Got to thinking about where we’ve travelled on the boat during 2016. My memory is somewhat rough, but fortunately we have the blog posts to fall back on.
The year started in Chester, after spending Christmas on the Llangollen Canal. From there we cruised around to Middlewich and then up Heartbreak Hill to Stoke on Trent. Around the middle of February our youngest son joined us and we headed back down Heartbreak Hill to Middlewich and then down the Anderton Boat Lift and onto the River Weaver. Interestingly, February was the only month in which we experienced snow during the year.
By the beginning of March we were on the Bridgewater Canal. This time we managed to complete the Runcorn Arm before moving on to Wigan. In April I did something I’d always wanted to do, walking part of Hadrian’s Wall. Time was also spent in Scotland and touring Ireland. The middle of the month saw us completing the Liverpool Link and having an interesting time looking around the city. We then retraced our route to reach Manchester and went up the Rochdale Canal for our booked passage through Standedge Tunnel on 6 May. That would be one of our more memorable experiences!
The remainder of May saw us cruising down the Huddersfield, Calder & Hebble, Aire & Calder and finally the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation to arrive in Sheffield.
By the end of the first week of June we were at Keadby ready to head upstream on the River Trent. We spent almost two weeks on the Chesterfield Canal which was both lovely and peaceful. Then we continued on to Torksey, leaving the Trent to visit Lincoln. The end of June saw us at Newark. A replacement flue for the diesel stove was purchased at Shadlow and by early July we were back on skinny canals.
Our youngest son left us at Burton on Trent whilst we continued on to Fradley Junction. This provided an opportunity to visit the National Arboretum. We continued down the Coventry and Oxford Canals to reach Rugby at the end of the month where I was able to top up my medication and have the annual dental check.
In August we reversed direction, heading back north to complete the Ashby Canal before returning to Rugby where Jan stayed with Waiouru whilst I visited Belgium, Luxembourg and France. By the beginning of September we had reached Warwick stopping in the Saltisford Arm for a couple of days resting before tackling the Hatton Flight. We continued north to Kingswood Junction and then turned south down the South Stratford Canal to visit Stratford upon Avon.
After purchasing a one week River Avon licence we headed down the river to Tewkesbury and then onto the River Severn, which at the time was running rather fast. The rest of the month saw us visit Gloucester and Sharpness before heading back up the Severn visiting Worcester and Stourport. By the end of the month we had moved up the Staffs & Worcs and onto the Shroppie.
We completed the Four Counties Ring during the month continuing south at Great Haywood arriving back in Fradley on the 26th. We’d only been here four months earlier! By the end of the month we were in Tamworth and seriously thinking about where on the network we would spend winter. The decision was the greater Birmingham area where we hadn’t previously cruised the Perry Barr section of the Tame Valley Canal or the Walsall Canal. We won’t be doing the latter unless we follow a group of other boaters who are prepared to cut a channel for us through the shallow sections.
It’s been an interesting and enjoyable year.
We wish all our readers a Happy New Year and thank you for coming on the journey!