade marina for our last supper- spent on board the boat. After our meal, we had a stroll up the tow path back toward the Soulbury Three Locks and enjoyed a nightcap at the lockside pub. By the way, the food looked great there too. Although you may choose to eat out at the Globe Inn on the last night, which also looked nice and served good food. (Mooring at the Globe in would have only left us 30 minutes cruising back to the marina, but we ran out of light!) Mooring just beyond the three locks left us with one hour’s cruising to get back on time.

We arrived at Linslade marina for 9am on Monday morning. Staff were ready and waiting for us. We were directed to our mooring and helped tie our boat up for the final time. We handed over the keys, off loaded our belongings and said a fond goodbye to our very comfortable home of three nights.

We all agreed, the weekend was thoroughly enjoyable as it was pretty active, but cruising along at 4 miles per hour, you get the relaxing feeling of watching the world go by. My novice boater friends fell totally in love with life on a narrowboat and have vowed to do it again… So the only question is where next?!

Linslade Marina

Linslade Marina

Facts about the Grand Union Canal:
  • link from London to the Midlands- once the busiest canal network in the country
  • constructed for transport from 1805
  • the 137 mile long canal is the longest single canal in Britain
  • the mainline Brentford to Birmingham consists of approximately 166 locks

More photos will be up for Dawn’s Boating Holiday on our Waterways Holidays Facebook page.

Search for your boating holiday from Linslade Marina:

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Or click to search for all our Canal Boat Holidays or to search for cruisers available for Norfolk Broads boat hire.

To speak directly to one of our friendly team at Waterways Holidays Ltd, call us on 01252 796400, open 7 days a week.

Wootton Wawen Easter Boating Holiday Breaks

Hurry! We are booking up fast for the Easter weekend!

A perfect boating holiday for family groups of four are the Wier Class boats, ‘Teddington’ and ‘Shepperton’ from Wootton Wawen marina, near Stratford upon Avon. This class of boat is perfect for a family of four with a fixed double and two singles in the galley area. These boats are showing at a price of £625.00 for the weekend all inclusive.

From Wootton Wawen, you can amble down the Stratford Canal into Shakespeares town and experience a traditional british town, steeped in history and surrounded by Warwickshire countryside. From the marina to Stratford is a flight of 11 locks and two locks, taking approximately 4-5 hours, leaving you plenty of time to stop off for a long afternoon in the town and cruising onto the Upper Avon navigations.

BW House on the Waters

BW House on the Waters

Easter boating is proving to be a very popular family break, with the increasingly early Summers, this is a great time to try something different for a weekend away 0n the UK Canals in the glorious British sunshine.

One Way Canal Boat Hire in Southern England!

Last Minute Special Offer!

The marina at Lower Heyford on the South Oxford Canal are offering a one way hire to Lechlade marina on the River Thames, on the 6 berth four star boat: ‘Godstow’.

This one way is suitable for a weekend break, commencing either the 29th/30th March 2012, if you can start on the Thursday the 29th this would give you a bit more cruising time. The marina will also provide a mini bus at Lechlade to return you to your car. Hurry this offer won’t be around for long!

SAVE £500.00!  Price reduced from £899.00 to £399.00, ALL INCLUSIVE!
Lower Heyford Marina

Lower Heyford Marina

Route Description: Starting on the South Oxford Canal, cruising through picturesque scenery, to Dukes Cut. From here you navigate onto the River Thames cruising West towards Lechlade. The route takes approximately 17 hours, working out about 7 hours a day for the Friday- Monday. Or if you can commence the holiday on the Thursday, this would make for a more leisurely cruise, and an opportunity to stop off at Oxford City Centre.

Call us on 01252 796400 to book

Boating Holiday Special Offers – four days left…

Save 10% off the Summer Holidays from selected marinas

See below for further details on applicable holidays – valid until 12/03/12.

Visit the Thames and the Dreaming Spires of Oxford:

Combine a family boating holiday aboard one of the youngest narrowboats in the country with a sight seeing break in Oxford. Skirting the Cotswolds, the Oxford Canal meanders alongside picturesque parks – great for a family picnic and a chance to walk the dog. Visit Oxford with its dreaming spires, ‘home’ of Alice in Wonderland.

