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Sarahr

Extended Cruise Where To Go?

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Our dream has always been to set off for an extended holiday on our boat. Our dream has finally come true, and this year we are setting off at the beginning of August from our mooring in Pewsey on the Kennet and Avon canal returning at the end of October before the winter stoppages start. We don’t really know where to go, or how far we will get. We will probably head up the Thames and join the Oxford canal and head north from there. Can anyone tell me how far we can realistically get in 3 months cruising an average of about 4-5 hours a day and can you recommend any beautiful rural canals or rivers that we should visit? I have looked at canal planner but without really knowing where to go planning a journey on it is a little tricky! Any recommendations would be gratefully received. 

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There are any number of routes, one possibility from the Oxford is Norton junction, Foxton, Leicester, Nottingham, Shardlow, Burton, Fradley, Autherley, Birmingham and then the GU south to Brentford and the Thames.

This would give you a wide variety of rivers and canals and both the most rural and the most urban of canals.

It could be done in a summer month but also offers a good 3 months cruising. 

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Why not just cruise towards wherever you'd like til you're half way through your time then cruise back towards home again?

 

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9 minutes ago, Sea Dog said:

Why not just cruise towards wherever you'd like til you're half way through your time then cruise back towards home again?

 

I appreciate what you say but I just wanted to know if there are some must see canals that are worth a visit. 

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9 hours ago, Sarahr said:

I appreciate what you say but I just wanted to know if there are some must see canals that are worth a visit. 

I know Sarah, but that's a bit like saying"where shall I go on holiday" or "I need a hobby: what shall I do?"  You said it's always been your dream - it wasn't a very vivid one, was it! :D

Ok, you're about as south as you can get. Assuming you have a Narrowboat, why not go north. Maybe head for the North West using, say, Chester as your first aiming point. Up the lovely Oxford Canal, take the Grand Union towards Birmingham, perhaps going down to Stratford-upon-Avon before going on to Brum, or maybe keep going down the Avon and up the Severn to Worcester from where you can either go back on the canal up to Brum or keep going up the Severn to Stourport to continue heading north and leave Birmingham for the return.  Then head up the Shropshire Union towards Chester again,  peeling off to the left to go up the. Llangollen Canal to see Telford's famous Aqueduct perhaps visiting the quieter Montgomery Canal as you pass. Now on to Chester mooring under the great Roman Walls, perhaps even pushing on to do the renowned Zoo and on to Ellesmere Port to see the Waterways Museum.  Ok, how much time have you got left?  Then how's about heading round to do the Anderton Boat Lift and have a few peaceful days on the tranquil River Weaver?  Time to go East now maybe, or what about Liverpool?  Loads of time left?  Sod it, do the Leeds - Liverpool. Getting a bit tight on time? Head back towards Birmingham again, there's plenty of great canal ahead, and the Black Country Museum is really good and you might try Bathams Best if you drink beer. Which way home from here?

Now, there's a flavour. There's also a principle - pick an aiming point and adapt as to go, seeing a variety of stuff that's in your dreams and staying a wee bit longer in the bits that really do it for you.

There's a myriad of routes you could take, lots of sights to see, and you could plan to go as far as you can get in x days at x lock/miles an hour or whatever. The Canalplan website will help work out times and distances, whether you decide to plan everything in fine detail or just wander. Folk can give you rough ideas, provide tight itineraries, tell you where you must go, exactly what you should do... but it's your dream: go live it!

I hope that's been of some help, either in a loose ideas kind of way or to help you get your own mind in the right gear.  Good luck and have a great cruise! :boat:

 

 

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Some of the most scenic canals in my opinion, and in no particular order are Southern Oxford, Shropshire Union, Llangollen, Calden, Upper Peak Forest and all of the canals that cross the Penines.

Playing about with Canalplan will allow you to decide where and what you can achieve in your timescale.

https://canalplan.eu/cgi-bin/canal.cgi

 

Edited by cuthound

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S Oxford, N Oxford, Coventry, T&M, Macc return Middlewich branch if breach fixed Shroppie,through Brum & either north Stratford or GU back south  But suggest you don't have a so to speak target Just "putter" as the mood takes you like the area stop for a period no like /grotty bit carry on JUST GO WITH THE FLOW & ENJOY rather than covering a set route or distance

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York is a fab easy run from you and covers some of the best waterways and rivers should be pusseycats at that time of year.

