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Route Planner woes


themymble

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Hello again.

So I am thinking ahead and bought copies of the Nicholson Waterways Guides and checked the RCR Route Planner (if the boat we are viewing all goes ahead as planned). Unfortuantely the RCR planner has us getting to the Kennet and Avon via the Severn Estuary and I even as a newbie I know thats not something you do in a narrow boat!

So short of putting her on the road, which himself doesn't want to do, I have looked at two possible routes via the Canal and River Trust websites. They are a bit long winded but I cannot see any other way around it...

Option 1) up the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, onto the North Stratford Canal, Grand Union, Oxford Canal then onto the Thames and finally the Kennet and Avon (I dont fancy this due to the Wast Hill Tunnel)

Option 2) down the  Worcester and Birmingham to Tewkesbury then up the Avon to South Stratford Canal, Grand Union, Oxford, Thames, Kennet and Avon (I know this seems a bit round the wreakin but...) I have also googled joinging the Oxford canal and the Thames and that sound srather alarming too.

 

Any advice will be warmly accepted...especially if there is a better route plnner out there!

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Assuming it is a narrow boat there is nothing to concern yourself about the Oxford, Thames, K&A as long a sthere are no stoppages AND the Thames and K&A are not in flood/high flow.

 

Whatever you do you will have river passages which are not ideal at this time of year. If you can  wait until spring there is another option, up the Severn to Stourport, Staffs & Worcester, T&M, Coventry & Oxford. It's a long way round but no real tunnels.

 

Personally I would choose your first option.

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The long winded routes, if time is on your side, are the best. 

So much experience to be gained going the long way around. 
 

It’s what a boat’s for!
Enjoy the journey. 👍

 

to add: by the time you’ve been up around Birmingham and down the Oxford you’ll have enough confidence to do the Thames. 
You’ll have a lovely story to tell doing it. 

Edited by Goliath
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Suggest you telephone the Gloucester Pilots Partnership LLP for info. The pilot we used to travel North ( ok during last summer) was excellent (£240) and his advice was freely given. You never know he might even know of somebody who could take the boat over this day passage if you don't fancy it. I expect winter will be fine given settled weather and tides. They pilot ships all year round so why not a narrowboat.

Good luck

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1 hour ago, Peugeot 106 said:

Suggest you telephone the Gloucester Pilots Partnership LLP for info. The pilot we used to travel North ( ok during last summer) was excellent (£240) and his advice was freely given. You never know he might even know of somebody who could take the boat over this day passage if you don't fancy it. I expect winter will be fine given settled weather and tides. They pilot ships all year round so why not a narrowboat.

Good luck

Well, as you ask "why not a narrow boat" and I have to say I have little experience of narrow boating on rivers. I would say there are two or three reasons

1) narrowboats are not sea going vessels. 

2) the boat is unproven , ground tackle unproven (search " anchor " ).

3) the skipper and crew are unproven 

4) it's winter, short days cold wet and windy at this time of year so difficult to be sure of a weather window .

I'm sure someone will have experience of the passage,and may have a different view.

PS I use canalplanac, and the CRT Stopages Map plus CRT email stoppages and updates for the navigations i intend to use ,  for route planning , plus the open canal app when I am en route 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by LadyG
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Option 1 would be my preference this time of year as the Avon and Severn are likely to go in to flood at a moment's notice.  No problems with Wast Hill tunnel, on a good day you can see the other end.

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2 minutes ago, LadyG said:

Well, as you ask "why not a narrow boat" and I have to say I have little experience of narrow boating on rivers. I would say there are two or three reasons

1) narrowboats are not sea goong vessels.

2) the boat is unproven 

3) the skipper and crew are unproven 

4) it's winter short days cold wet and windy at this time of year so difficult to be sure of a weather window .

I'm sure someone will have more experience of the passage,and may have a different view.

 

 

 

 

 

Which is exactly why I suggested he at least contacted the Gloucester Pilots Partnership and not just not consider it because of  naysayers who have no idea or experience of anything other than totally enclosed water

Despite some narrowboat experience of rivers. Ribble Link, Trent, Thames, Severn and Avon as well as many other thousands of miles in Yachts and Dinghies I will always seek best advice. In this case I consider the local Pilots whose name I have suggested and who have first hand experience of numerous narrowboat passages over this route to be a source of Best Advice.

 

I will say it again. Give them a ring if you fancy doing it and it saves you a lot of time. I haven't recommended any course of action but I thought I had helpfully pointed out where good advice may be found. 

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Weather and stoppages may scupper any plans to do this trip by water until spring in any case.

 

I believe there's something like 60 narrowboat transits on the Severn estuary each year but I think it should rank rather higher in the list of "potentially scary things to do on a narrowboat" than a transit through Wast Hills Tunnel in general (accepting that there may be a specific reason in any particular case). I suspect it may not be the right solution if we are dealing with a new boater and a new to them boat. Personally I'll admit it's not for me even with (and perhaps also because of) a boat I know very well.

