Tips for cruising on a narrowboat

This is the stub of a post I planned last year and never finished! It includes some useful links for canal maps.

Tips for cruising on a narrowboat
That's me cruising on our narrowboat Smok in 2017

Canal time should always be relaxed and unhurried. You default speed should be LESS THAN WALKING PACE! Maybe a little more on open water, but a little less when passing moored boats. Most people soon adjust to this pace of life, so before long you’ll be laughing scornfully at the cars you see hurtling over the motorway bridges.

Your cruising options will depend on the width and length of your boat. The canals frequently undergo both scheduled and unplanned repairs and maintenance, such as lock repairs and clearing fallen trees, so you should make a habit of checking for stoppages along your route, and sign up for alerts. The majority of planned works take place during the winter, so it is always important to check that you can get back to your home mooring before it’s too late!

Your first decision when planning a cruise is whether to go out and back, or round in a ‘ring’. Ring routes are very popular, as you don’t have to revisit the same canal on the way back, but do be careful not to overstretch yourself with too large a ring in the time available. There are many useful resources for planning a route. Look out for:

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