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About thewomble

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    Northern NSW
  1. Week hire south from Napton questions

    Wandering Wombles checking in! We are currently moored for the night at the Great Western in Aynho and all is well There is some internet provided on the boat but it is spotty at best and internet is not really a priority at the moment which I'm sure is as it should be. We have indeed had some interesting weather but on the whole it has been better than expected (though we did absolutely freeze the first night and have all gone to bed fully clothed with as many layers as we can each comfortably sustain since). We got away from Napton at 3 o'clock on Monday and had a great run up to the summit and we moored for the night just after bridge 124 at 7pm. It was a great way to start the journey, just enough locking to keep us busy without being tiring. We didn't get quick as far as planned on Tuesday as the intermittent hail got rather heavy as we were going through the Claydon locks so we pulled over to wait it out at 3.45pm and never got going again as our spot was very pleasant. My daughter has become a rather avid bird watcher lately and we have spotted some peregrines, kestrels and an enormous heron, as well as the countless ducklings and moorhen chicks which has been lovely. We took on water today at Cropredy and were lucky to be the only boat going south at the locks there as there was a queue of 5 or 6 going the other way this morning. Stocked on a few fresh items at Morrisons at 3 o'clock and then cruised on uninterrupted to our current location. Your advice has been invaluable and means I have been able to cruise on with confidence about what is ahead. In fact it almost certainly saved us a disagreement about where to stop for the supermarket (which is marked on our Pearsons guide) as hubby though we needed to moor sooner and I was able to state with confidence that in fact bridge 168 was the best place and broke no argument. As for the loveliness of the Oxford, I cannot say I have been disappointed. It is indeed the rural idyll you have painted it as and we are all thoroughly enjoying ourselves and the peaceful serenity. If the weather is on our side I see no reason we can't push on to Thrupp for our turn tomorrow and I will be well satisified. There has been just the right number of locks and points of interest to keep everyone happy and not tire out the youngsters (though some of those paddles are VERY hard for young arms to wind). So to all who took the time to get involved in my plans, THANK YOU :). I will check in again when we are safely back on shore next week. Cheers
  2. Week hire south from Napton questions

    Hi everyone, thanks for all the advice. I have my canal plan with all your notes on it and will pick up a guide from the marina tomorrow. Just a couple of quick things: If it looks like we won't get to the top of the locks on the first night, where is a good place to stop? Can I definitely turn after Dukes Lock? (it isn't marked as a turning place on my canalplan) Only because if we end up going past Thrupp I see it is 4 miles further on, so could be a problem if we can't turn there and have to go further still. Also, does the canal become the River Cherwell at some stage and is there anything we need to know about this? Thanks for answering all my questions so patiently and with good humour. I will let you know how we get on.
  3. Week hire south from Napton questions

    Thanks for those plan ideas, just the ticket. Funds are running low so no pub meals for us! Where is the best p!Ace to moor for the supermarket at Banbury?
  4. Week hire south from Napton questions

    Actually, is someone able to give me a quick rundown - if we leave from Napton Monday afternoon and moor on the summit as suggested Monday night, where would we expect to get to each night if our plan was to turn at Thrupp? Will we reach Banbury Wednesday afterrnoon and then again on Friday? Canal planner is suggesting this: Monday - summit Tuesday-Broadmoor lock no.24 Wedneday - Souldern Bridge no. 192 Thursday - turn at Thrupp wide, moor SHipton Weir Lock no. 41 Friday - Aynho Weir Saturday - Claydon Botton Bridge no. 146 Sunday - Napton Sanitary Station I am a planner, so I like to have a plan in mind, but once on the go I am quite happy to be flexible on what we actually end up doing
  5. Week hire south from Napton questions

    Thanks, I think this will exactly be our plan. Feeling pretty happy about it now, you all have done a great job
  6. Week hire south from Napton questions

    well clearly I'm in good company here then, as I lean towards the Pearsons simply because that is what I had before and I too am a creature of habit. We start Monday. It was a last minute thing. Our family have been in the UK since May and we have been house sitting our way around the country. We are now up to our last 3 weeks and plan to spend the last 2 in a holiday let in Cornwall because our only Cornwall house sit was up the top, so we want to explore the bottom, which left us with a week after our current sit with no likely sits on the horizon, so reprising our narrowboat adventure got the vote as we had just enough cash to spare with a visit to latelinks. Not looking forward to going home but this should soften the blow a bit.
  7. Week hire south from Napton questions

