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Mick in Bangkok

looking to try canal boating

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Hi everyone,

New to this form and to canal boating but considering a holiday next summer , July to September time for a couple of weeks with family and hoping to pick up some basic tips on where to get started.

What area to cruse is my first consideration, are there any particular areas that stand out? I have an Uncle in Hereford and would prefer to stay south, in the Midlands but the main consideration would be what areas have most to offer, has Wales many viable canals, any suggestions?

Thanks for any feedback.

Mick

 

 

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Timx    23

Have a look at latelink their site shows lots of the various bases

 

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mrsmelly Contributor    1,147
1 hour ago, Mick in Bangkok said:

Hi everyone,

New to this form and to canal boating but considering a holiday next summer , July to September time for a couple of weeks with family and hoping to pick up some basic tips on where to get started.

What area to cruse is my first consideration, are there any particular areas that stand out? I have an Uncle in Hereford and would prefer to stay south, in the Midlands but the main consideration would be what areas have most to offer, has Wales many viable canals, any suggestions?

Thanks for any feedback.

Mick

 

 

I would suggest avoiding school holidays like the plague. The end of September of those dates you show would get you a better deal and the canal system will be much nicer place to be. If at all possible the only thing to do with a boat during school holidays is to tie it up for the duration. Most areas are enjoyable just look at the system with regards to locks etc to see how much work you want to do,

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OldGoat    139

To get the best results you need / it would be nice if you first decided (in very general terms) whether:-

  • You prefer to cruise in pleasant countryside, or
  • boating through towns, or
  • a mix of both

The central area "around Birmingham" has quite a number of routes and side routes to chose from.

My nicest canal company have ceased to hire boats 'long since' but the outfit next door to Mrsmelly are an excellent substitute worthy successor to them as well as having a great first route (the Oxford) and in two weeks you could include a visit to Birmingham as well.

I'm a soft southerner and the thought of Brum by road fills me with horror, but by canal it's quite different.

Get yourself a map of the system (there's some on the Cart site) then visit Canal plan -

https://canalplan.org.uk/index.html

where you can explore routes and do a virtual tour with photos.

 

 

Edited by OldGoat

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Tawny75 Contributor    11

We have hired twice this year and both bases/companies have been lovely.  In March we hired with ABC from Worcester and in June we hired with Starline from Stourport.  I think if I was forced to pick the best I would say Starline, everything was really nice and easy from the booking right down to the handover of the boat.

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bearBOATING    0

When we were just starting out I found this website a great resource for researching the canals and all the hire bases.

http://www.canaljunction.com/

 

There is also a Facebook group called Get Afloat which is all about boat hire and loads of people on there will also help with advice.

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westwd    1

In terms of when to cruise, we only ever cruise during school holidays. No need to avoid them. The canal towpaths are not lined with raggamuffins intent on making off with your brightwork, nor are the canals filled with families cruising. The canals are pretty empty in the holidays perhaps because all the childless boaters give them a miss, maybe austerity has hit, who knows. I've only found two queues in the last 5 years of boating. (each delayed by about 30mins) in the summer holidays and not had a problem mooring. School holiday boating is not a problem.

  • Greenie 1

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mrsmelly Contributor    1,147
1 hour ago, westwd said:

In terms of when to cruise, we only ever cruise during school holidays. No need to avoid them. The canal towpaths are not lined with raggamuffins intent on making off with your brightwork, nor are the canals filled with families cruising. The canals are pretty empty in the holidays perhaps because all the childless boaters give them a miss, maybe austerity has hit, who knows. I've only found two queues in the last 5 years of boating. (each delayed by about 30mins) in the summer holidays and not had a problem mooring. School holiday boating is not a problem.

I sugest that you try cruising in November or January/february then avoiding any school holidays. Where I moor the entire hire fleet is out today ( 20 boats ) and 3ish of the few long term moorers are also out and about in those months they will all be moored up and we will be boating...absolutely fab.

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MrBeethoven    10
1 hour ago, westwd said:

In terms of when to cruise, we only ever cruise during school holidays. No need to avoid them. The canal towpaths are not lined with raggamuffins intent on making off with your brightwork, nor are the canals filled with families cruising. The canals are pretty empty in the holidays perhaps because all the childless boaters give them a miss, maybe austerity has hit, who knows. I've only found two queues in the last 5 years of boating. (each delayed by about 30mins) in the summer holidays and not had a problem mooring. School holiday boating is not a problem.

