Friday, 28 August 2009

The Route

Two weeks to the off now, and here's the route we're planning. It's a combination of the Four Counties Ring and the Cheshire Ring. Each ring can be done in a week but is better with slightly longer, and we've got three weeks. So I've added a couple of side trips along the way.

From Norbury Junction, we'll head south to Autherley Junction, where we'll turn left onto the Staffs and Worcs. At Great Haywood we'll go north on the Trent and Mersey to Stoke, where we'll make a detour down the Caldon. Then it's on to the end of the T&M where it joins the Bridgewater, which will take us into Manchester. We'll keep on the ring, using the Rochdale and Ashton Canals, before turning onto the Peak Forest. We'll go right to the end, at Bugsworth Basin. Then it's back to Marple Junction, and the Macclesfield Canal. At the southern end of the Macc (assuming the Shebdon breach is fixed by then), we'll make a second decent of the Cheshire Locks, before turning onto the Middlewich Arm, and taking the Shroppie back to Norbury Junction. If the Shroppie is still closed, we'll have to take the southerly route instead.

All that adds up to 255 miles and 215 locks, which should make for an energetic but not overly stressed three weeks.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Shroppie stoppage

The news on the stoppage on the Shroppie keeps getting worse. The latest I hear is that the canal could be closed for four or five weeks.

We're not due to do that section until the end of our September trip, so it might be open again by then. If not, we'll just have to re-trace or steps to Norbury Junction via the Trent and Mersey. It would be a shame to have to change our plans (particularly after being forced to re-write them completely last September). But even if we do, we'll have plenty of other opportunities to do this stretch.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Four weeks

In four week's time, we'll be heading out on Debdale. Not that we're counting down the days or anything. It'll be a day of firsts: the first trip from Norbury Junction; the first time boating on the Shroppie; the first time having three weeks on board. There'll be lots more firsts too, as our planned route will be mostly new territory for us. It may still be four weeks away, but at least by then they should have fixed the leak at the Shebdon embankment.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009


A visit to another familiar place today for a boat test: Braunston. At first, it was very cloudy, but by lunch time there were patches of blue sky and before long the sun was out and the temperature was rising. Braunston was its usual busy self, which is one of the reasons I always enjoy going there. At one stage there were six boats waiting to go up the locks, and there was a constant procession of downhill boats too. Braunston Turn had its fair share of boats in all directions, and using the Y shape to turn around. A thoroughly enjoyable day, which ended with an ice cream from the shop at the bottom lock.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

The Silver Kroner on test

The September issue of Canal Boat is out, and contains my test of The Silver Kroner, a remarkable boat from Navigation Narrowboats with a huge glass sliding roof.