From Birmingham to London by Canal

Old Apr 2nd, 2021, 04:35 PM
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From Birmingham to London by Canal

Happened on a tv show taking place in Birmingham and the intro's description of its big canal system was intriguing. Googling suggests that one can get from Birmingham to London by canal. Is this true? Has anyone done it?
Sign me Dreaming of a Trip!
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Old Apr 2nd, 2021, 05:07 PM
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IMO this site is more confusing than needs be but it will certainly get you started

https://www.waterways.org.uk/waterwa...hoChEAQAvD_BwE
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Old Apr 2nd, 2021, 05:59 PM
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Thanks, janisj. Have you traveled these canals?
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Old Apr 2nd, 2021, 07:01 PM
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I've only done narrow boat day trips or lunch cruises. My ex and I (and our Scottie and Airedale) did rent cabin cruisers to travel from Oxfordshire into Greater London a couple of times -- five days once and a full week the second time. These trips weren't on narrowboats/barges but transiting the locks, mooring in riverside towns and sleeping on board made it similar.

One voyage I've always wanted to do is the Caledonian Canal.

There are hotel narrowboats that might be fun - all the fun/scenery, none of the work
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Old Apr 2nd, 2021, 11:45 PM
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I've not done London to Birmingham, but a long time ago I went with some friends from Skipton to Leeds, which was quite fun.

There are lots of different routes, many more scenic than London to Birmingham, but at 4mph you're going to need at lot of time to see much.

For some armchair travel, and to give you some ideas, search YouTube for "great canal journeys".
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Old Apr 3rd, 2021, 01:20 AM
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It would take quite a long time, and afaik most if not all canal boat companies insist you return the boat to the original location which would double it.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2021, 01:53 AM
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The majority of the canals in England, Scotland & Wales are run and looked after by the the Canal and River Trust. They dredge, replace lock gates and maintain the banks.

https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy...-river-network

Their website is very helpful and you can see from the map that the Grand Union Canal is the one that runs from Birmingham to London. Although we've never stayed overnight on a narrowboat, we've had lots of day trips over the years. These were mostly on different stretches of the Leeds/Liverpool and the lockless Lancaster Canal.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2021, 02:25 AM
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Patrick, I've done the Shipley to Keighley and beyond section which given how close it is to Keighley is a real beauty. Because they were the motorways of their day they have access to Pubs and restaurants.

There are some basic rules you have to learn but if you have the time not a bad holiday though the weather can be British.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2021, 03:59 AM
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Originally Posted by bilboburgler View Post
There are some basic rules you have to learn
And how. I remember waking up one morning to find some other fool had left a sluice open and partially drained the section of canal we were on. Eating breakfast at an angle was interesting. As was trying to work out how best to manage filling locks on an ascending flight: but at least we never caught the boat on a cill.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2021, 11:22 AM
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Thanks, All, for interesting information. Getting stuck on a cill looks like "fun" Patrick.
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Old Apr 3rd, 2021, 11:37 AM
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Narrow boats can be so long -- 60-70 feet-ish I'd be scared spitless maneuvering through some locks and getting caught on a cill or interfering with other boats. IIRC, the four & five berth cabin cruisers we rented were 30-40 feet and really easy getting into the locks and tying up . . . even with a very rambunctious Scottie getting his nose into everything. All the jobs were doable by either of us and not once did I have to pull the 'ooh, I'm a helpless girl' card

Narrow boats definitely do have more charm and 'wow' factor though.
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Old Apr 4th, 2021, 02:12 AM
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Because we live within a couple of miles of the Leeds/Liverpool, day trips are an excellent diversion for a nice day out. We've been in both directions from Skipton, as far as Barrowford Locks one way and Bingley Five Rise in the other. Both are good day trips and avoid having to go through locks, as well as lots of good pubs to choose from in normal times.

It's a very sedate form of travel and I'm not sure how long it might take to get to London from Birmingham. The connectivity of the central canal system means that you could go from much further north to London if you had the time.
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Old Apr 4th, 2021, 12:04 PM
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We used to have a house on the canal in Brindleyplace right in the centre of Birmingham. One of our neighbours had her narrowboat moored outside. Each summer she would take it down to London and back. From memory she was usually away for 5 weeks or so. No mean feat as she was sailing solo and was into her seventies. The distance is only around 120 miles but speeds are slow (about walking pace) and there are well over 100 locks to contend with. Over the years we have lived in a number of places along the route of the canal and indeed now are not far from the Regents Canal which the Grand Union joins up with in North London. There some interesting places and some pretty grim areas along the way. I don think I would entertain doing the whole trip but a few of the sections would be good fun, especially if you like canal-side English pubs of which there are many fine examples along the way
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Old Apr 5th, 2021, 02:45 AM
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Was it this occasion, Patrick? Boater accidentally drains Kennet and Avon Canal - BBC News
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Old Apr 5th, 2021, 08:58 AM
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No, we were up north. Clearly it's not uncommon. It just means everyone has to wait for the water levels to fill up again.
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Old Apr 5th, 2021, 11:08 AM
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Senior moment but anyone read the Dick Francis that started out with a boat ride on a canal?
Such travel sounds like a really fun trip.
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Old Apr 5th, 2021, 03:42 PM
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It's very slow. When we did it when I was a child I spent most of the holiday reading.

My brother has done a couple, and was planning on the Caledonian last year before Covid struck
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Old Apr 7th, 2021, 02:37 AM
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It is very slow. As Patrick mentioned above the speed limit is 4 mph plus swing bridges etc adding time on to the travelling time. We took around 7 hours from Skipton to Bingley and return, including a lunch stop in Steeton and then 25 minutes to drive home from Skipton.
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