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JJPHG

Quiet routes

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Just had a wonderful few days re-familiarising with boat life between Foxton and Leicester.  Only met one other boater the entire time who, like others I suspect, 'hides' away from the tourists and 'hoards' during the busy times and does the bulk of their cruising during the quiet winter months.  I thought this was an excellent idea so any recommendations as to which stretches are less popular during the busier months, for my next trip back 'home'.

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Buy a Gold License, and get thee to the Fens.  River Nene, Great Ouse, and especially the farther corners of the Middle Level.

 

MP.

 

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I think it was us who was the "Other Boater" ! We met you at lock 23. We are now north of Leicester and haven't seen another boater yet if you discount a CRT crane and a hopper. So far during the summers we've been to Lancaster and Tewitfield, Ripon, the Pennines. Planning the Wey and Basinstoke next summer, the Nene and Great Ouse the summer after that.

Glad you had a good holiday.

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The Wey and Basingstoke are generally quiet, but getting there in summer you'll encounter traffic, on either the GU or Oxford route. The Thames in summer is full of GRP boats of all sizes up to and including the big gin palace boats, plus lots of rowers and canoeists and some canal boats. It's wide so has room for them all, but you need to keep a good lookout.

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1 hour ago, Peter X said:

The Wey and Basingstoke are generally quiet, but getting there in summer you'll encounter traffic, on either the GU or Oxford route. The Thames in summer is full of GRP boats of all sizes up to and including the big gin palace boats, plus lots of rowers and canoeists and some canal boats. It's wide so has room for them all, but you need to keep a good lookout.

I wish - The River - in my neck of the woods anyway - is only full of boats during the Henley weeks (Rowing, Festival, and trad boat rally), but as you write it's wide enough for everyone. My only irritation is all sorts of folks in whatever type of boat who won't move up on lock laybys....

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5 hours ago, JJPHG said:

Just had a wonderful few days re-familiarising with boat life between Foxton and Leicester.  Only met one other boater the entire time who, like others I suspect, 'hides' away from the tourists and 'hoards' during the busy times and does the bulk of their cruising during the quiet winter months.  I thought this was an excellent idea so any recommendations as to which stretches are less popular during the busier months, for my next trip back 'home'.

Try the northern canals. It’s not unusual to see only two or three moving boats a day even in the summer. Beautiful scenery too.

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9 minutes ago, Nick D said:

Try the northern canals. It’s not unusual to see only two or three moving boats a day even in the summer. Beautiful scenery too.

Some of the northern canals make up for the lack of numbers with size!

 

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4 hours ago, Mac of Cygnet said:

Huddersfield Narrow.  Maximum of 9 boats each way per week traversing the whole canal!

When they are ain't stemmed up due to lack of water or stuck in that lock at Slewit' cos its bust that is!

 

(A casual reader might gather that we were not impressed with the HNC)

14 minutes ago, Nick D said:

Try the northern canals. It’s not unusual to see only two or three moving boats a day even in the summer. Beautiful scenery too.

The New Junction is soooooper.

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When I did the Witham Navigable Drains a few years ago, a resident of a waterside house said I was the sixth boat that year ... The crew thought I had got lost, especially when I said we were about a mile from New York.

dscf6065.jpg

Edited by Scholar Gypsy

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Either you are up very early Simon or miles away as we are.

 

Never done a drain, is it not boring being between 2 banks all day?

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13 hours ago, Alway Swilby said:

I think it was us who was the "Other Boater" ! We met you at lock 23. We are now north of Leicester and haven't seen another boater yet if you discount a CRT crane and a hopper. So far during the summers we've been to Lancaster and Tewitfield, Ripon, the Pennines. Planning the Wey and Basinstoke next summer, the Nene and Great Ouse the summer after that.

Glad you had a good holiday.

Hi,  

 

Yes it was us.  So glad to have actually met somebody from the forum on our travels.  Hopefully your making good progress whilst the weather stays reasonable  it doesn't look like I'm going to get to see any 'nice' changeable stuff before I have to set off back.  I see from your website that the youngsters navigation proved a tad entertaining for you ?.  They may not be able to steer but they have their uses and were also able to get the that log out of the paddles a few locks further on.

 

Thanks to the many replies everyone.  There seems to be plenty of choice.  Quite like the idea of the fens having lived there for a good number of years back in my youth - freezing fog and flat as a pancake landscape has a perverse appeal to me.

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15 hours ago, JJPHG said:

Just had a wonderful few days re-familiarising with boat life between Foxton and Leicester.  Only met one other boater the entire time who, like others I suspect, 'hides' away from the tourists and 'hoards' during the busy times and does the bulk of their cruising during the quiet winter months.  I thought this was an excellent idea so any recommendations as to which stretches are less popular during the busier months, for my next trip back 'home'.

IMHO this is the dilemma for us all with all types of modern media - if we share these special routes/places and special mooring spots next time we pass they wont be there and certainly wont be as special.

 

I for one think an important part  this life is about exploring so do you really want a detailed route map telling you exactly what to expect and where?????

 

I enjoy the forum as a means of sharing information but struggle with this aspect of instant gratification- but then I am of an age where I have accepted but don't like emails and will never do "twitbook"?!

