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Angelique

Cruising to the North from Gloucester and Sharpness to Ripon canal

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Hello! Two newbies hoping for some advice! 

We bought our gorgeous 40ft Hancock and Lane narrow boat 6 months ago. We love boat life and are currently moored in Gloucester and Sharpness canal. Unfortunately, my partner's Dad has become ill and we need to relocate asap over the Christmas holidays to as close to canal-less Newcastle as possible. Looking at the map we think Ripon canal is the closest. 

Does anybody have any idea of the best route to get there?  We have researched various routes and have been given some advice, but interested to know if peeps with knowledge of England's canals can help us. :)  

I have checked the winter stoppages and they mostly end on 15th December, re-starting again on 8th January. We are hoping to do the majority of our travelling in this time. 

We are completely new to cruising and we were hoping for a bit of advice if you have a spare 5 mins! 

Thank you in advance, 

 

Angelique and Simon 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Angelique

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http://www.canalplan.eu will find you the best route.  It suggests this trip would take 19.5 days at 7 hours per day.

This is the route it suggests. I suspect stoppages will not allow you to do it at this time of year.

Note also that with this route you will have to travel over tidal waters at least between Selby and Naburn - the alternative route via the Trent will involve longer lengths of tidal waters. 

Capture.PNG.8606d5d1a9ee88c9450ca376d12c4878.PNG

 

Edited by David Mack

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I would not normally suggest this,but given the time of year,the potential for stoppages and your lack of experience, have you considered  moving the boat by road?

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yes... one person has suggested getting our boat up there by road. Not sure about costings or who I would go to (any suggestions very welcome!)

It's just unfortunately the opposite of what any boater wants! We would really like to give the 3 week cruise a go... But we do appreciate the time constraints and the difficulty of travelling this time of year. 

Difficult situation and time isn't on our side! 

 

 

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23 minutes ago, Angelique said:

Thank you, I hadn't seen this route planner. Do you know if it calculates the quickest route? 

 

Yes. You can either use the default speeds and preferences, or you can change these on the Preferences tab.  You can also include intermediate places to pick a (slower) route via that place.

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IME the default Canalplan timings are 'good enough' or even slightly optimistic at this time of the year - you're not going to improve on its timings, more likely they wilol be worse.

Even if you were a seasoned boater it could be an unpleasant trip - so please, please consider the trip by road. You might save some money if you can find a yard with a crane at both ends.

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In ten days you could be in the Manchester area, which whilst not close is a lot closer than sharpness and with good rail services etc. If the situation still pertains come Easter, start moving again towards Ripon

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With stoppages, possible ice, and swollen rivers I would suggest that your chances of success are quite low, and you might end up getting stuck for a long time in a not so ideal place.

You need to do a lot of research into stoppages and likely over-runs, and keep a very close eye on weather forecasts and river levels.

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

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42 minutes ago, dmr said:

With stoppages, possible ice, and swollen rivers I would suggest that your chances of success are quite low, and you might end up getting stuck for a long time in a not so ideal place.

You need to do a lot of research into stoppages and likely over-runs, and keep a very close eye on weather forecasts and river levels.

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

Yes, it's true. We are novices, and the last thing we want/need is to get stuck somewhere.

1 hour ago, magpie patrick said:

In ten days you could be in the Manchester area, which whilst not close is a lot closer than sharpness and with good rail services etc. If the situation still pertains come Easter, start moving again towards Ripon

Hi., thanks for replying.  I think you may have the best compromised solution...getting part of the way there...

Route planner has suggested that we could get to Shropshire relatively quickly up the Severn. As far as I can see, there are no stoppages. Do you know anything about cruising up the Severn? Will we need to worry about tides etc. Like on the ouse and trent? 

 

Doing my own research now but if anyone has any info on this stretch we'd be very grateful. 

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12 minutes ago, Angelique said:

Yes, it's true. We are novices, and the last thing we want/need is to get stuck somewhere.