 

If there is a specific problem with Wast Hills Tunnel then I suspect a polite request on this forum may result in assistance.

 

Otherwise I concur that the route via the Worcester & Birmingham, North Stratford, GU, Oxford and Thames to the K&A is the most likely option certainly at this time of year and arguably at any time.

 

Unfortunately it seems the K&A is closed at Crofton until spring and even if you don't need to pass Crofton to get to your eventual destination then the Oxford is currently closed and the W&B is closed after Xmas. It would require very careful timing to be able to get to the K&A at all in the coming weeks.

 

 

 

Edited by Captain Pegg
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4 minutes ago, Captain Pegg said:

Unfortunately it seems the K&A is closed at Crofton until spring and even if you don't need to pass Crofton to get to your eventual destination then the Oxford is currently closed and the W&B is closed after Xmas. It would require very careful timing to able to get to the K&A at all in the coming weeks.

 

Hence my suggestion of the lorry....

 

 

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Given the stoppage 'season' the OP might be best taking a few months mooring where the boat currently is (somewhere near Worcester?), and then doing the trip via Oxford around Easter. That gives the opportunity to do some local out and back trips (or the Droitwich ring perhaps) in the meantime, to gain familiarity with the boat and its systems before embarking on a long journey. And a few months mooring fees will probably be less than the cost of a crane and a lorry.

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12 minutes ago, David Mack said:

Given the stoppage 'season' the OP might be best taking a few months mooring where the boat currently is (somewhere near Worcester?), and then doing the trip via Oxford around Easter. That gives the opportunity to do some local out and back trips (or the Droitwich ring perhaps) in the meantime, to gain familiarity with the boat and its systems before embarking on a long journey. And a few months mooring fees will probably be less than the cost of a crane and a lorry.

 

Agreed, although of course there may be a need to be on the K&A, unsure if the boat is residential or not.

 

CRT winter moorings are available in Droitwich on secure pontoons at a cost per month that would only buy a week in a marina.

 

(ETA - not sure of eligibility rules for winter moorings.)

Edited by Captain Pegg
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3 minutes ago, Captain Pegg said:

Weather and stoppages may scupper any plans to do this trip by water until spring in any case.

 

I believe there's something like 60 narrowboat transits on the Severn estuary each year but I think it should rank rather higher in the list of "potentially scary things to do on a narrowboat" than a transit through Wast Hills Tunnel in general (accepting that there may be a specific reason in any particular case). I suspect it may not be the right solution if we are dealing with a new boater and a new to them boat. Personally I'll admit it's not for me even with (and perhaps also because of) a boat I know very well.

 

If there is a specific problem with Wast Hills Tunnel then I suspect a polite request on this forum may result in assistance.

 

Otherwise I concur that the route via the Worcester & Birmingham, North Stratford, GU, Oxford and Thames to the K&A is the most likely option certainly at this time of year and arguably at any time.

 

Unfortunately it seems the K&A is closed at Crofton until spring and even if you don't need to pass Crofton to get to your eventual destination then the Oxford is currently closed and the W&B is closed after Xmas. It would require very careful timing to able to get to the K&A at all in the coming weeks.

 

 

 

16 minutes ago, MtB said:

 

I would recommend the lorry.

 

 

Looks like a lorry then unless you wait for the canals to open (and do the journey before they run dry!)

One bit of advice. Spend a morning on the phone to varied lorry companies. Explain it has (I presume) a flat bottom so can sit on the bed. Just ring general haulage companies NOT boat movers and you may save yourself a fortune. Also phone around for yards/marinas that can lift it/ refloat it as the difference in price for this service is massive.

At least you will have it near home and can use and get used to it without fear. 

One last thought. There are people who move narrowboats on canals on for you. I once travelled across the Ribble Link in company with a man on his own doing a boat delivery. He did 12 hour days! Another time I accompanied a delivery man and his wife.  Again you could ask around maybe on this forum. Just make sure they and the boat are insured

Good luck with whatever you decide

 

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7 hours ago, Peugeot 106 said:

One last thought. There are people who move narrowboats on canals on for you.

 

 

Indeed there are. You even quoted one such person at the beginning of your post! (Not me, for the avoidance of doubt.)

 

I'd quibble about the wisdom of booking a general purpose flat bed truck though. The specialist boat transporters I think are more likely to know the boat yards and the staff and generally communicate with each other behind the scenes to keep things organised, so the lifts at each end happen smoothly and according to plan. It is hard to put a price on 'no mistakes' happening with a precious cargo.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by MtB
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I would give either Ray at bargemovers.com or Tuckeys at MJT cranes a shout.

Ray will know where all the local cranes are to get your boat on and off and Tuckeys will bring their own.

Otherwise its March at the earliest..

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12 years ago I was in almost the identical position you face.

I had just bought my first narrowboat (60 ft) at the very end of October, from Tardibigge, and needed to get it to Bath pdq.