Didn't look very empty when I went through Cropredy yesterday!

OK, OK, special case. 

On the other hand the Oxford canal generally, and especially Napton to Braunston, is hardly quiet at this time of year. Surely it depends on where you are.

 

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john6767    89
1 minute ago, MrBeethoven said:

Didn't look very empty when I went through Cropredy yesterday!

OK, OK, special case. 

On the other hand the Oxford canal generally, and especially Napton to Braunston, is hardly quiet at this time of year. Surely it depends on where you are.

 

Not exactly quiet at any time of year.

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MrBeethoven    10
2 minutes ago, john6767 said:

Not exactly quiet at any time of year.

True. All things are relative though.

It's a helluva lot quieter on spring and autumn school days, for example than it is during the summer hols.

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mrsmelly Contributor    1,147
5 minutes ago, MrBeethoven said:

True. All things are relative though.

It's a helluva lot quieter on spring and autumn school days, for example than it is during the summer hols.

Absolutely true. I was having a business chat yesterday with my mate who owns the fleet here and  others and why do we think boats are vastly more expensive during this school holidays than other times of year?

Edited by mrsmelly

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westwd    1

I don't disagree but I'm still not convinced that "avoid like the plague" is necessarily sound planning advice. Cheshire ring, Avon ring, Warwickshire ring, Leicester ring all done in the last 4 summer holidays with no tangible detriment to cruising enjoyment.  

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mrsmelly Contributor    1,147
4 minutes ago, westwd said:

I don't disagree but I'm still not convinced that "avoid like the plague" is necessarily sound planning advice. Cheshire ring, Avon ring, Warwickshire ring, Leicester ring all done in the last 4 summer holidays with no tangible detriment to cruising enjoyment.  

" avoid like the plague " isn't meant to be sound planning advice, just sound advice!! I come into contact daily with children and their parents with " Modern parenting skills " oh dear oh dear. Trust me winter cruising is vastly better and September is not a dead month but a better month than august to cruise. It is cheaper to hire and there is more availability so given the ops original post September make sense for them.

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Thank you for all the input, my first choice of location would to travel the Grand Union South as this is closest to St. Albans where I have family but location is not the most essential consideration.

My son who will join us is at University, similar I think but not the same as school holidays has a break at Easter and summer mid-July to late September so restricted somewhat with timing.

Weather wise I have not lived in UK for thirty years but believe that late September should be a comfortable temperature; however I am open to your advice on this.

A particular concern I do have regarding temperature and I am sure that this will be cause for debate is the type of boat I get for this time of year, my preference is the Trad stern but as my parents will be along and my sons girlfriend so I am considering a cruiser stern to accommodate the numbers, however late September may be a bit chilly as we would be on the move on as daily basis.

Cheers Mick

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LEO    44

Hi,

Sounds as if Wyvern at Leighton Buzzard would serve your needs best.

L.

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Before advising the OP to 'avoid the School holidays' I suppose we need to know what he meant when he said,"...July to September time for a couple of weeks with family....". Given the current school rulings about taking kids out of school outside of holidays perhaps he doesn't have any choice (July to start of September would roughly equate to the time of school holidays).

In our early boating days we took our kids on the canals, never remember having much of an issue, and that would have been during school holidays.

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Philip    6

September is a very busy month, at least the first half of it, a lot of people avoid the summer holidays so go cruising once the schools are back and the days are still fairly long and warm, so it's a popular time to go. Early-mid October is a nice time to go; things have quietened down a bit usually, the daylight is still a reasonable length and you often get some pleasant weather around the time.

Edited by Philip

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arbutus    8

Anglo Welsh have some hire boats that have a solid fuel stove. There is even a tick box on their availability checker to just show boats with a SF stove. If the weather does turn wet or cold a stove makes the whole boating experience much more pleasant. Just make sure that there is enough coal, kindling, fire lighters and matches loaded at the beginning of the holiday to last the whole of the hire period.  

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I think the "Avoid School Holidays" is a bit of off. we have two school aged children and so travel mainly during holidays and after three weeks in which we have covered the Peak Forest, Macc T&M Birmingham anf Fazeley, Stratford canal and the Avon. We have not had to queue once, met loads of nice people, and always moored where we wanted to, including popular places like Stone, and Fradley Junction. These days the demographic of boaters is more of the retired type who move when the schools are back and don't tend to move far or want to stop all the time in towns, preferring the quiet countryside for lots of the time.

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