Hi., thanks for replying.  I think you may have the best compromised solution...getting part of the way there...

Route planner has suggested that we could get to Shropshire relatively quickly up the Severn. As far as I can see, there are no stoppages. Do you know anything about cruising up the Severn? Will we need to worry about tides etc. Like on the ouse and trent? 

 

Doing my own research now but if anyone has any info on this stretch we'd be very grateful. 

I think you will find the Severn has limited opening days in the winter months

 

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I don't think the Severn is navigable through to Shropshire and is VERY prone to flooding. The trip up on the canal from Stourport is lovely but is quite hard work with quite a lot of locks.

Please bear in mind the potential for bad weather .cruising in wind,rain and snow is no fun especially if you feel you have to keep going as you are on a timetable. You also have restricted day light and your timing will be slower if you are novices.

Tizzie

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4 minutes ago, Angelique said:

Yes, it's true. We are novices, and the last thing we want/need is to get stuck somewhere.

Hi., thanks for replying.  I think you may have the best compromised solution...getting part of the way there...

Route planner has suggested that we could get to Shropshire relatively quickly up the Severn. As far as I can see, there are no stoppages. Do you know anything about cruising up the Severn? Will we need to worry about tides etc. Like on the ouse and trent? 

 

Doing my own research now but if anyone has any info on this stretch we'd be very grateful. 

As you are novices I would suggest that rivers in winter are probably best avoided, they are likely to be flowing harder than they do in the summer, plus the days are a lot shorter and been on a river in the dusk looking for a mooring (often few and far between) is not a good place to be. On the other hand hire boaters venture onto the rivers in all sorts of conditions. If you have a good Google you should find real time figures for river levels, and even a couple of flow readings. Due to the operation of sluices level and flow are not always directly related.

Just for info, we are in a river right now, and a river that usually behaves itself, but last week we were "trapped" for a couple of days and the the level came up about a foot overnight.

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

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23 minutes ago, Angelique said:

Yes, it's true. We are novices, and the last thing we want/need is to get stuck somewhere.

Hi., thanks for replying.  I think you may have the best compromised solution...getting part of the way there...

Route planner has suggested that we could get to Shropshire relatively quickly up the Severn. As far as I can see, there are no stoppages. Do you know anything about cruising up the Severn? Will we need to worry about tides etc. Like on the ouse and trent? 

 

Doing my own research now but if anyone has any info on this stretch we'd be very grateful. 

As well as route planning. If you are planning on venturing out on the river, make sure you have suitable equipment, and your boat is up to it. 

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3 hours ago, Angelique said:

Hello! Two newbies hoping for some advice! 

We bought our gorgeous 40ft Hancock and Lane narrow boat 6 months ago. We love boat life and are currently moored in Gloucester and Sharpness canal. Unfortunately, my partner's Dad has become ill and we need to relocate asap over the Christmas holidays to as close to canal-less Newcastle as possible. Looking at the map we think Ripon canal is the closest. 

Does anybody have any idea of the best route to get there?  We have researched various routes and have been given some advice, but interested to know if peeps with knowledge of England's canals can help us. :)  

I have checked the winter stoppages and they mostly end on 15th December, re-starting again on 8th January. We are hoping to do the majority of our travelling in this time. 

We are completely new to cruising and we were hoping for a bit of advice if you have a spare 5 mins! 

Thank you in advance, 

 

Angelique and Simon 

 

 

 

 

The most direct and quickest way is up the Severn to Worcester, then on the Worcester & Birmingham to Brum, Birmingham & Fazeley to Fazeley Turn, then Coventry Canal to Fradley, turn right at Fradley and take the Trent and Mersey to Shardlow, onto the Trent and down to Keadby, then Keadby Cut and New Junction to the Aire & Calder, turn left onto the Aire & Calder and along it to Knottingley, off the A & C at Knottingley and down the river Aire to Haddlesey, onto Selby Cut at Haddlesey and along to Selby, onto the Ouse at Selby and then up through York and on to Ripon.

