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Posted: Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:31pm

Post Subject: First Timer

Hi, 4 couples are looking to do our first narrow boat weekend trip. We are based in Essex and are looking for advice on where to do our first trip. Please advise where is good, Coventry, Birmingham??? Thank you.


Posted: Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:59am

Post Subject: First Timer

Anywhere on the canal system is good - even the Chelmer navigation if there is still a hire fleet there (but they did only have small boats so no good to you). I fear that unless south of Birmingham gets an incredible amount of rain over the next month or so navigation south of Braunston/Rugby is likely to be restricted or even closed this summer so I would suggest that you should look further north or a relatively lock free route. This suggests a hire boat from the Rugby area, or on the Ashby Canal because you will get long cruising with either none or only one lock. If you would be willing to accept a POSSIBLE restriction on one flight of three locks then fleets in the Braunston/Napton/Tomlow area become available. All of these options give a weeks cruising on the North Oxford, a short length of the Coventry and the lock free Ashby canals. Personally I would avoid Birmingham this year because it is the summit level with all routes leading DOWN lock flights and just to add to the problems they had to drain a reservoir a couple of years ago and I do not think it is yet full again. I understand the water levels are far better the further north you go. Tony Brooks

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