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Canals, & Waterways

How long will it take & how far can I go?

These  must be two of the many questions asked when first deciding to have a boating holiday.

There is plenty of information to help you to make your decision and most hire companies do have routes with approximate times in their brochures.

However It is possible that the trip you want to make may not be one that is detailed in the brochure and so you will need to sort the times out yourself. You will find that boaters each have their own preferences and it is up to you to decide which you prefer.

This is my preferred option and my own answer to this is an Excel spreadsheet with information taken off a Canal Route Planner that I have, partly shown below

There are three sets of orange numbers between each black marker for example Barbridge Junction to Middlewich 10-4-4, 10 distance in miles, 4 number of locks, 4 (hours) approximate time needed. The black number 33 above refers to the name of the waterway, it is not shown here but there is a full list on the planner.

You will notice on the planner various options have been highlighted, after deciding our proposed route I copy the information to an Excel spreadsheet as below formatting the sheet to total the three columns and divide the total hours by 13, for a 2 week Saturday to Saturday trip. This gives an average travelling time over 13 days building in some spare time. This schedule may seem excessive to some of you but our maxim has always been we want to travel the waterways and to see the surrounding areas, whilst we do visit places we pass along the way in reality most places are within a days drive anyway. If for any reason we want to change our route even along the way the spreadsheet recalculates automatically the changes that we have made. This only a guide and travel times each day can be increased/decreased as required.


I also find the following very useful:

Nicholson Waterway Guide/s - To include waterways for your trip,

Pearson Canal Companion/s -To include waterways for your trip.


Nicholson Ordnance Survey Inland Waterways Map of Great Britain.

Ordnance Survey Landranger Maps covering relevant area/s.


The main thing to remember is to make sure that you build in time for unexpected events, visits, hold-ups etc.

It is very important that you don’t overstretch yourself