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tehmarks

Where next?

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I'm self-employed in a London-centric industry, and am usually based somewhere north of London. I'm also a climber, northerner and massive fan of the Peak District, so just before the beginning of lockdown I realised that I would be very quiet on the work front for some time and pointed the boat north. I'm now on the Upper Peak Forest but feeling restless again. I probably need to head back south by spring next year - but I'm not sure what to do in-between. The most appealing options I think are:

  • Head to the Lancaster Canal and spend winter up there near the Lake District and Bowland Forest, before coming back south via the Weaver and Trent & Mersey.
  • Head on to the Leeds & Liverpool and take my time around the section around Gargrave, before heading back down the Trent and Soar at the end of winter.
  • Explore Shropshire and the Llangollen and spend winter somewhere around there, before either heading onto the Grand Union or Oxford via the BCN.

 

From the end of any of those, the eventual plan will be to meander on to the Kennet & Avon and in the direction of Bristol and my partner, who is moving to Torquay*.

 

I'm not planning on doing any of this rapidly - I want to leisurely explore the area over a few months, spending 1-2 weeks on quiet moorings rather than upping sticks every other day. What would people recommend? I'm single-crewed but  am young and fit, have no aversion to locks, bridges, amusing single-handing problems or other challenges. I have crew available for the obvious bits that will need crew - tidal stretches like the Ribble Link, etc. No prior experience of rivers, but I'm confident in my ability to handle a boat, reasonably astute and pretty sure I'd be alright (and there's a suitable anchor in the bow locker that's just begging to be made ready to be deployed 😉). I have a car, but I've never yet failed to find parking in a few years of trying.

 

* - yes, I know I can't get to Torquay on the inland waterways...!

Edited by tehmarks

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1 minute ago, tehmarks said:

Head to the Lancaster Canal and spend winter up there

 

If you're intending to do that, get a wiggle on.  There are only 2 "up" crossings still available to book this year, and if the weather is bad they might get cancelled.

 

 

 

Add: 30th September and 1st October are the only days left bookable online, and there are currently only 3 slots left either day.

 

After that, the link is closed until April next year.

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4 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

If you're intending to do that, get a wiggle on.  There are only 2 "up" crossings still available to book this year, and if the weather is bad they might get cancelled.

Ooh, bugger, that I did not know, thank you! If there's a possibility of being stuck up there once up there due to lack of crossings, that seems a bit limiting.

 

Edit

Just found and had a look at the 2020 timetable - thanks for the heads-up. No sign of a 2021 timetable - do you know roughly when passages begin again in the new year? Around spring, I presume?

Edited by tehmarks

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5 minutes ago, tehmarks said:

do you know roughly when passages begin again in the new year? Around spring, I presume?

 

9 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

Add: 30th September and 1st October are the only days left bookable online, and there are currently only 3 slots left either day.

 

After that, the link is closed until April next year.

 

 

For what it's worth, we are overwintering on the Lancaster this year for a change, as it's a nice easy canal - only one swingbridge that needs to be operated and there's a stoppage north of that from November to March so the only bit that's not flat open water is the six locks down to Glasson Dock. 

 

It's going to be a lazy winter!

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Let's remove that as an option then - I have no idea when work will become possible again, but when it does I suspect it will come back with a bang. I'm hoping for March, and I don't fancy having to commute to London from Lancaster for over a month if it works out like that...

Edited by tehmarks

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3 minutes ago, tehmarks said:

Let's remove that as an option then - I have no idea when work will become possible again, but when it does I suspect it will come back with a bang. I'm hoping for March, and I don't fancy having to commute to London from Lancaster for over a month if it works out like that...

 

You'd better check the winter stoppages list too before choosing the L&L option - commuting from Leeds won't be much quicker or more fun than from Lancaster.

 

Crewe is a bit better, but you're only really looking at an hour difference on the Lancaster train.

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Yes - I briefly ran my plans through Canalplan with dates to check for stoppages, but haven't been that thorough yet, still at the concept ('daydreaming') stage. At least the Leeds & Liverpool has two ends... :)

I'm hoping someone is going to pop up and tell me just how lovely either of those options are, and how I must do such and such because there's an abundance of quite, idyllic moorings in the middle of nowhere and really pretty canal villages with really pretty architecture and really friendly locals. At the minute, I'm leaning slighty towards the Leeds & Liverpool - but only because it's nice being closer to 'home' than at any time in the past ten years. I've missed this end of the country!

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5 minutes ago, tehmarks said:

I'm hoping someone is going to pop up and tell me just how lovely either of those options are, and how I must do such and such because there's an abundance of quite, idyllic moorings in the middle of nowhere and really pretty canal villages with really pretty architecture and really friendly locals

 

We usually overwinter on the L&L, but are doing the Lancaster for a change.