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1 hour ago, Sea Dog said:

Now on to Chester mooring under the great Roman Walls, perhaps even pushing on to do the renowned Zoo and on to Ellesmere Port to see the Waterways Museum.  Ok, how much time have you got left?  Then how's about heading round to do the Anderton Boat Lift and have a few peaceful days on the tranquil River Weaver?

Hang about - don't forget, the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union is out of action due to a major breach, so heading from Chester to the Boat Lift and Weaver would currently mean re-tracing your journey along the Shroppie and then heading up the Staffs & Worcester and Trent & Mersey, taking maybe a fortnight at the OP's suggested pace. Arguably well worth doing, but still!

My three favourite canals of those we've cruised to far have been the Huddersfield Narrow, the Macclesfield, and the Leeds-Liverpool (especially the area around Skipton). So in your shoes, Sarah, I'd be inclined to head north along the Oxford, Staffs and Worcester and Trent and Mersey to the Macclesfield, along the Peak Forest (& Ashton) to the Huddersfield Narrow, then along the Huddersfield Broad, Calder and Hebble and Aire and Calder to the Leeds-Liverpool, then turn off below the Wigan Flight and head along the Leigh Branch to the Bridgewater to rejoin the Trent & Mersey for the journey south.

You could then add out-and-back detours (of a couple of days to a couple of weeks) to that basic route, depending on how you were doing for time as you went: the Ashby; the Caldon; the Upper Peak Forest; maybe Hebden Bridge on the Rochdale; the Selby Canal, River Ouse and York; the Sheffield and South Yorkshire; Liverpool and/or the Lancaster; the section of the Bridgewater taking you to Castefield Basin in Manchester; the Anderton Boat Lift on to the River Weaver; even that trip up the Shroppie to Chester and the Llangollen. 

 

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Just had a quick look on Canalplan and it calculates that basic route as taking 75 days at 5 hours a day. (I think - didn't check that every detail of their suggested route matches mine, but it looks right!)

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34 minutes ago, magictime said:

Hang about - don't forget, the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union is out of action due to a major breach, so...

Yeah, fair enough if it's still going to be out - and assuming the OP doesn't have a widebeam, and whilst we also guess at her crew size, their abilities, usual pace over those 4-5 hours, whether she cruises all 7 days, whether she's scared of rivers, what she likes, dislikes, if she stops for rain or presses on regardless in all weathers, whether she can't cook and needs a pub every night, or despises alcohol and hates pubs, etc, etc. 

More to the point: how on earth can anyone be expected to plan a cruise for someone they don't know and,furthermore, who the devil buys a boat and doesn't have any idea of their own of where they'd like to go in it or what they'd like to do in it? :banghead:

 

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Sea Dog said:

who the devil buys a boat and doesn't have any idea of their own of where they'd like to go in it or what they'd like to do in it? :banghead:

I think that's a bit unfair. This seems to be the first time the OP has had the option of doing a long cruise, and she has to start somewhere in coming up with a 'wish list' of waterways to visit and an itinerary that works for her. 

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The first time that we had the opportunity for an extended cruise we literally tossed a coin at each junction that we came to. At one point halfway through the summer we nearly found ourselves coming back to our home moorings at Milton Keynes but the coin toss at Norton Junction took us the other way again and a couple of weeks later we were at Newark.

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2 hours ago, Sea Dog said:

Yeah, fair enough if it's still going to be out - and assuming the OP doesn't have a widebeam, and whilst we also guess at her crew size, their abilities, usual pace over those 4-5 hours, whether she cruises all 7 days, whether she's scared of rivers, what she likes, dislikes, if she stops for rain or presses on regardless in all weathers, whether she can't cook and needs a pub every night, or despises alcohol and hates pubs, etc, etc. 

More to the point: how on earth can anyone be expected to plan a cruise for someone they don't know and,furthermore, who the devil buys a boat and doesn't have any idea of their own of where they'd like to go in it or what they'd like to do in it? :banghead:

 

 

 

 

 

 I think you may have missed my point, I have every intention of planning my cruise but I thought it would be handy to ask you friendly people you opinions of where the best places to go would be! I certainly am not asking you to plan my holiday and am not so clueless that I cannot plan my own holiday! I am sorry my post has upset you so much I didn’t realise a post such as this could cause such controversy,  I was merely asking for your friendly advice. Our boat is indeed a narrow beam and we have plenty of river experience having done the Thames and the river Kennet many times before. 

