Trip Group : All Trips
- Canals 1977 - Warwick Ring
My first holiday on a canal boat was on "Tern", a camping boat converted from an old Willow Wren working boat.
- Canals 1978 - Warwick Ring
For my second canal trip we had 17 folks, so we had another camper "Sandpiper" and "Greylag" a cabin boat. Both were from Willow Wren at Rugby.
- Canals 1979 - T&M and Macclesfield
For my third canal holiday enthusiasm had grown such that three boats were needed for the 27 folks who came along. We had 2 cabin boats ("Beech" & "Cedar") from Willow Wren Kearns - which later became Middlewich Narrowboats - and Fred borrowed a steam boat made out of steel plate reinforced by S&T channel rodding.
- Canals 1980 - 4 Counties Ring
For our 4th canal holiday it was decided to take 2 boats for 2 weeks from Rugby and to cruise the "Four Counties Ring", adding the Caldon canal and much of the Warwickshire Ring as well. Cabin boats Guillimot & Greylag were hired from Willow Wren.
- Canals 1981 - Cheshire Ring
By 1981 the popularity of boating had become such that no fewer than 6 boats with over 50 participants toured the "Cheshire Ring". The weather was poor and I did not take that many pictures, however the holiday was memorable for all 6 boats' crews crammed into the "Newton Brewery" pub in Middlewich on the last night.
- Canals 1981 - BCN
A cheap off-season hire of Brummagem Boats' "Kleo" took in as much of the BCN as we could manage. Netherton Tunnel was closed and Dudley Tunnel too small, so we went the long way round to Kidderminster and back, followed by a trip right to the end of the Ridgeacre Branch, now severed by the Black Country Route at Swan Village.
- Canals 1982 - 4 Counties Ring
By 1982 the canal bug had begun to bite, and we managed 3 holidays totalling 4 weeks in all. The first one was in March when we took a Brummagem boat round the Four Counties Ring. This was Helen's first canal trip, and Norah came along as well.
- Canals 1982 - The Big Ring
Many month's planning went into this one, and we hired two 50' boats from Middlewich to do the Big Ring via the Leeds & Liverpool and back up the River Trent and T&M. The calculations showed that with around 9 or 10 hours' cruising, we should make it easily. However, a couple of weeks before we set off, Preston Brook Tunnel collapsed and we had to start out via the Macclesfield and Rochdale canals. With a severe water shortage, we repeatedly found ourselves missing lock opening times, such that it was the Wednesday of the first week before we reached the Leigh branch of the Leeds & Liverpool. Barton Swing Aqueduct then shut for its 2 week maintenance, so we were obliged to carry on round. This we did, and even had half a day to spare for a run up the Leek branch of the Caldon. Not a trip I would repeat as we were setting off at 06.00 and not stopping until 21.00, often without a lunch break.
- Canals 1982 - BCN
A second Autumn trip, taking a Brummagem boat to Worcester andt then back for a couple of days on the BCN.
- Canals 1984 - 4 Counties Ring
After my marriage in June 1984, canal holidays became less frequent as Helen was none too keen, especially with some of the other participants. However, one that was taken was an out-and-back trip from Middlewich to Wolverhampton via the Shropshire Union Canal, along with a loop via Stewpony, Brierley Hill and the New Main Line. This trip is most memorable for the boat getting hung-up on the cill of the top lock at Audlem (I was ahead lock-wheeling so failed to supervise correctly) and bending the skeg and rudder.
- Canals 1985 - Leicester Ring
I managed to persuade Helen to come with the lads on a Spring tour of the Leicester Ring, where we went anti-clockwise hiring "Guillemot" from Willow Wren, Rugby.
- Canals 1987 - Stourport Ring
With Helen 6 months pregnant with David, we spent a week with Mother and Helen's brother Allan hiring "Beauty" from Brummagem Boats.