Magnificent Architecture - Oxford University

Magnificent Architecture – Oxford University

Check availability for Discounted Boating Holidays in Oxford:

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Explore the stunning Pennine and Yorkshire Waterways:

Explore Yorkshire’s Secret waterways, where the scenery is grander, the waterways less crowded – and the beer cheaper!  Three canals cross the Pennines, each with its own character, but all showing the determination of two centuries ago to get goods moving across the hills and build prosperity.

Yorkshire Views

Yorkshire Views

Check availability for Discounted Boating Holidays in the Pennines:

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Visit the World Heritage Roman City of Bath by boat:

Save 10% this Summer when you visit the World Heritage City of Bath by boat. Set in rolling Somerset and Avon countryside, explore the quaint villages of Bradford on Avon and Trowbridge, experience the Avoncliffe and Dundas Aqueducts and visit the Roman City of Bath on selected boats from Bradford on Avon.

Historic Views of Bath

Historic Views of Bath

Check availability for Discounted Boating Holidays in Bath:

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Click for all our special offers currently running: Canal Boat Holidays on the UK Canals or Motor Cruisers available for Norfolk Broads boating holidays.

Norfolk Broads Sailing Yachts- the gems of the Broads

The Norfolk Broads wouldn’t be complete without the sight of traditional yachts with their sails billowing in the breeze – the perfect place to enjoy some of the best inland sailing anywhere in the world. Broads yachts are built to harmonise with their surroundings and offer a choice of both traditional gaff rig sails to catch every breath of wind or modern bermudan rig for ease of handling. Most traditional yachts feature cosy traditional interiors evoking a sense of yester year and a slower pace of life.

Norfolk Broad Sailing Yacht- Gem of the Broads

Norfolk Broad Sailing Yacht- Gem of the Broads

Sailing on the Norfolk Broads is ideal for those with a little previous experience of sailing. If however, you are looking to sail for the first time on the Broads, Upton Marina can provide some introductory instruction, which can be booked in advance at a charge of £15.00 per hour. This will include sailing on the river to demonstrate basic sailing manouevres in confined waters plus exciting sailing on the open waters of the larger Broads. The duration of this instruction can be extended if further tuition is necessary, this will be charged at an hourly rate.

Sailing Yacht Rigs:

Perfect for a family of four with a little previous sailing experience  is the yacht ‘Coriander’ with 3 single beds and 1 double.  This 30ft yacht has a modern Bermudan rig with a 10hp Yanmar Diesel in the fore peak. The bermudan rig is most familiar to those with dinghy or coastal sea sailing experience and often includes a furling jib as well as the standard triangular mainsail. By comparison, the gaff rig, featured on the yacht ‘Windjammer’, is a more traditional Broads sail arrangement and is perfect to catch every last breath of wind. ‘Windjammer’ is a fast and elegant yacht built using  traditional styling and she is equipped to a high standard. She sleeps 4 comfortably in a double and two singles.

'Tornado' - Bermuda Rig (left) and 'Windjammer' - Gaff Rig (right)

Sailing yachts are the essence of the Norfolk Broads and have been present on the waters for over 50 years, hiring a sailing yacht is a perfect way to familarise yourself with the waters and forget the stresses of everyday life.

Search for your Sailing Yacht holiday:

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Or click to search for all our Norfolk Broads Boat Holidays or to search for boat holidays available for narrowboat boat hire.

To speak directly to one of our friendly team at Waterways Holidays Ltd, call us on 01252 796400, open 7 days a week.

New boats for hire in 2012

Just for all you boating fans out there, here’s an exclusive first look at some of the new boats for 2012 on the Waterways Holidays website and a reminder of some of the boats that were introduced in 2011.

Norfolk Broads Boat Hire:

‘Olympic Light’ from Potter Heigham- New to the Norfolk Broads in late August 2011.

Brand New in August 2011 'Olympic Light'

Brand New in August 2011 ‘Olympic Light’

A luxurious dual steering 6 berth motor cruiser with two shower rooms (full sized showers in each). Fully equipped with bow and stern thrusters to aid the boat when mooring or manoeuvring. Hydraulic drive with stern housed engine helps to make the boat quieter for those on board. There are LCD TVs and DVD players in both the saloon and rear cabin, with a satellite tracking dome to receive Freeview channels. There’s lots of handy little extra’s, such as a stereo radio/CD player with a premium sound system, LED lighting and a wine rack in the galley.