    Ah that makes sense (re the summit). We will definitely aim for that then. We bought a Pearson's guide for our last trip, so I was thinking of getting another of those for the Oxford. Is it just personal preference or is there an advantage of one guide over another? Not exactly thrilled by the sound of the weather forecast for next week, but it is what it is. I will have a good study of the canal planner and then no doubt will be back with more questions over the weekend. Cheers
  8. Week hire south from Napton questions

    Thanks all, it is sounding good. The extra info on turning points will be helpful and also thanks David for the info on overshooting Napton which is just what I wanted to know. "Do try and moor on the summit - I like the bit around Priors Hardwick" (sorrym can't figure out how to do the quote thingy) I don't know what this means! Where is the summit and how will I know when I am there? Cheers
  9. Week hire south from Napton questions

    Thanks everyone for the entertaining advice. I am planning on going South towards Oxford. I have a couple of questions. I think it might be slightly ambitious to expect to get as far as Oxford as I think my crew will want to make the trip a bit more leisurely than our previous one, ie. have a bit more stopping time for "fishing" (sticks and string for rods :)). On our last trip we pretty much set early and cruised all day, eating lunch on the move etc. For the comparison, we went from Chirk marina to Wrenbury, then turned and went up to Llangollen and then back to Chirk. Canal planner tells me this was a 76 mile trip. I realise that with a different route it is hard to compare times and distances, but I am taking on board that someone said the Oxford is windy and so we are likely to be crusing slowly. First quesion - we are hiring from Black PRince at Napton. Using canal planner, do I put Napton Junction as our starting point? As an initial plan I am thinking we aim for Thrupp which canal planner tells me is a 23 1/2 hour trip. But it seems the nearest winding holes are Enslow (before Thrupp at 22 hours) or Hythe Bridge Arm which a fair bit further on at 27 hours. That seems like quite a distance between turning points. Is there anything I am missing in between those two? Hythe Bridge seems to be only a stones throw from Oxford itself. So would you perhaps recommend I am for the Enslow winding hole? And then if we make it back to Napton with time to spare perhaps we could continue on past our hire base at Napton a bit further. I will have to look into where we would be able to turn after that.? How does that sound? I also heard that the Oxford is shallow and going aground can be a problem. Is this likely to be an issue for us on this stretch do you know? Many thanks again
  10. Week hire south from Napton questions

    Ok, glad you see you all enjoying yourselves here I have just committed to the boat, your arguments are persuasive. By the by we thoroughly enjoyed the Llangollen so if the Oxford is better we shall be ecstatic. So is Banbury as far as we should plan to go? As narrowboating is such a novel experience for us Aussies, we like to stick to the boat generally, rather than moor and spend the days wandering around visiting things, so we an put in plenty of cruising time. How long might we expect to take to get to Banbury (and the all important supermarket), just so I know how many days food I need to take on board initially? And I could be persuaded to investigate the Warwickshire ring also so feel free to pass on any information that might lead me in that direction.
  11. We are a family of 4 hoping to fit in a narrowboat trip before we return to Australia. We did a weeks trip on the Llangollen in August. Our kids are 9 and 12 and good lock workers. Our only availability is next week and I have found a Black Prince boat that we can hire from Napton so we are thinking of going south from there. As I am short on planning time and need to snap up the boat ASAP, can anyone give me advice on what this route is like? Particularly after information on how far we should plan on going before turning around and where we would be able to stock up on supermarket supplies during the journey. As funds are limited we can't rely on eating out so need to store enough food for the week (no mean feat with bottomless children to feed!) and I know from experience there is not enough room to store a weeks worth of food on the boat, so I need to know where shops are that we will be able to walk to so we can stock up along the way. Our other option is a hire on the K&A from Hilperton but comments on here have put me off this one a bit. Any suggestions or advice gratefully received
  12. rental boat on the Llangollen