- Canals 1990 - Ireland G Canal
After many years trying, we finally made it to Ireland, hiring "Celtic Queen" from Tullamore. Unfortunately, all I had was a mini-Instamatic camera, and the pictures are very poor.
- Canals 1991 - Ireland G Canal
We returned to Ireland in 1991 doing a similar route to 1990, but making it as far as Portobello at the top of the locks down to Ringsend in Dublin. After returning to Tullamore we took a bus & train trip to Limerick before returning to England. I apologise for the poor quality of the photographs, which were scanned direct from the negatives: if I can locate the prints, I shall re-scan them.
- Canals 1992 - Leicester & 4 Co
The first of what has become an annual 2-week cruise each October saw us hiring "Oak" from Middlewich for a figure-8 tour via the T&M to Fradley Jn, then via Fazeley & Braunston before turning north along the Leicester Arm of the GU. After doing the Erewash Canal, we returned via Gt Haywood and the Shropshire Union.
- Canals 1993 - Ireland G Canal
Another spring visit to Ireland, this time getting as far as Bagenalstown on the River Barrow.
- Canals 1993 - 4 Co & Caldon
For the 1993 2-week tour we again hired "Oak" from Middlewich for a cruise that started round the "Cheshire Ring" and visited Froghall before continuing south to Wolverhampton, then via the "Twirley Wyrley" to Anglesea Basin before returning north on the Shroppie.
- Canals 1994 - Ireland G Canal
A memorable canal holiday, including a run down the Circle Line of the Grand Canal into Ringsend basin and a spectacular failure on the Barrow 2 miles from the nearest road. On leaving Borris Lock the boat rode over a submerged rock and the engine air-locked. After we had got the boat into the bank, we then had to walk the 2+ miles through the woods to Borris to find a pub and phone. It was raining, and Borris is on the top of a long hill, with all the pubs around the church at the top.
- Canals 1995 - Sharpness
For the 1995 canal holiday we returned to Middlewich Boats and hired "Oak" and "Sycamore" for another fortnight. This time we went all the way down to Sharpness via the Staffs & Worcs, returning via The River Avon and Stratford. This trip was notable for Peter Baxter-Ludlow (PBL) bringing along a Belgian acquaintance he had met earlier that year in Nepal. This gentleman had taken Peter's farewell comment "If you are ever in England, do come and look me up." literally and turned up on his doorstep shortly before he (Peter) was leaving to join us in Evesham. Unfortunately the delights of Sparkbrook and Bilston proved too much for him to comprehend, and he was always referred to as "The Bemused Belgian".
- Canals 1996 - Ireland S-Erne
The 1996 canal holiday was perhaps our most ambitious ever (possibly other than the 1982 "Big Ring" tour). We hired from Tullamore and took 2 9'-beam boats up the Shannon and across to Lough Erne and Enniskillen.
- Canals 1997 - 4 Co & Ashby
Back to Middlewich for this holiday, and the last trip with "Oak" and "Sycamore". Notable for being Denise's first canal holiday, in the company of Adrian's tug "Splendid", we went via the T&M and Coventry canals and up the Ashby cut. We returned via Braunston and Birmingham. We suffered two major breakdowns with "Sycamore", re-christening her "Sickagain", which rather spoilt what was otherwise a very enjoyable holiday.
- Canals 1998 - Boston
In 1998 we took 2 boats from Shire Cruisers from Sowerby Bridge (Halifax) to Boston, passing near to New York on the way!
- Canals 1999 - Ireland G Canal
Ireland beckoned again, and we took "Celtic Queen" out for the last time, right down to St Mullins and across to Shannon Harbour. Notable for wall-to-wall sunshine, this has so far been our last trip to Ireland.
- 1999 Bishops Castle Beer Fest
The first of many annual visits to the Bishop's Castle Beer Festival took place in 1999, using an old Daimler half-cab from the 1940s.
- Mainline with GWR set Nov 1976
In 1976 it was arranged for the SVR's set of GWR coaches to run through to Paddington from Bridgnorth via Bristol and Swindon.