This route cuts out all the hard work and time taken up crossing the Pennines that you'll have if you head North from the Severn up the western side of the country. You'll need to check for stoppages, obviously, and if you can't make it all the way in the time you have, then you could just get as far North towards Ripon as you can and finish the rest of the journey over one or two weekends. 

At this time of year, and being your first time on the tidal parts of the Trent and Ouse, and being fairly new to boating as well, you should employ a pilot for those legs. If you do decide to go this way, I know a retired professional/commercial boatman who would be prepared to take the job on, his fees/charges are very reasonable and he could probably be persuaded to help and speed you up on the canal sections before you reach the Trent as well. If you would like to PM me I'll put you in touch with him. 

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A consideration no one has mentioned yet is how you are going to travel from the boat to Newcastle on a reguilar basis I think you should consider your final destination with how good the transport links are to Newcastle. Don't know if you have a car, or will betravelling by coach, or train, but a base for the boat with good transport links will save time and hassle getting to Newcastle compared to one that hasn't. For example, York and Birmingham both have excellent train services to Newcastle, but Ripon less so. Getting to York from Brum would be many days by boat, but only another hour and a half or so each way by train. If driving, then substitute proximity to the motorway network as opposed to miles of A and B roads.

Otherwise, what others have said. Stoppages, rivers in flood, canals iced up maybe, short dayight hours, grimness of cruising to a tight timetable in bad weather. Speed of moving the boat by road.


To get any distance by boat from the Sharpness canal you are going to have to use the Severn. Have you cruised this river yet? Is your boats reliability proven enough for it? Do you have an anchor, life jackets? This river can go in to massive and prolonged flood that would scupper your plans if it happened. If you could get up it to Worcester, then you have the canal network across the Midlands to take you in to Staffordshire, Cheshire, Shropshire and Derbyshire and should be Ok, depending on stoppages and ice. From there you either need to cross the Pennines by any of the three routes, or take the Trent to get further North. If it was me I would be looking for somewhere in the Midlands with good transport links with the timescale you have. Say, Willington, Shardlow area.

Getting anywhere by boat takes a long time. You are going ata walking pace on average. A bit faster downstream on rivers. A lot slower if there are lock flights. How long would it take you to walk to Ripon in winter? I have done most of the canals and rivers in the areas you would be going through and the thought of doing this trip to a tight timetable would give me pause.

 

Jen

Edited by Jen-in-Wellies
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Another useful resource for planning are CaRT's boaters guide pdf's. http://www.waterscape.com/things-to-do/boating/guides These will give you things like lock opening timesfor the Severn, stoppages and so on. My cruise planning uses a mixture of these, CanalplanAC and Nicholson guides. The cruising guides tend to be more up to date for opening hours, contact numbers and so on.

Jen

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Hi everyone, 

Considering everything you have all said, we have decided to Moor our boat in the area we are in at the moment for the rest of the winter, and have our adventure northwsrds at Easter time. At least this way, we have friends and family to look after our boat for the next few months. 

We were so excited to have an adventure, but we do have time constraints and as you have all said the winter's specific set of problems on the canals may take the joy and excitement out of it very quickly. 

Thank you everyone for your points and feedback, it's helped immensely. 

The Duker - thank you for your feedback and the suggestion of your friend to help us at the trent. We will think on it and look you up in April! 

Jen in wellies - thank you for your points and the link. Another very good resource we didn't know about! :)

Thanks everyone again, have a great weekend. 

 

10 hours ago, TheDuker said:

The most direct and quickest way is up the Severn to Worcester, then on the Worcester & Birmingham to Brum, Birmingham & Fazeley to Fazeley Turn, then Coventry Canal to Fradley, turn right at Fradley and take the Trent and Mersey to Shardlow, onto the Trent and down to Keadby, then Keadby Cut and New Junction to the Aire & Calder, turn left onto the Aire & Calder and along it to Knottingley, off the A & C at Knottingley and down the river Aire to Haddlesey, onto Selby Cut at Haddlesey and along to Selby, onto the Ouse at Selby and then up through York and on to Ripon.

