The most reliable canal to cruise

Published: Thursday, 21 July 2022

IT WAS some five years ago that my partner and I decided that two weeks' holidays a year did not warrant purchasing our own (very expensive) narrowboat, writes Elena Powell.

So Ted and I went for hiring for our separate two weeks cruising and discovered the ups and downs of it all by having a 'taster' of many canals, discovering that one is by far the most reliable, and not only by our own experience of two cruises but by what others tell us.

aqueduct litThe worst by far

The worst by far were those up north, with our struggling on the Rochdale Canal, the Huddersfield Narrow Canal (had to be rescued) and worse of all the Leeds & Liverpool Canal were we finished up doing a 12 hours and 14 hours to make up for lost time, being held up by it being closed for one reason or another.

Twice now (one just ended) we have cruised the Llangollen Canal without a single hiccup and no hold-ups whatsoever except for the sheer number of boats obviously also realising its merits.

Speaking to people it seems that it supplies water to a reservoir that means it gets good maintenance (no, I'm not going to go on about this on the others!) and it is kept open and working.

llangollen breach400Repaired in record time

I learnt that even when there was a break in its banks, pumps were quickly installed and the break repaired in record time.

With the exception of the aqueduct, compared to the northern canals over the Pennines it is rather boring, but at least you can keep cruising, with only one little niggle (that we soon mastered) of the rush of water around the locks that is obviously feeding the reservoir and tends to bounce you about a bit.

But highly recommended.