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2 hours ago, Sea Dog said:

More to the point: how on earth can anyone be expected to plan a cruise for someone they don't know and,furthermore, who the devil buys a boat and doesn't have any idea of their own of where they'd like to go in it or what they'd like to do in it? :banghead:

 

Remember the saying “if you can’t say anything nice..........”

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14 minutes ago, Sarahr said:

 I think you may have missed my point, I have every intention of planning my cruise but I thought it would be handy to ask you friendly people you opinions of where the best places to go would be! I certainly am not asking you to plan my holiday and am not so clueless that I cannot plan my own holiday! I am sorry my post has upset you so much I didn’t realise a post such as this could cause such controversy,  I was merely asking for your friendly advice. Our boat is indeed a narrow beam and we have plenty of river experience having done the Thames and the river Kennet many times before. 

You will find plenty of friendly, and very good, advice on here. But you will also find a certain amount of 'point missing' and that almost anything can cause controversy.:)

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1 hour ago, Sarahr said:

 I think you may have missed my point, I have every intention of planning my cruise but I thought it would be handy to ask you friendly people you opinions of where the best places to go would be! I certainly am not asking you to plan my holiday and am not so clueless that I cannot plan my own holiday! I am sorry my post has upset you so much I didn’t realise a post such as this could cause such controversy,  I was merely asking for your friendly advice. Our boat is indeed a narrow beam and we have plenty of river experience having done the Thames and the river Kennet many times before. 

Sarah, your post hasn't upset me at all.  You are very welcome to ask, and I did offer you my general ideas/advice at post #3 and expanded at post #5, which I hope you found constructive.  :)

My later point was more about being discerning about what info you might need - there's little point in going into detail about exactly where, when, how and what you should do when we don't know you so can't fill in the blank "why" in that list.  More general advice is (or may be) useful to you, but I think (hope!) it unlikely that someone who owns a boat (in this case you) would have no idea of what she wanted to do and would need to be spoon fed.  Stuff like "head for York", or general route suggestions might be more useful to boat owners rather than the level of detail we often provide in response to someone heading for a week in a hire boat. Just my thought.

2 hours ago, magictime said:

I think that's a bit unfair. This seems to be the first time the OP has had the option of doing a long cruise, and she has to start somewhere in coming up with a 'wish list' of waterways to visit and an itinerary that works for her. 

I refer the honourable gentleman to the answer I gave a few moments ago. :)

1 hour ago, Jamboat said:

Remember the saying “if you can’t say anything nice..........”

Yes, a very good saying too - probably the best ever philosophical quote from a cartoon rabbit (Thumper, in Bambi iirc). :D Anyway, I can, usually do, and on this occasion/subject I did - at post #3 and in some depth at post #5.

Ok, enough of this, I'm off to flog myself with nettles for being controversial. ;)

 

PS. I would just like to add sorry if I came over as a grumpy old Sea Dog - normal service will be resumed as soon as possible. :)

Edited by Sea Dog
PS bit.
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On a Sunny afternoon, sitting upstairs at the Waterfront bar looking out over the canal with those hills in the background....you will have to go a long way to beat that view.

If you can I would include a brief visit to Birmingham, a visit to the Peak Forest canal, and a trip into Liverpool. The downside of Liverpool is that it needs booking well in advance so you will have the problem of a deadline to meet. The Middlewich breach is a right pain. If you are brave you could go across the Mersey from Liverpool to Ellesmere port then return home down the Shropshire Union. A less extreme adventure would be to backtrack down to Anderton, down the lift to the Weaver and over to Ellesmere Port on the ship canal. 

Another possibility is, after going up the Thames to Oxford you could return down the Grand Union to Brentford and back up the Thames to the K&A. This will give you the pleasure of doing a tidal section from Brentford to Teddington which you can then boast about when you get back to the K&A (:D) but its actually very safe and easy and rather pretty.

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

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7 minutes ago, dmr said:

On a Sunny afternoon, sitting upstairs at the Waterfront bar looking out over the canal with those hills in the background....you will have to go a long way to beat that view.