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3 hours ago, Boater Sam said:

Either you are up very early Simon or miles away as we are.

 

Never done a drain, is it not boring being between 2 banks all day?

There are some more photos below, I didn't find it boring not least as I was never 100% sure the trip was going to work!

 

Yes up early to day, for a Caribbean Cruise. A group of narrow boats are exploring the West Indies. OK, strictly speaking West India Dock. 

https://nbsg.wordpress.com/witham-navigable-drains-the-view-from-a-narrowboat/

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45 minutes ago, Halsey said:

IMHO this is the dilemma for us all with all types of modern media - if we share these special routes/places and special mooring spots next time we pass they wont be there and certainly wont be as special.

 

Yes - I do empathise with you about the dilemna and certainly if I do get to the point where I am a liveaboard or have my own recreation boat and more importantly the time to explore myself then I can find out or myself.  However on the other hand it is nice to know which areas at least to aim for, for my fleeting visits back home so I can at least get the best experience (to my tastes).  I personally wasn't expecting detailed descriptions of spots to aim for (just areas) but of course you wouldn't know that from my original post.  I found a perfect mooring spot on this trip which will go into my little black book, but as you say, if I was to divulge this on social media its unlikely to remain so (or available) for very long.

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49 minutes ago, JJPHG said:

Yes - I do empathise with you about the dilemna and certainly if I do get to the point where I am a liveaboard or have my own recreation boat and more importantly the time to explore myself then I can find out or myself.  However on the other hand it is nice to know which areas at least to aim for, for my fleeting visits back home so I can at least get the best experience (to my tastes).  I personally wasn't expecting detailed descriptions of spots to aim for (just areas) but of course you wouldn't know that from my original post.  I found a perfect mooring spot on this trip which will go into my little black book, but as you say, if I was to divulge this on social media its unlikely to remain so (or available) for very long.

Aren't you contradicting yourself??

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11 hours ago, TheBiscuits said:

No No No.  There are sharks in the water up here, and bandits on the towpath.  It's grim up north, so you are much better sticking with the Cheshire ring or points south.

 

Ignore @dmr with his tales of it being like the K&A but friendlier people and better, cheaper beer.  And many choices of places to moor, and shower blocks at the services, and some of the best canal scenery in the country.

 

(Not like we try and dissuade people from hogging our chunk of the canal network :D)

 

 

 

There are wolves, the summit pass is infested with Morris dancers, as @dmr knows. @dmr probably hasn't met the wolves, he is wise, he has a wolfhound on his boat, but his attire will attract Morris dancers. A suit will scare them off.

Edited by Jim Riley
merriment
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How about the Llangollen?

 

Ok, not normally, but right now it’s great. That’s because if you’re not on it, you can’t get on it as the Hurlston flight due to stoppages. 

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20 hours ago, MoominPapa said:

Buy a Gold License, and get thee to the Fens.  River Nene, Great Ouse, and especially the farther corners of the Middle Level.

 

MP.

 

No Nene at this time of year, too many stoppages that run from the start of November to late march, badly notified too. Cracking river though. 

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4 minutes ago, BWM said:

No Nene at this time of year, too many stoppages that run from the start of November to late march, badly notified too. Cracking river though. 

I thought the OP was looking for suggestions on where to go in the summer, when the canals get busy?

 

MP.

 

ETA. What you say is, sadly, all true. 

Edited by MoominPapa

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Whetever you do, don't go on the HNC or the Rochdale. Your boat will run aground and/or sink and you'll be eaten by bridge trolls who will crack open your bones and suck out the marrow, if you don't die in a sub-zero blizzard. There's only tripe black pudding and faggots to eat, the beer has a bigger head than Donald Trump, and the natives will mug you and throw your twitching corpse into the cut instead of saying "hello". All this assumes you can get anywhere because of the massive traffic jams on the cut caused by all those people who've heard otherwise ?

 

P.S. Please ignore any other postings (mine included) saying how lovely it all is, these were all done by identity-stealing hackers who want you to fall into their cunning trap...

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3 hours ago, MoominPapa said:

I thought the OP was looking for suggestions on where to go in the summer, when the canals get busy?

 

MP.

 

ETA. What you say is, sadly, all true. 

Ah yes, having re read the post you are correct, got confused because of the recent trip on the Leicester. 

 Damn shame about the Nene at this time of year, you have the river to yourself but the stoppages are badly planned. My trip late October was curtailed on the 2nd November when all available online information said the 7th, the powers that be had attached signs (not on notice boards) on locks close to the stoppages about a week prior to them being closed. It ended up costing me over £2000 to get the boat back onto the cut!

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13 hours ago, Scholar Gypsy said:

When I did the Witham Navigable Drains a few years ago, a resident of a waterside house said I was the sixth boat that year ... The crew thought I had got lost, especially when I said we were about a mile from New York.
 

 

Ooohh, yes!  I'd forgotten about the drains.  The OP would certainly find those quiet.  I went down to them with another boat, became separated after half an hour, and never saw it again.  You've got to watch out for this sort of thing, though (West Fen Drain).  Yes, that's an Ordnance Survey map - not much in the way of guides!

 

 

Frithville bridge.jpg

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