    I have asked quite a few questions on this forum over the last 6 months culminating finally in our Aussie family having the most splendid week on the Llangollen, so I just wanted to say thanks to everyone who chimed in with advice. We hired our boat from Black Prince on the last Friday in August and we headed first towards Trevor so as to have the experience of crossing the aqueduct. As we arrived there was quite a throng of tourists, largely Japanese madly snapping photos of us (2 rather cute super blond kids certainly help in that direction). It was not as disturbing as I had expected, and i managed to stay out on deck, which was unexpected. We moored up in the basin and had dinner, then returned over the aqueduct in the peace and quiet of the evening which was awesome. We were off early the next morning and had a super day's cruising. There was a queue for water and the New Marton Locks, so we were about an hour and a half there, but with non stop cruising we got to Blake Mere for the night which was simply stunning. The sun was shining on the lake the next morning, and it was simply amazing to be on the canal and looking across to the lake. Day 3 and we made great time again and got through the Grindley locks and continued on to Willey Moor. We had such good weather, but weren't sure it would hold out for the week, and also were wary of running out of time on the return journey, so day 4 we went as far as Wrenbury Mill and decided we should turn around. It was only 11am Monday and in hindsight we could easily have continued on a good bit further. Turned around and cruised easily back to Whitchurch and moored just beyond the arm for the night. The next day we stopped again at Blake mere and had the most amazing peaceful evening after a walk to the Tesco to stock up. The following day we got all the way back to Chirk with a day to spare which was great because we could now go up to Llangollen. We started off at 7am and by some miracle the sun was shining so as we crossed the aqueduct, the shadows of the arches were simply amazing and you could see the shadow of the boat moving along the top which was a real highlight. We continued on to Llangollen this time and followed the advice on here by sending someone up ahead to check through the narrows, so made it unscathed. The lack of phone coverage was a bit of an issue, but we managed with a bit of tag team. Llangollen was well worth the trip and I am glad we made it there We walked up to horseshoe falls and had a particularly nice lamb baguette in the Dee Side Cafe. Left about 3pm and cruised happily back to some moorings just before the Whitehouse tunnel, so it was only a 15 minute trip back to the marina next morning. All in all, the trip was every bit as good as I hoped it would be. There were just about enough locks and bridges to keep the kids content, though I will be aiming for a few more should we be lucky enough to do another trip one day.
  13. first timer panic

    See, the sensible side of me can see this is really good advice but I am having a bad day and I am in a panic. How do I work out how far I can reasonably expect to go? Some people say you can do the whole of the Llangollen and return in a week, some people say we should only go as far as Whitchurch. So how do I plan a destination? And (bearing in mind I am a total newbie and have no idea what I am doing AND I am panicking...) what if I am travelling slower than I thought and need to turn around, but there is nowhere to turn around? We certainly don't want to just go from Chirk to Llangollen and back, this is a cruising holiday. We are spending plenty of time on land when we don't have a hire boat. We can see the sights of Llangollen some other time.
  14. first timer panic

    Hi everyone, I have booked a week's hire from the Chirk marina at the end of August for a family trip. We are a family of 4 visiting from Australia. We have never been in this area of Wales so have no idea what is there. I am starting to panic about how to go about planning the trip. Obviously we will need to take our supplies, but will presumably need to stock up during the journey - 2 kids aged 9 and 12 eat A LOT! and there must be limited space for storing fresh food on the boat. And without knowing what the weather will be like, it is impossible to estimate how far we will be able to travel, so how do I go about working out where we will be able to turn around etc. We plan to start at Chirk and head first to Llangollen, then turn around return through Chirk and go as far as we comfortably can towards Hurlestone before it is time to turn around. We plan to be mostly cruising rather than allowing stopping time to sight see in towns along the way. We are doing plenty of sightseeing on the rest our trip, this bit is all about being on the boat. But obviously we can't cruise all day and there will be a need to stop and find a supermarket at least once! I have tried using the canal planner here: http://canalplan.org.uk/ which is really helpful, but of course what happens if things don't go to plan? What if the weather is really wet and we can't cruise as much as we expect to? How do you plan for the unexpected? Can anyone give me some guidance as to what sort of planning I need to be doing and how to go about doing it? As we are already travelling, I am constantly on the go with planning our days and keeping up with school work for the kids, so I have limited time to devote to this and it is starting to freak me out. Any advice on crusing the Llangollen would be most gratefully received. Thanks Edited to add - we are currently staying in a house on the Stratford canal and have had a lot of practise opening and closing the locks here. Obviously this isn't the same as taking a boat through one, but is a little bit of experience under our belts, so we are keen to experience going through the locks. I understand that there are only 4 locks until after you pass Whitchurch, so we would like to get past Whitchurch if possible, even if this means turning around at Trevor (crossing the Pontcysyllte aqueduct is a must). We can visit Llangollen without the boat another time.