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When is everyone coming out to play?


Tony1

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I've been loving the slow pace of the last few months, what with hardly any boats moving, no last-minute dodging about at blind bends and bridge holes, being able to moor in really good places like Chester basin for a full two weeks, never any queues at water points or locks- its been pretty nice all round really. 

Even the winter has not been nearly as hard core as I expected- more mud certainly, but a lot less snow and ice, and not too many problems getting to and from the shops on foot or by bike. 

The winter is not quite over yet, but already it feels a tad warmer, the solar is starting to do its bit once again, and the peace and quiet of the winter months must come to an end- and surely it must be soon?

So, just a bit of idle curiosity really, in the absence of any more momentous topics: when are folks expecting canal traffic to pick up again, and to get out boating themselves?

Will we see flocks of hire boats on 1 March, or will it gradually pick up to the summer crescendo?

E.g. I'm not expecting to easily get a spot in Chester basin when I get back there in a couple of weeks, as I did back in January, and I'm considering going back to a pattern of early morning and late afternoon cruising, to avoid much of the traffic.  

 

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With foreign travel getting easier there might be less congestion as people have access to the beaches in the sun for the same price as a weeks narrowboat hire. I have lived abroad for 16 years so i would take the narrowboat holiday.😀

Long hot summers get boring after a while, i miss the countryside of UK, and good beer.

Edited by Mike Hurley
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44 minutes ago, Tony1 said:

 

I've been loving the slow pace of the last few months, what with hardly any boats moving, no last-minute dodging about at blind bends and bridge holes, being able to moor in really good places like Chester basin for a full two weeks, never any queues at water points or locks- its been pretty nice all round really. 

Even the winter has not been nearly as hard core as I expected- more mud certainly, but a lot less snow and ice, and not too many problems getting to and from the shops on foot or by bike. 

The winter is not quite over yet, but already it feels a tad warmer, the solar is starting to do its bit once again, and the peace and quiet of the winter months must come to an end- and surely it must be soon?

So, just a bit of idle curiosity really, in the absence of any more momentous topics: when are folks expecting canal traffic to pick up again, and to get out boating themselves?

Will we see flocks of hire boats on 1 March, or will it gradually pick up to the summer crescendo?

E.g. I'm not expecting to easily get a spot in Chester basin when I get back there in a couple of weeks, as I did back in January, and I'm considering going back to a pattern of early morning and late afternoon cruising, to avoid much of the traffic.  

 

A convoy of three Alvechurch hireboats came past us today at Henhull........

 

MP.

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49 minutes ago, Tony1 said:

 

I've been loving the slow pace of the last few months, what with hardly any boats moving, no last-minute dodging about at blind bends and bridge holes, being able to moor in really good places like Chester basin for a full two weeks, never any queues at water points or locks- its been pretty nice all round really. 

Even the winter has not been nearly as hard core as I expected- more mud certainly, but a lot less snow and ice, and not too many problems getting to and from the shops on foot or by bike. 

The winter is not quite over yet, but already it feels a tad warmer, the solar is starting to do its bit once again, and the peace and quiet of the winter months must come to an end- and surely it must be soon?

So, just a bit of idle curiosity really, in the absence of any more momentous topics: when are folks expecting canal traffic to pick up again, and to get out boating themselves?

Will we see flocks of hire boats on 1 March, or will it gradually pick up to the summer crescendo?

E.g. I'm not expecting to easily get a spot in Chester basin when I get back there in a couple of weeks, as I did back in January, and I'm considering going back to a pattern of early morning and late afternoon cruising, to avoid much of the traffic.  

 

 

The thing is that hire boats start to rocket in price at Easter meaning that lots take advantage of the lower prices before then, assuming they dont have kids.

 

So I would say anytime now will see more hire boaters on the water.

 

Also some people will be taking holidays defered from 2020/21. We are on the broads in April, this was booked in Sept. 2019 to be taken originally in April 2020 I suspect there will be a good few who have done the same. And people will have booked not sure what 2022 was going to bring in terms of foreign holidays.

 

So its going to be another busy year I would say even though people can now do the 'Benidorm' thing once again.

