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  1. Thanks all for the suggestions... I was initially thinking of doing the Four Counties Ring, but I think it will be a bit of a push in a week? Are there any other recommendations for out and backs from Stone? I had a quick look at a route along the Staffs and Worcs to Stourport and back? How does that compare with the Caldon/Macc?
  2. Hi everyone, looking for a bit of advice... Should hopefully be heading out of Stone on the Trent and Mersey for a week sometime next year, I have been looking at options for an out and back week cruise. Two routes that immediately spring to mind are the Caldon Canal or up the Macclesfield and onto the Peak Forest. Which route would be your suggestion and why? We are an active crew of 4, don't mind locks, lift bridges etc. We like to moor near a good pub or close to a town with eateries rather than out in the sticks. Are there any problems on either canal which would put you off? Thanks in anticipation. M
  3. Update. We have just got home from our week cruising the Warwickshire Ring. It certainly is doable in a week (some longer days are required though) probably not the best choice for novices (in a week). We decided to navigate the ring clockwise (evening mooring locations worked better this way for us). We flew up the Hatton Flight (just over 2hrs), a little slower up Lapworth (The vlockies held us for a while.....for water management purposes), and all other locks in good time. Pubs Visited. The Boat inn- By Stockton Top Lock Marina. Good Food and Beer, friendly and comfortable. 7/10 The Cape of Good Hope- Cape Locks, Warwick. Excellent Sunday Roast, great beer, staff very friendly, nice place. 8/10 Tom O' The Wood- Nr Kingswood Jcn. Excellent food, great beer garden, friendly staff, good value. Nice place (Our Favourite of the week!) 9/10. Gas Street Social- The Mailbox, Birmingham. Food great, very comfortable and modern, good staff. 8/10 The Anchor, Hartshill nr Nuneaton. Excellent value, great food, good beer. (Wasn't expecting much from this place, but it was great!) 8/10. Issues We lost 1/2 a day due to a toilet malfunction. Had a group of drunken youths climbing on the boat at 2am in Birmingham (Mailbox Visitor Moorings), North Stratford Canal very shallow (multiple foulings of the propeller), met several inconsiderate boaters (excessive speed, mooring on lock landings/water points etc) and got soaked to the skin in the heavy rain yesterday. Overall. Didn't really enjoy the North Stratford Canal, far too shallow and full of rubbish (Lapworth locks excluded), the upper part of the Birmingham and Fazeley isn't great, dirty and lots of drunks and druggies shouting abuse (Curdworth toward Fazeley is nice though), The Coventry Canal was surprisingly attractive and probably the best maintained canal on the ring (probably fave canal of the trip?) North Oxford canal nice enough but narrow and shallow in places. Grand Union Canal, Worcester and Birmingham no issues really. Overall an energetic and enjoyable week with a little bit of rough but plenty of smooth!
  4. I generally like to end my day with a pint or six and possibly some food, so always try to moor close to a pub.... It does affect my ranking if there are a lack of "essential" facilities along the canal! ? Haha.
  5. From the few that I have travelled my Top 5 are... 1. The Llangollen... Pretty much all of the canal is very beautiful, with great countryside and spectacular views (especially the last 10 miles or so) and the 2 stunning aqueducts. 2. The South Stratford... Again attractive countryside, some really interesting buildings and places to visit, nice lock flights, pubs and good mooring in Bancroft Basin to visit Stratford Upon Avon. 3. The Grand Union (Leicester line to Mkt Harborough)... Attractive countryside, easy mooring, that stretch of canal offers long tunnels, staircase locks, locks, swing bridges, pubs and good mooring in Market Harborough. 4. Kennet and Avon Canal (Bath to Devizes)... Stunning countryside and attractive towns between Bath and Bradford on Avon, the Caen Hill Lock Flight, Avoncliffe and Dundas aqueducts. Good Pubs. Lack of good mooring prevents it being higher up the list. 5. Ashby Canal... Attractive rural canal for a relaxing trip (no locks), good mooring and interesting places to visit. Lack of waterside pubs means it ranks lower than others in this list.
  6. Thanks all for the replies and suggestions, I think we we have decided to do the Warwickshire Ring. Last summer we hired from Alvechurch and headed up into Birmingham, down farmers bridge, onto the Digbeth branch and picked up the GU through Knowle locks to Kingswood Jcn, down to Bancroft Basin (and a day in Stratford) on the South Stratford, up the entire Stratford and back to Alvechurch in a week without any problems.... I think around 115 locks? No daft long days.