This route cuts out all the hard work and time taken up crossing the Pennines that you'll have if you head North from the Severn up the western side of the country. You'll need to check for stoppages, obviously, and if you can't make it all the way in the time you have, then you could just get as far North towards Ripon as you can and finish the rest of the journey over one or two weekends. 

At this time of year, and being your first time on the tidal parts of the Trent and Ouse, and being fairly new to boating as well, you should employ a pilot for those legs. If you do decide to go this way, I know a retired professional/commercial boatman who would be prepared to take the job on, his fees/charges are very reasonable and he could probably be persuaded to help and speed you up on the canal sections before you reach the Trent as well. If you would like to PM me I'll put you in touch with him. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Angelique said:

Hi everyone, 

Considering everything you have all said, we have decided to Moor our boat in the area we are in at the moment for the rest of the winter, and have our adventure northwsrds at Easter time. At least this way, we have friends and family to look after our boat for the next few months. 

We were so excited to have an adventure, but we do have time constraints and as you have all said the winter's specific set of problems on the canals may take the joy and excitement out of it very quickly. 

Thank you everyone for your points and feedback, it's helped immensely. 

The Duker - thank you for your feedback and the suggestion of your friend to help us at the trent. We will think on it and look you up in April! 

Jen in wellies - thank you for your points and the link. Another very good resource we didn't know about! :)

Thanks everyone again, have a great weekend. 

 

 

 

Obviously the decision on when to make the move north is ultimately yours alone, but there are a few misconceptions evident in what you've said above.

Dealing first with your time constraints. The route I gave you might well be around 3 weeks boating if you're treating it as a cruise or an adventure, but as a boat moving job it's 9 to 10 days work at most.

As for Winter time problems, ice is in reality the only additional problem that Winter can bring to the canals, and at present the forecast up to early January isn't for cold enough spell for that to be likely. With maintenance standards as they are these days you are far more likely to encounter delays with unplanned stoppages in Spring and Summer when all the decrepit locks are subject to heavier and more frequent use.

Finally, with regard to what others have said about being held up by excessively high river levels, fact is that in practice you're far more likely to find this is a problem during late Winter and early Spring than over the Christmas and New Year period.

Edited by TheDuker

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11 minutes ago, TheDuker said:

Dealing first with your time constraints. The route I gave you might well be around 3 weeks boating if you're treating it as a cruise or an adventure, but as a boat moving job it's 9 to 10 days work at most.

Unless the boat has appropriate nav lights for night cruising,I would be surprised if this trip could be done in 9 days, although I have never done it, so happy to be proved wrong.

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For getting to Newcastle, have you considered Doncaster or Leeds? Both have direct rail links, and the journey is about 1hr 30 minutes. The journey by car would be about 2 hours. They are both also in areas where you could make some round tip cruises, Ripon however is at the end of the line, so your cruising would be very limited. Also, no train station at Ripon, nearest would be Thirsk which is 12 miles away.

I'm planning to go to Ripon at Easter setting off from Thorne on the Stainford and Keadby canal. If you do the route suggested by 'TheDuker' you will pass through Thorne. You're welcome to buddy up for the last 4 days, if you decide to carry on to Ripon. If the time fits, I don't mind also going down to Cromwell and waiting for you there so you have a second boat on the bit of the Trent which is tidal.

Kevin

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13 minutes ago, Kev's Halcyon said:

 

 If the time fits, I don't mind also going down to Cromwell and waiting for you there so you have a second boat on the bit of the Trent which is tidal.

Kevin

They will be a long time waiting for you at Cromwell if you head down the Trent from Keadby !

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6 minutes ago, TheDuker said:

They will be a long time waiting for you at Cromwell if you head down the Trent from Keadby !

Shoot!! I'll go up the Trent and wait to take them down to Keadby :-)

Kevin

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