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2 minutes ago, The Happy Nomad said:

 

The thing is that hire boats start to rocket in price at Easter meaning that lots take advantage of the lower prices before then, assuming they dont have kids.

 

So I would say anytime now will see more hire boaters on the water.

 

Also some people will be taking holidays defered from 2020/21. We are on the broads in April, this was booked in Sept. 2019 to be taken originally in April 2020 I suspect there will be a good few who have done the same. And people will have booked not sure what 2022 was going to bring in terms of foreign holidays.

 

So its going to be another busy year I would say even though people can now do the 'Benidorm' thing once again.

 

It sounds as if I have a downer on hire boaters, but in truth I think they're great, by and large.

They are usually in high spirits, nearly always smiling, and great to chat to at locks or whatever. It's lovely to see families with children out and about, it really brightens the place up.

They do tend to travel at high speeds, but then so do plenty of other boaters, so I don't hold that against them- I bet they make overly optimistic journey plans and struggle to keep to them.  

All the way from Whitchurch to Llangollen last summer it felt very holidayish, and that was not a bad thing, despite the queues at water points and locks. 

At times the seemingly non-stop boat traffic got almost too much, but then there are always quiet corners of the canal you can stop at, if you want some peace and quiet.

There was a queue of 15 boats waiting to come down the New Marton locks at one point last July, but everyone concerned had a great time. 

Part of me occasionally started stressing about the time it was taking, and I had to remind myself that this wasn't the M6 any more, and that it wouldn't be a disaster if I was delayed for 2 hours at the locks. 

 

 

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Hire boats started at the end of last week in the middle of Storm Eunice....Easter will be when it kicks off properly unless there is an unseasonably warm and sunny spring weekend beforehand.

This years holidays may be impacted by the idiot Putins war games, with the cost of diesel set to rocket, and possibility of Eastern Mediterranean holidays(especially to Turkey) in jeopardy if the trouble spreads.

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15 minutes ago, Tony1 said:

 

It sounds as if I have a downer on hire boaters, but in truth I think they're great, by and large.

They are usually in high spirits, nearly always smiling, and great to chat to at locks or whatever. It's lovely to see families with children out and about, it really brightens the place up.

They do tend to travel at high speeds, but then so do plenty of other boaters, so I don't hold that against them- I bet they make overly optimistic journey plans and struggle to keep to them.  

All the way from Whitchurch to Llangollen last summer it felt very holidayish, and that was not a bad thing, despite the queues at water points and locks. 

At times the seemingly non-stop boat traffic got almost too much, but then there are always quiet corners of the canal you can stop at, if you want some peace and quiet.

There was a queue of 15 boats waiting to come down the New Marton locks at one point last July, but everyone concerned had a great time. 

Part of me occasionally started stressing about the time it was taking, and I had to remind myself that this wasn't the M6 any more, and that it wouldn't be a disaster if I was delayed for 2 hours at the locks. 

 

 

We went up the Llangollen twice last year as we found it wasn't anywhere near as busy as everyone reports it is.  The only place we got held up was on the Middlewhich branch where there was a big queue at Stanthorne Lock.  No queues on the Llangollen and no issues mooring where we wanted.

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1 minute ago, matty40s said:

Hire boats started at the end of last week in the middle of Storm Eunice....Easter will be when it kicks off properly unless there is an unseasonably warm and sunny spring weekend beforehand.

This years holidays may be impacted by the idiot Putins war games, with the cost of diesel set to rocket, and possibility of Eastern Mediterranean holidays(especially to Turkey) in jeopardy if the trouble spreads.

 

Well if the Russian psychopath causes diesel prices to skyrocket, at least I'll have an excuse for only moving the boat once per week. 

 

Tbh I'm a bit concerned about the availability of propane gas bottles. I only use one bottle every 4 months (now that I have an electric kettle), but we have been hearing about shortages on and off for the last two years, and gas supplies could be under severe threat in the coming months.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, Rob-M said:

We went up the Llangollen twice last year as we found it wasn't anywhere near as busy as everyone reports it is.  The only place we got held up was on the Middlewhich branch where there was a big queue at Stanthorne Lock.  No queues on the Llangollen and no issues mooring where we wanted.