  7. We have recently (last weekend) just come back from a holiday on the Kennet and Avon. We hired from Hilperton, we managed to get to the bottom of the Caen Hill locks at Foxhangers by the end of the first day (around 4.5hrs).. so only around half a day difference between the 2 suggested starting locations. We actually headed up the flight at Caen Hill with the intention of heading east towards hungerford.... But were told when we had got to the top that the flight would be closing for at least 2 days (possibly longer) and that we should head back down the following day to ensure passage before it closed.... Which we did. We then retraced our route back past Hilperton and headed out towards Bath, stopping at Bradford on Avon, and Bathampton before winding in Bath and having a steady pootle back to Bradford on Avon. It should be fairly easy to make Bath and back in 4 nights at a leisurely pace. The canal between Bradford and Bath is particularly beautiful too! Hope this helps!
  8. Thanks for the replies, Indian restaurant recommendations are equally well received. Had a corker in Devizes at 1 Spice last week, and previously at Shagorika (in Market Harborough) and Tagore (off the North Stratford at Hockley Heath). I will be providing reviews on places to eat around the Warwickshire Ring if you like?
  9. We will soon be undertaking our 2nd canal holiday of the month after an "interesting" week on the Kennet and Avon. We are aboard for a week and we're thinking of doing the Warwickshire Ring (with the North Stratford option). Is this doable in a week? 8 hour days won't be a problem and have an experienced crew. Is it better to do it clockwise or anticlockwise... Leaving from the Rugby area? where are the best places to moor (preferably near to a pub, town or village)? Are there any other must do alternative routes (out and back) that aren't subject to too many restrictions, locks etc aren't an issue as the crew like to keep busy. Thanks in anticipation.
  10. Agree with all that's been said.... Like I say a random idea that I thought may be useful. Even if folks don't agree, would be good to hear people's opinions on different canals or routes all in one place....
  11. I have been reading through many posts on this forum for a while now, if I have a question or want to look for any boat or canal information it's my first port of call. I recently had a bit of a random thought and idea... Do members think a Canal Rating (mainly for those new to boating or holiday makers) thread would work? I know some of the scoring sections could be quite subjective, but it could give a good overall view on each canal. Example (scores out of 10... 10 being the highest/best score) 1. Scenery How scenic is the canal, is it surrounded by lush British countryside (fields, farmland, woodland and great views) 2. Industrial heritage Does the canal have lots of industrial heritage such as old wharves, buildings etc 3. Locks Are there many lock flights, long lock free sections, staircase locks, are the locks easy or difficult to navigate. 4. Moorings Is it generally easy or hard to moor at different times of the year (busyness) are the banks good to moor against, is it generally Armco/solid bank or is it mainly pins and gang plank 5. Places of interest Are there villages, towns, buildings, sites/museums or other things that are worth a visit within a short walk of the canal. 6. Pubs/Restaurants and other places to eat. Are there any eateries within a short walk of the canal that are recommended to visit. 7. Facilities Are there plenty of water, waste, elsan, pump out facilities on the canal and which are recommended. 8. Likelihood to recommend to others. Would you recommend the canal to others based on your experience. Total out of 80. Like I say .... Just a random thought, happy for people to have a play around with the questions etc.... It could be quite a useful thread for those with lots of questions.... The same methodology could be used for popular cruising rings and out and backs too? Please feel free to move if it's in the wrong section....wasn't sure where to post it. Thoughts?
  12. Anyone have any pub/restaurant recommendations (Bristol to Hungerford) ? Preferably canal side or within a short walk.
  13. Thanks for the reply, it sounds like moorings may be a problem further west then? Was the Thai restaurant in Bradford on Avon any good?
  14. I expect the canal will be a tad busier in June? Did you find mooring on the canal fairly straight forward? No burying the boat in the reeds and having to use the gang plank to get on and off? Any pub recommendations?
  15. Thanks for the reply, how do you mean slow going? As in shallow or due to the volume of boats? Thanks for the reply, I must admit I like the look of places like Bradford on Avon, Bath and Bristol I think they would offer more in the way of things to go and see etc and eateries. But if that's the busier end where mooring may be difficult, maybe going east is the way forward? Are there plenty of good moorings east of Hilperton? I can't say I'm too keen on using the gang plank!
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