Due to planned winter closures at various points on all the long routes, I chose to go down the river Severn route via Sharpness and Portishead/Bristol.

To make matters worse, the tides meant I had to do it late at night, and in the feezing cold!

I did have a knowledgeable friend with me who did know the river very well, but not an official Pilot.

It was a dramatic and hairy trip, but, as you will deduce, we have lived to tell the tale!

I am so glad I experienced that trip, but I probably wouldn't do it again under the same circumstances.

My ignorance of the dangers was my greatest asset at the time, but unfortunately I have now lost that childlike innocence!

So my advice would be to not write off the Severn route completely - it can be done, but you MUST have the right weather conditions,

the right tide timings, and a very competent pilot.  You cannot muck about with the river Severn, it does demand the greatest respect always.

You go WITH it - or you don't go at all!

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16 hours ago, Peugeot 106 said:

Which is exactly why I suggested he at least contacted the Gloucester Pilots Partnership and not just not consider it because of  naysayers who have no idea or experience of anything other than totally enclosed water

Despite some narrowboat experience of rivers. Ribble Link, Trent, Thames, Severn and Avon as well as many other thousands of miles in Yachts and Dinghies I will always seek best advice. In this case I consider the local Pilots whose name I have suggested and who have first hand experience of numerous narrowboat passages over this route to be a source of Best Advice.

 

I will say it again. Give them a ring if you fancy doing it and it saves you a lot of time. I haven't recommended any course of action but I thought I had helpfully pointed out where good advice may be found. 

I would be pretty sure I have many more water miles than any of the people employed by the Gloucester Pilot Partnership.

I've been in survival situations a few times without being worried that I would not survive ,  and also in a situation where I was glad to see the dawn.

But any incident with a narrow boat could happen quickly, and with no turning back. They are designed for calm waters.

Worst case scenario, boat is taking water, what do you do now?

Edited by LadyG
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26 minutes ago, LadyG said:

I would be pretty sure I have many more water miles than any of the people employed by the Gloucester Pilot

Partnership. I've been in survival situations a few times without being worried, and also in a situation where I was glad to see the dawn.

But any incident with a narrow boat could happen quickly, and with no turning back. They are designed for calm waters.

 

Why do you think that 'big ships' use pilots ?

 

Its not because (like you think you have) ships captains have 1000s of sea miles on the open ocean, it's because local tidal and esturial waters need LOCAL experience and knowledge of the tidal flows and ever moving sandbanks etc.

 

I'm sure the owners of the big container ships coming into Hull and Grimsby, who have to anchor up in the mouth of the Humber and await a pilot would be glad to save the cost and go straight into port.

 

You do post some absolute crap !

 

Anyway - back to the Severn :

 

The Severn Estuary, which empties into the Bristol Channel, has one of the largest tidal ranges in the world – about 13 m (43 ft). It is exceeded only by the Bay of Fundy,

 

 

 

Edited by Alan de Enfield
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34 minutes ago, Alan de Enfield said:

 

Why do you think that 'big ships' use pilots ?

 

Its not because (like you think you have) ships captains have 1000s of sea miles on the open ocean, it's because local tidal and esturial waters need LOCAL experience and knowledge of the tidal flows and ever moving sandbanks etc.

 

I'm sure the owners of the big container ships coming into Hull and Grimsby, who have to anchor up in the mouth of the Humber and await a pilot would be glad to save the cost and go straight into port.

 

You do post some absolute crap !

 

Anyway - back to the Severn :

 

The Severn Estuary, which empties into the Bristol Channel, has one of the largest tidal ranges in the world – about 13 m (43 ft). It is exceeded only by the Bay of Fundy,

 

 

 

Better not to ask me what I think about your rubbish postings .

Pilots would not set out when conditions  are unfavourable. 

How many of the sixty NB transits were piloted?

Bay of Fundy ? When did you take your narrowboat there? Oh,, Sory you don't have a narrow boat.

Most, but not all, pilots have more professional experience than me 

London Pilots are usually ex merchant marine Captains, six to ten year minimum as promoted deck officers plus six months at the Naval College before the formal examination. A aix month course .

The pilot of the Dunoon ferry (a cousin of a cousin once removed), has never had command of anything other than the Dunoon Ferry, he gets sea sick, as I recall, we had to leave him at Girvan, en route to Ireland for his sea miles. The Ayr harbour pilot used to sail with me for sea miles, he wes sent up to bow to steer me though Lady isle, aparently uncharted waters, lol .

Edited by LadyG
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4 minutes ago, LadyG said:

Pilots would not set out when conditions  are unfavourable. 

How many of the sixty NB transits were piloted?

Bay of Fundy ? When did you take your narrowboat there?

 

You can duck and dive as much as you want but it does not overide the fact that you said suggested you had more sea-miles that a Pilot - which is irellevant for negotiating / navigating  the 'local waters'.

 

It is knowledge of the local waters (and I'm guessing you have little experience of the Severn) that is important.

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