 

I didn't have very many issues mooring, although the moorings became more scarce after I got past Chirk. But the boat traffic was certainly busier than I'd seen anywhere else before, and there was already a queue for the facilities at Ellesmere when I arrived at 10am.

It was very quiet until the end of lockdown (I think in May), and then it got very busy, and stayed that way until mid Sept when I left.  

The hire boat handover days have a big effect on local boat traffic, I found, with lots of boats heading into or out of their bases around the handover days, causing big but temporary increases in traffic.

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I've seen more boats on the move this winter than ever before. A few hire boats but mainly private and shared boats. I enjoy chatting to hireboaters and last year I came across more first timers than ever. We've all had towpath walkers over the years saying to us how they've always fancied narrowboating, and the travel restrictions have meant that many have now finally tried it. At least 50% of those hirers I spoke to said they will be doing it again and some had even already booked again for this year.

 

I know there are only a finite number of hire boats, of all boats in fact, but I think the very busy summer months are here to stay and will get increasingly busier over time. Maybe not as busy as the last two summers, but busy enough to mean long queues at hotspots and demand for 'prime' moorings.

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It's great the more people use the canals, helps the pubs, shops along the way and i'm sure some families actually enjoy the alternative holiday, where the travel is the holiday - no more 'what we gonna do?' .... :)

 

Maybe more towns/villages with canals running through them will develop them more - lots of good mooring to actually encourage people to stop and stay rather than steaming on through?

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Of course , if it gets too busy with long queues and mooring at hot spots hard to find, the whole thing could swing the other way once the newness wears off.

There is also the "risk" that the UK weather will not play ball.  A couple of soggy summers will soon bring back rose tinted memories of Mediterranean sunshine and unspoiled beaches.

 

N

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22 minutes ago, robtheplod said:

Maybe more towns/villages with canals running through them will develop them more - lots of good mooring to actually encourage people to stop and stay rather than steaming on through?

 

I don't think it's up to the towns and villages. Even if my own village with a canal running through it decided it wanted more boaters to stop, there is nothing much it can do to develop the CRT-owned water's edge and towpath.

 

Or is there? What exactly do you have in mind, development-wise that say the parish council could undertake, that would encourage boaters to stop here for a bit? 

 

 

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9 hours ago, MtB said:

 

I don't think it's up to the towns and villages. Even if my own village with a canal running through it decided it wanted more boaters to stop, there is nothing much it can do to develop the CRT-owned water's edge and towpath.

 

Or is there? What exactly do you have in mind, development-wise that say the parish council could undertake, that would encourage boaters to stop here for a bit? 

 

 

Parish councils could provide clear information boards - nearest shops, pubs, bus stop etc. Also, as mentioned in another thread, ensure access off the towpath into the village is as accessible as possible. It was only during what was probably our 10th visit to Branston that we realised that there were shops within walking distance through the water park!

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17 minutes ago, Beo said:

Parish councils could provide clear information boards - nearest shops, pubs, bus stop etc. Also, as mentioned in another thread, ensure access off the towpath into the village is as accessible as possible. It was only during what was probably our 10th visit to Branston that we realised that there were shops within walking distance through the water park!

 

 

Are there? What water park?

 

My own parish council does what you suggest already. Nice big sign board by the bridge, (fairly) easy walk into the village, VMs always full. So I guess it works! 

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5 hours ago, Beo said:

It was only during what was probably our 10th visit to Branston that we realised that there were shops within walking distance through the water park!

 

5 hours ago, MtB said:

 

Are there? What water park?

No water park at Braunston (unless you count the marina), but if you walk up the path from Butchers Bridge there are a couple of shops in the village.

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1 hour ago, Beo said:

Branston is an actual place not a spelling mistake. It has a water park and, even better, a Bird’s bakery. 

And IMO, a nicer place to moor than Braunston.  Better phone signal too.

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Now surrounded by housing and warehouses though. We haven’t moored there for a while but regularly drive past on the A38. Not sure about the moorings near the water park but those the other side of the bridge (and The Bridge Inn) may well be unrecognisable. 

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