 

They're both lovely (mostly!) and you must visit [long list of places] because there are nice quiet moorings with great views and really pretty canalside villages and towns.  Some lovely buildings and friendly people too ...

 

 

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What about the Rochdale and the Huddersfield? A nice loop with enough locks to keep you fit. (assuming they don't get too many more stoppags on the Rochdale).

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9 minutes ago, David Mack said:

What about the Rochdale and the Huddersfield? A nice loop with enough locks to keep you fit. (assuming they don't get too many more stoppags on the Rochdale).

If he's on the Peak Forest then down the Huddersfield and onto the Rochdale would make much sense, but then I keep getting told off for recommending the Rochdale. 😀

 

but if he visits the Rochdale he might never go back to London (though Rochdale to Bristol is a rather nice cruise).

 

..............Dave

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17 hours ago, David Mack said:

What about the Rochdale and the Huddersfield? A nice loop with enough locks to keep you fit. (assuming they don't get too many more stoppags on the Rochdale).

I did think about heading east across the Huddersfield Narrow, but I decided I didn't fancy flirting with the risk of getting stuck on the cill of a leaky lock and watching my home sink before I can get uphill to let water down.

16 hours ago, dmr said:

but if he visits the Rochdale he might never go back to London (though Rochdale to Bristol is a rather nice cruise).

Small point of clarification - I've never been based in London, and have no intention of ever being so 😉

 

I think the Leeds & Liverpool is the winning idea. I've taken a look at the winter stoppages and they shouldn't be a major problem to work around.

Edited by tehmarks

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50 minutes ago, tehmarks said:

I did think about heading east across the Huddersfield Narrow, but I decided I didn't fancy flirting with the risk of getting stuck on the cill of a leaky lock and watching my home sink before I can get uphill to let water down.

If you're worried about hanging up on the cill, surely that can happen in any lock?

 

now getting stuck in a drained pound however.....

 

 

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7 hours ago, Hudds Lad said:

If you're worried about hanging up on the cill, surely that can happen in any lock?

The Huddersfield Narrow seems to have a reputation for boats haging up on the cill when leaving full locks (as opposed to hanging up when emptying the lock), because the pounds are so short and the locks often quite leaky. As it's me, myself and I, I don't fancy tempting fate. I'm pretty quick on my feet, but...

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1 minute ago, tehmarks said:

The Huddersfield Narrow seems to have a reputation for boats haging up on the cill when leaving full locks (as opposed to hanging up when emptying the lock), because the pounds are so short and the locks often quite leaky.

 

Does it?  It's never happened to me, and I can't remember anyone else saying it's happened to them either.

 

Can you give more detail on where you got this information from please?

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Various previous threads on here, such as this one. Admittedly that isn't even close to current, but it made me a bit reticent to verify the accuracy for myself!

 

That said, if it's actually not a well-known problem, I may have to reconsider.

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14 minutes ago, tehmarks said:

Various previous threads on here, such as this one. Admittedly that isn't even close to current, but it made me a bit reticent to verify the accuracy for myself!

 

That said, if it's actually not a well-known problem, I may have to reconsider.

 

I'd not seen that thread, so thanks for the link.  It's certainly not a regular recent occurrence. Don't leave your boat partially over top cills would seem to be the idea, especially in leaky locks with low pounds. 

 

The trouble with the Hudd Shallow is not being able to get to the sides in most places, but if you can get on and off the bow of your boat in the lock mouths you'll be fine.  Check your boat profile against the Standedge chart before going up to the summit though.

 

https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/places-to-visit/standedge-tunnel-and-visitor-centre/boating-through-standedge-tunnel

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1 minute ago, TheBiscuits said:

 

I'd not seen that thread, so thanks for the link.  It's certainly not a regular recent occurrence. Don't leave your boat partially over top cills would seem to be the idea, especially in leaky locks with low pounds. 

 

The trouble with the Hudd Shallow is not being able to get to the sides in most places, but if you can get on and off the bow of your boat in the lock mouths you'll be fine.  Check your boat profile against the Standedge chart before going up to the summit though.

 

https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/places-to-visit/standedge-tunnel-and-visitor-centre/boating-through-standedge-tunnel

Getting stuck on a cill with a falling level must be the ultimate nightmare, watching your boat slowly sink 😟 but like all boating accidents once you understand the potential risk you can easily handle it, its only the unanticipated that gets you. We have been out of quite a few locks into low pounds, just use the "depth stick" to check the levels and if you can't easily get out then don't risk it. Lots of boats sink in locks but that's not a reason not to go through locks.

