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Cruising to the North from Gloucester and Sharpness to Ripon canal


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Taking account of 1) the uncertainty of a long boat trip north at this time of the year (and the inevitable cost implications) and 2) the cost of moving your boat by road (little or no change out of £1k) have you considered staying put and using the train to get back and forth to Newcastle. There are regular through trains from Cheltenham (hourly I believe) or, with a single change, you could catch a train from Gloucester. The costs that you will incur from either 1) or 2) above will buy a lot of train fares especially if you adopt a split ticketing strategy. For this https://new.trainsplit.com is your friend! Also I expect that we both know friendly, reliable people on the Glos & Sharpness who will keep an eye on your boat for you when you are away which is quite an important consideration for peeps in your situation. PM me if you want suggestions.

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As others have said, the trip you're proposing is a bit of an adventure for two people fairly new to boating in winter, and the river sections in particular need some planning. That said, I'd generally encourage people to move their own boat where possible, because (1) it's a lot more fun and usually cheaper than road transport or hiring a professional boat mover, and (2) I often go along for part or all of a long trip as crew, for just accommodation and food, because I enjoy boating but don't have one of my own. As I'm recovering from illness and don't expect to be fully fit until Christmas, I'm unlikely to be available to go boating until the new year, but would be interested then, and you might find someone else off the forum to help you; you should make faster and safer progress with the right person aboard. I have some river experience, mostly on the non-tidal Thames/Kennet/Wey and none of it on the Severn, but certainly I'd suggest you prepare well for that section of the journey and preferably get someone with relevant experience to accompany you until you're back in the relative safety of the canals.

From what you've said of your circumstances, I think that if you can plan a reasonably safe trip up the Severn and work around the winter stoppages it would make sense for you to move part of the way over winter to reduce your transport time and costs.

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10 hours 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.

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.

I think  this is poor advice.

Have you seen the weather forecast for this week. Heavy snow in the upper Severn valley for Sunday followed by freezing weather then rain Wed/Thurs causing a rapid thaw - and hence river levels that are not going to be good and likely flooding. I am not aware of a long range forecast that is saying we are not going to get cold spells. Anything outside of 7 days is mainly guesswork but the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) suggests a colder than normal winter if you believe most models (only the Met Office model is suggesting a warmer one). Have a look at the following link for discussion on forthcoming weather. We are just as likely to get a few days freezing conditions between now and the commencement of the January stoppages as it is likely to be ice free.

https://www.netweather.tv/forum/topic/88969-model-output-discussion-winter-proper-underway/

I think the OP has made a good decision.

Edited by Dr Bob
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In case you change your mind, it's worth knowing that the river Severn is closed Tuesday and Wednesday during the winter.  When it's open you also have to book at least day (canal open day) before.  It is further complicated by being open only between 8am and 4pm, so if there is much flow downstream, then going against the flow from Gloucester to Worcester means you may not make passage through Diglis locks into Worcester within one day.  The River levels can change fairly quickly, and if too high CRT will strongly advise against moving, in which case if you ignore said advice you may find you have problems claiming on insurance if anything goes wrong.  So if you do decide to go up river by prepared to make plan changes at short notice. 

Times are here for the future  https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/notice/10323/opening-times-for-the-river-severn-and-gloucester-and-sharpness-canal-2017-2018

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19 hours ago, Dr Bob said:

I think  this is poor advice.

Have you seen the weather forecast for this week. Heavy snow in the upper Severn valley for Sunday followed by freezing weather then rain Wed/Thurs causing a rapid thaw - and hence river levels that are not going to be good and likely flooding. I am not aware of a long range forecast that is saying we are not going to get cold spells. Anything outside of 7 days is mainly guesswork but the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) suggests a colder than normal winter if you believe most models (only the Met Office model is suggesting a warmer one). Have a look at the following link for discussion on forthcoming weather. We are just as likely to get a few days freezing conditions between now and the commencement of the January stoppages as it is likely to be ice free.

https://www.netweather.tv/forum/topic/88969-model-output-discussion-winter-proper-underway/

 

Do you really !  And would I be correct in assuming that the paragraph that follows your ill reasoned opinion contains the sum total of all factors taken into account in reaching your conclusion ?

 

You round off your brief summary of weather forecasts for the relevant period with the statement - "We are just as likely to get a few days freezing conditions between now and the commencement of the January stoppages as it is likely to be ice free." - which I read as saying that there is a 50/50 chance that temperatures will drop below zero in the middle of Winter. Do you consider this astounding revelation to be a sound reason for abandoning plans to move a boat, out of necessity rather than choice, over a route of which approximately half the total mileage is on river navigations, or does the significance of this and of the other relevant factors completely escape you ?

