A map of most of the UK canal system.
One of the hardest decisions about planning a canal trip to the UK is to settle on a particular area to explore. There is a map available that just shows the canals, and the extent of the canal system is quite surprising! The canals started being built in the late 1700’s to facilitate the transportation of heavy cargoes between ports and industrial centers. For us, the choice is slightly assisted by the location of our UK relatives, and we’ve only visited the Liverpool, Manchester, North Wales area as yet. You don’t travel very far in a day, however, you travel at an intimate level with the environment: rapturous birdsong, the scent of roses, glorious wild flowers, eyeball to eyeball with cows, industrial and domestic architecture, local pubs with excellent warm bitter –all can be enjoyed at leisure. We covered about 130 miles in 13 days of cruising!
Our canal choice the first year was settled by the desire to transit the Pontcysyllte Aquaduct in North Wales. This is a justly popular engineering marvel. Link
Crossing the Pontcysyllte aquaduct over the river Dee,126 feet above the valley floor. Still super cool, even in 2015!
This year we found a circular route known as the Four Counties Ring that looked appealing and also had the possibility of using the Anderton Boat Lift to lower us down to the River Weaver, 50 feet below the Trent and Mersey canal.
Anderton Boat Lift from the canal
Anderton Boat Lift- down and sailing onto the River Weaver
The recently restored Anderton Boat Lift from the river
The next stage of planning is to find an available boat. There are many narrowboat rental companies on the internet. We have used Black Prince twice now, and have been very happy with their boats. More on our trip in the next bucolic installment!
I’m heading to Tancook island today; I’m taking the “Artisan Bread in Minutes” Craftsy class with me. This is a great method for making bread with very little work! Zoe’s recipes are easy, and there’s nothing like taking fresh-baked bread with you when you visit friends. Try the class with a discount through my Affliliate Link