Monday, 23 December 2019

A Summary of Our 2019 Cruising

We have been back in Australia for over six weeks now and thought it was time to round things up for the year with a summary of our cruising season.

I must say that we avoided going into Birmingham for the last five years and because we have cruised on most of the rivers and canals in England thought it was time to give it a go. And, I can say that Rachael and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it, even if we did have to have River Canal Rescue come out and replace or alternator. Good time to put in a good word for RCR, we called them out for the first time in six years this season, turned out to be twice for two different problems, both times they were quick to get to the boat and quick to sort the problem. It turned out to be four days with the breakdown time but there was plenty to do.

Cruising through Birningham
 My tip for a trip into Birmingham and probably for any big city is set yourself up so you don't have to moor in the outer suburbs, early start and early finish on your last day going into the city and the same going out.

The quietest and most picturesque canal on our trip this year would have to be the Caldon Canal. If you read the blog on this part of the trip you would have read that we couldn't get on to the river section to get all the way to Froghall but even so the trip was well worth it.

Moored at Cheddleton

R. Churnet in flood
The most disappointing part of the trip this year was the run on the Grand Union Canal probably from Rickmansworth to Paddington Basin and back. There are just too many moored boats, fortunately we had a booked mooring in Little Venice, the only way I would plan on going into London.  It doesn't help when there are very few, if any, short term moorings (48 hour) from Rickmansworth onwards to London. I'm not sure why this area is different to the rest of the canal network.

Just a few statistics drawn from Canal Plan AC, they are all approximate but here they are:

530 miles traveled, made up of  245 miles on narrow canals:
Trent and Mersey
Grand Union (Aylesbury Branch)

228 miles on broad canals:
Grand Union

58 miles on rivers
R Avon
R Severn

A total of 498 locks, 252 narrow locks, 245 broad locks and a large lock (river lock) and included 15 tunnels varying in length from 57 yards (Curdworth) to 3056 yards (Blisworth) for a total of just over eight miles underground, one major aqueduct, Edstone Aqueduct on the Stratford Canal and 19 lift/swing bridges.

Serafina has been winterised and 'tucked' away for the winter at our marina in the midlands until next season. While we are away I have organised for her to have a mandatory BSS (Boat Safety Scheme) check, another four years has passed rather quickly.

Our cruising plan for next season has been drafted and includes the final 'wonder of the canal world' to complete the set, the Standedge Tunnel on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. I'm gearing up for shallow pounds (strip of water between locks) and lots of locks.

Back home in Australia we've already experienced our first 44°C day, I'm sure there will be several more before the summer is over.


  1. We were able to find visitor moorings at Cow Peachy Junction, Bull's Bridge Junction and beside the park just beyond Willowtree Marina. After that you had to be well up the River Lee.

    My assumption is CRT don't want to add more visitor moorings as it will likely just encourage more London continuous moorers?

  2. Hi Tom,

    We did manage to find moorings at most places we needed to stop, there were two boats both 57 footers, so we breasted up each time. My point is really why are prime moorings from Rickmansworth and on to London 14 day moorings and not like most of the other prime moorings throughout the system? There was no shortage of CRT enforcement officers around these areas, we had our licence number taken on three occasions, that I know of, from Rickmansworth to Little Venice and back. Bull's Bridge is usually not a problem on the 48 hour side, although there was a continuous moorer that had taken up residence there when we were going down and was still there when we arrived back over a week later!

    I suppose the bottom line is that it is a constant battle for CRT to keep the boats moving around London. Perhaps they are winning with the problem pushing out as far as Rickmansworth, thus pushing boats further away from London. Although, there are still big numbers of new boats being licenced, particularly wide beams. I did hear that the wide-beams are popular with immigrants that are unable to get a housing loan but can get a personal loan, but that maybe just boater chatter!

    Nevertheless, I think for us that the area is best avoided for now while CRT battle on.

    All the best for now and Happy New Year to you and Jan.