 

................Dave

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Tehmarks, I assume like me you have a short boat if you’re considering doing the Leeds and Liverpool? If that’s the case getting stuck on a cill in a long Lock on the Huddersfield is highly unlikely. Always keeping the boat forward touching the bottom gates you’ll be well away from the cill. 
 

Reading your plans and ideas:

I think the Leeds Liverpool will be best for you. 
You’ve said you can get restless, so the Leeds Liverpool is long enough to keep you occupied for quite awhile. I wizzed through a good portion of it and it’s one of my regrets. 
It has, like Biscuits said, everything you’re looking for: the friendly villages, stunning scenery and so on. 
The stoppages over summer put me off going up there for winter this year. 

Rochdale and Huddersfield are both wonderful but they’re short. I think you’d soon get through them and be restless. 

 

And you’ll have a great journey at the other end of the Leeds Liverpool. I’ve not done the Trent and the Soar. 
 

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1 hour ago, Goliath said:

Tehmarks, I assume like me you have a short boat if you’re considering doing the Leeds and Liverpool? If that’s the case getting stuck on a cill in a long Lock on the Huddersfield is highly unlikely. Always keeping the boat forward touching the bottom gates you’ll be well away from the cill. 
 

Reading your plans and ideas:

I think the Leeds Liverpool will be best for you. 
You’ve said you can get restless, so the Leeds Liverpool is long enough to keep you occupied for quite awhile. I wizzed through a good portion of it and it’s one of my regrets. 
It has, like Biscuits said, everything you’re looking for: the friendly villages, stunning scenery and so on. 
The stoppages over summer put me off going up there for winter this year. 

Rochdale and Huddersfield are both wonderful but they’re short. I think you’d soon get through them and be restless. 

 

And you’ll have a great journey at the other end of the Leeds Liverpool. I’ve not done the Trent and the Soar. 
 

Of course he could do the Hudd and the Rochdale then go onto the L&L ...

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7 hours ago, TheBiscuits said:

Of course he could do the Hudd and the Rochdale then go onto the L&L ...

That’s true

and get a trip to Ripon!

 

sorted. 

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9 hours ago, Goliath said:

Tehmarks, I assume like me you have a short boat if you’re considering doing the Leeds and Liverpool? If that’s the case getting stuck on a cill in a long Lock on the Huddersfield is highly unlikely. Always keeping the boat forward touching the bottom gates you’ll be well away from the cill. 
 

 

 

I think the concern was getting stuck on the cill when exiting a full lock rather than when emptying a lock.  I didn't look at the link that tehmarks posted but I guess it was too the sinking that happened a few years ago when the bottom gates were leaving badly and the boat exiting the lock got stuck on the cill and sank back in to the lock.

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1 hour ago, Rob-M said:

I think the concern was getting stuck on the cill when exiting a full lock rather than when emptying a lock.  I didn't look at the link that tehmarks posted but I guess it was too the sinking that happened a few years ago when the bottom gates were leaving badly and the boat exiting the lock got stuck on the cill and sank back in to the lock.

Crikey, never heard of that one before. 
 

So...you’d have to drive your boat into a very empty pound to get the bow stuck on the cill and then have to watch while the water ran out behind. 
 

That scenario has never entered my head. 

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56 minutes ago, Goliath said:

Crikey, never heard of that one before. 
 

So...you’d have to drive your boat into a very empty pound to get the bow stuck on the cill and then have to watch while the water ran out behind. 
 

That scenario has never entered my head. 

I was keeping a close lookout for this today, its one of my worse fears. One of the pounds was almost 2 foot down but as the Rochdale top gates must be over 5 feet tall we had a little safety margin. We have touched a cill once coming out of a lock into a low pound, but only into a reasonably long pound. If it happens you would have to make a very quick decision....full reverse to get back into the lock or full forward and hope to get the centre of gravity of the boat beyond the cill. Reverse would likely be the safer of the two.

 

...................Dave

 

 

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1 minute ago, dmr said:

I was keeping a close lookout for this today, its one of my worse fears. One of the pounds was almost 2 foot down but as the Rochdale top gates must be over 5 feet tall we had a little safety margin. We have touched a cill once coming out of a lock into a low pound, but only into a reasonably long pound. If it happens you would have to make a very quick decision....full reverse to get back into the lock or full forward and hope to get the centre of gravity of the boat beyond the cill. Reverse would likely be the safer of the two.

 

...................Dave

 

 

It nearly happened to us on the HNC, coming out of a lock with leaky bottom gates into a low pound. We knew about the risk and immediately went astern and pulled back into the lock and then ran some water down, but somebody else at the same lock earlier that year didn't and sank in the lock as the leaky bottom gates emptied it faster than water could flow round the boat plugging the gap... 😞

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