Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Two weeks' boating: the plan

On my day off yesterday I finished planning the route for our forthcoming cruise. I used my old Imray map (that's the one under the windlasses in yesterday's post) and Nicholson's guides, and made a table of miles, locks, hours and minutes for each leg, with a cumulative time as the final column. I have yet to work out where we're going to stop each night. That's something I like to do even if we don't actually tie up at the designated places. It makes it easy to see if we're ahead or behind schedule.

So, the route.

Starting from Wigram's Turn (Napton Junction) we'll go to Braunston; then on the Oxford Canal to Sutton Stop; Coventry Canal to Fazeley Junction; Birmingham and Fazeley to Salford Junction; Tame Valley to Doe Bank Jn; Walsall Canal to Birchills Jn (including Walsall Town Arm on the way); Wyrley and Essington to Horseley Fields Jn; Birmingham Main Line to Aldersley Jn.

Staffs and Worcs to Stourton Jn; Stourbridge Canal to Delph Locks (including Stourbridge Town Arm and Fens Branch); Dudley No. 1 to Windmill End (including Bumblehole Branch); Dudley No. 2 to Hawne Basin and back; through Netherton Tunnel to Dudley Port Jn and Albion Jn.

Gower Branch to Bradeshall Jn and Oldbury Jn; Titford Canal to the end and back; Oldbury Jn to Bromford Jn and Smethwick Jn and on to Gas Street Basin; Worcester and Birmingham to King's Norton Jn; Stratford Canal to Stratford and back as far as Kingswood Jn; Grand Union to Wigram's Turn.

Total milage (by my calculation) 182.25; number of locks 272. (Er ... wow! It's a good job we have two full weeks!) Total time I calculate to be 111 hours 45 mins, which is an easy 8 hours per day for 14 days. (My parameters: 2.5 mph average speed; 7 mins per lock. What we lose in not being able to maintain speed we gain in the fact that locks are often much quicker than 7 mins, especially when I lockwheel.)

I'll next have to double check against CanalPlan, and then check Waterscape for stoppages!

The route includes many options for short cuts if we need to save time, especially the drop down to Stratford. Not doing that would save us 18 hours - or two whole days.

The photo shows the last time we cruised on Shadow. We were returning to Tattenhall Marina after a trip along the Llangollen. Here we're doing a passing manoeuvre in the Bunbury Staircase.


Anonymous said...

I will bring cake and milk to a suitable chatty place.

Halfie said...

Anonymous, please identify yourself so I know who to look out for! (And why the milk?)

Look forward to seeing you, whoever you are.

Nev Wells said...


That is some trip - not sure on the 8 hours a day cruising - we like the 4-5 hours, more lazy time. Longest day was a 14 hour day 6am to 8pm non stop when we brought Waterlily back from Whilton.

We will be heading off to the Ashby on the 11th - is there a chance we might pass you on the Coventry before you head into B'ham?



Halfie said...

Don't think so, Nev - we should be long past the Coventry by then. Another time, perhaps.

Andy Tidy said...

The BCN backwaters have a certain charm to them, but I would have a very clear plan about where you will stop each night, and a few reserve locations if anything goes awry. Maybe I am over cautions but there are only a dozen or so locations where I feel really secure.

Halfie said...

Andy, determining the stopping places is next on the agenda, and I appreciate the need to be careful.

As we're coming down the B&F I believe that's in your area - will you be about?

Anonymous said...

Hmm, Braunston would have been the nearest place for milkncake, but iwasn't paying enough attention!

Halfie said...

Anonymous, I am intrigued.

Anonymous said...

Halfie - would love to say, but the chance has passed. I may send an email some time.