If you can I would include a brief visit to Birmingham, a visit to the Peak Forest canal, and a trip into Liverpool. The downside of Liverpool is that it needs booking well in advance so you will have the problem of a deadline to meet. The Middlewich breach is a right pain. If you are brave you could go across the Mersey from Liverpool to Ellesmere port then return home down the Shropshire Union. A less extreme adventure would be to backtrack down to Anderton, down the lift to the Weaver and over to Ellesmere Port on the ship canal. 

Another possibility is, after going up the Thames to Oxford you could return down the Grand Union to Brentford and back up the Thames to the K&A. This will give you the pleasure of doing a tidal section from Brentford to Teddington which you can then boast about when you get back to the K&A (:D) but its actually very safe and easy and rather pretty.

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

Hello Dave I haven’t seen you for ages!!  I take your point about the view from the waterfront! We have done the run up the Oxford and down the GU we did it in 6 weeks! I like the idea of doing the  Anderton the ship canal sounds fun too! Where are you now? Are you coming back to the K&A soon? Sarah 

6 hours ago, magictime said:

Hang about - don't forget, the Middlewich Branch of the Shropshire Union is out of action due to a major breach, so heading from Chester to the Boat Lift and Weaver would currently mean re-tracing your journey along the Shroppie and then heading up the Staffs & Worcester and Trent & Mersey, taking maybe a fortnight at the OP's suggested pace. Arguably well worth doing, but still!

My three favourite canals of those we've cruised to far have been the Huddersfield Narrow, the Macclesfield, and the Leeds-Liverpool (especially the area around Skipton). So in your shoes, Sarah, I'd be inclined to head north along the Oxford, Staffs and Worcester and Trent and Mersey to the Macclesfield, along the Peak Forest (& Ashton) to the Huddersfield Narrow, then along the Huddersfield Broad, Calder and Hebble and Aire and Calder to the Leeds-Liverpool, then turn off below the Wigan Flight and head along the Leigh Branch to the Bridgewater to rejoin the Trent & Mersey for the journey south.

You could then add out-and-back detours (of a couple of days to a couple of weeks) to that basic route, depending on how you were doing for time as you went: the Ashby; the Caldon; the Upper Peak Forest; maybe Hebden Bridge on the Rochdale; the Selby Canal, River Ouse and York; the Sheffield and South Yorkshire; Liverpool and/or the Lancaster; the section of the Bridgewater taking you to Castefield Basin in Manchester; the Anderton Boat Lift on to the River Weaver; even that trip up the Shroppie to Chester and the Llangollen. 

 

That sounds amazing I will definitely consider this! 

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1 hour ago, Sarahr said:

Hello Dave I haven’t seen you for ages!!  I take your point about the view from the waterfront! We have done the run up the Oxford and down the GU we did it in 6 weeks! I like the idea of doing the  Anderton the ship canal sounds fun too! Where are you now? Are you coming back to the K&A soon? Sarah 

 

Gillies younger daughter who lives near Liverpool has had a baby so we are spending this winter up North to be within easy car/train distance of Liverpool. This is the first winter in ten years that we have not spent on the K&A. Its all gone really well, we have spent a lot of time on the River Weaver which has been very pleasant (except for a few very unpleasant fishermen!). We are currently in Chester trying to organise a hop on the ship canal back to the Weaver. We have missed many things about the K&A but not others, the beer up here is often cheaper but its been hard to find a really good pub. There is a lot of interesting canal history, and sometimes the Welsh mountains in the distance, but nothing quite matches the vale of Pewsey. Will be back in November, though might get back earlier, maybe September, for a trip down to Bristol, my children did miss their annual Bath to Bristol adventure.

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

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39 minutes ago, dmr said:

Gillies younger daughter who lives near Liverpool has had a baby so we are spending this winter up North to be within easy car/train distance of Liverpool. This is the first winter in ten years that we have not spent on the K&A. Its all gone really well, we have spent a lot of time on the River Weaver which has been very pleasant (except for a few very unpleasant fishermen!). We are currently in Chester trying to organise a hop on the ship canal back to the Weaver. We have missed many things about the K&A but not others, the beer up here is often cheaper but its been hard to find a really good pub. There is a lot of interesting canal history, and sometimes the Welsh mountains in the distance, but nothing quite matches the vale of Pewsey. Will be back in November, though might get back earlier, maybe September, for a trip down to Bristol, my children did miss their annual Bath to Bristol adventure.

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

I look forward to seeing you in Pewsey when we get back from our adventures! 

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