‘Radiant Emblem’ from Horning- Brand new to the Norfolk Broads in 2011.

'Radiant Emblem'

Brand New in 2011 ‘Radiant Emblem’

A specially designed aft cabin cruiser. Combines a spacious interior saloon with a flying bridge up top, features modern home comforts including satellite TV. The master cabin is aft of the saloon and provides a nice space away from the rest of the accommodation. The forward two cabins have a separate shower compartment and toilet compartment. The upper helm allows for excellent views across the marshes and beyond.

Watch this space! New Norfolk Broads for 2012

‘Royale Light’ from Potter Heigham

A high class dual steering motor cruiser being built this winter. Fully equipped with three fixed double beds in three cabins fitted with sprung mattresses and two en suites. The upper sundeck is being built with seating for six and two sunbathing platforms for those wishing to soak up the rays.

Check out the Waterways Holidays facebook page for exclusive pictures of this boat being built at the Potter Heigham marina.

‘Quartet’ from Wroxham

A 5 star cruiser perfect for a party of four. With two double cabins, an en suite in the rear cabin and powerful full sized showers. Satellite TV with DVD and USB facilities available on board.  This yard also supply dog life jackets as well for pet lovers wishing to bring their furry friends.

UK Canal boat holidays:

‘Heron’ from Rugby-  New to the UK Canals late October 2011.

Brand New Narrowboat 'Heron'

Brand New Narrowboat ‘Heron’

Classic cruiser stern boat, with well equipped galley including full sized fridge and a free standing cooker.  The furnishing is modern light wood and there is a solid fuel stove providing a flare of the traditional working narrowboats as well as full central heating on board.

‘Princess class’ from selected UK marinas-  New to the UK Canals early August 2011.

New Princess Class

New Princess Class

A cruiser stern narrowboat fitted to a high standard with a double bed and sprung bed mattress for extra comfort. The 47ft canal boat is carpeted throughout and has white walls and light wood furnishing for a light and airy finish. The shower in the bathroom, located next to the fixed double cabin, is full sized for extra luxury.

Watch this space! New canal boats due to be completed in 2012

‘Buckingham’ from Sowerby Bridge

Explore the historic Yorkshire Canals aboard 56ft ‘Buckingham’ from the base at Sowerby Bridge. Perfect for families of four to six, ‘Buckingham’ has a flexible bed layout with sprung mattresses on all permanent beds. Facilities on board include a radio/CD/mp3 player with four speakers, a TV/DVD player and 230v power for extras like the microwave and hairdryer.

‘Dove class’ from selected UK marinas

Coming to the waters in mid December are the Dove class boats available from Aldermaston on the Kennet and Avon canal, Gailey on the Grand Union Canal and Worcester & Avon. Flexible bed layout allowing for double or single beds, depending on the party. Fully equipped galley with some handy extra’s such as a microwave, toaster and filtered coffee machine.

‘Bond class’ from selected UK marinas

The four brand new bond class boats are available from Great Haywood, Bradford on Avon, Oxford, Bath, Trevor and Wootton Wawen, so plenty of marinas to choose from!  These boats are fully equipped with flexible sliding doors for added privacy between cabins, and large stern and foredeck for groups to relax together in the open air. They are fitted with two shower and toilet cubicles with full sized showers as a luxurious perk.

‘Rachel’ & ‘Madeleine’ from Stockton & Warwick

Explore Warwickshire aboard two beautiful brand new narrow boats for 2012. Both still being built, 45ft ‘Madeleine’ will have a semi-traditional stern with a light interior providing comfortable accommodation for a family of four. 50ft Narrow boat ‘Rachel’ will be ideal for couples, complete with fully equipped galley, light interior and plenty of storage space.

Check availability for new boats in 2011 & 2012:

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Click: Norfolk Broads boat hire to search for our live availability of Broads Holidays, or click: Canal Boat Holidays to search for our live availability on the UK Canals. Or give us a call on 01252 796400 to talk to one of our friendly team, the office is manned 7 days a week.