Edited by TheDuker
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2 hours ago, TheDuker said:

Do you really !  And would I be correct in assuming that the paragraph that follows your ill reasoned opinion contains the sum total of all factors taken into account in reaching your conclusion ?

 

You round off your brief summary of weather forecasts for the relevant period with the statement - "We are just as likely to get a few days freezing conditions between now and the commencement of the January stoppages as it is likely to be ice free." - which I read as saying that there is a 50/50 chance that temperatures will drop below zero in the middle of Winter. Do you consider this astounding revelation to be a sound reason for abandoning plans to move a boat, out of necessity rather than choice, over a route of which approximately half the total mileage is on river navigations, or does the significance of this and of the other relevant factors completely escape you ?

No, I said "We are just as likely to get a few days freezing conditions between now and the commencement of the January stoppages as it is likely to be ice free." hence a chance that navigation will be difficult.

The Severn will be in flood by the end of the week. Not the place for a novice to go up river.

More models are pointing to a colder winter. Only some models are pointing to a normal or warmer winter.

You said "at present the forecast up to early January isn't for cold enough spell for that to be likely". That is very poor advice. The predictions are just not good enough and your forecast is very optimistic. Look at what the experts are saying on the link I posted.

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3 hours ago, Dr Bob said:

No, I said "We are just as likely to get a few days freezing conditions between now and the commencement of the January stoppages as it is likely to be ice free." hence a chance that navigation will be difficult.

The Severn will be in flood by the end of the week. Not the place for a novice to go up river.

More models are pointing to a colder winter. Only some models are pointing to a normal or warmer winter.

You said "at present the forecast up to early January isn't for cold enough spell for that to be likely". That is very poor advice. The predictions are just not good enough and your forecast is very optimistic. Look at what the experts are saying on the link I posted.

Well, you have answered the question I asked at the end of my last post, and it's evident that in focusing on the possible effects of the weather alone to exclusion of all other relevant factors, the effect and significance of those other factors is escaping you utterly and completely.

One way for you to make a start on widening your blinkered view of the practicalities of Angelique being able to fit 9 - 10 days boating into the stoppage free 22 days from 16 December to 7 January would be to check up on whether or not there are any scheduled stoppages on the suggested route. Having done that, you could then move on to recognizing the fact that around half the total mileage to be covered is on river navigations which, of course, remain ice-free in all but the very worst of cold spells. Another positive factor to take into account is that in the event of a cold spell severe enough to freeze canals, the whole distance from Nottingham to York can be made by river only, and carrying on all the way to Ripon leaves only a couple of miles of canal to cover right at the end of the journey. 

Edited by TheDuker
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I've been up & down the Severn many times & with the Met Office saying minus 12 in Wales & parts of the midlands tonight & Monday night there's no way I would be so stupid as to go out of Gloucester lock at the moment. When this snow starts melting & reaches the Severn in a few days, I certainly wouldn't want to be on the river. As a complete novice, Angelique has heeded the right advice & made the right decision. Leave it at that.

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17 minutes ago, sharpness said:

I've been up & down the Severn many times & with the Met Office saying minus 12 in Wales & parts of the midlands tonight & Monday night there's no way I would be so stupid as to go out of Gloucester lock at the moment. When this snow starts melting & reaches the Severn in a few days, I certainly wouldn't want to be on the river. As a complete novice, Angelique has heeded the right advice & made the right decision. Leave it at that.

So, you think setting out on a thirty mile upriver trip from Gloucester "at the moment", with two nights of hard frost forecast and levels up only a matter of a few inches would be "stupid"  because of the probability of a bit of snow melting "in a few days" time.

I think you're talking alarmist nonsense. Leave it at that.

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6 minutes ago, TheDuker said:

So, you think setting out on a thirty mile upriver trip from Gloucester "at the moment", with two nights of hard frost forecast and levels up only a matter of a few inches would be "stupid"  because of the probability of a bit of snow melting "in a few days" time.

I think you're talking alarmist nonsense. Leave it at that.

Yes, I do.       (for probability, read certainty.)

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13 minutes ago, sharpness said:

Yes, I do.       (for probability, read certainty.)

In that case I have to assume that in all your many trips on the river your boat has struggled for 2 days or more to cover around 30 miles. No wonder you're so nervous !

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Hello everyone, 

Thank you for all your comments and concern, however diverse in your conclusions about our trip,  me and Simon really appreciate it! 

We have decided to postpone it due to a number of reasons, but thank you all of you for giving us your experience and consideration. I know you guys come from very different boating backgrounds so it was great to get different views on the best way forward. Let's agree to disagree... It's nearly Christmas! ;)

Have a lovely boating Christmas and stay warm! 

Kind regards, 

Angelique and Simon 

 

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On 12/8/2017 at 22:03, 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. 

Long way around straight down the trent turn left and onto the ouse, we were there just last week, glorious trip weather and water perfik for the journey.

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