Allan and Debbie's Canal Trips

December 2016

I'm putting together the accounts of all our canal trips. Have a look, you should find something to interest you - and keep looking, as I'll be adding more pictures both new and old.

After all our problems on our 2015 trip, and after a few years of unreliability before our engine, gearbox, and stern-gear were replaced, we were very much looking forward to a trouble-free trip in 2016 with our new dog Jessop on board. We had a superb summer, travelling to Banbury, Gloucester, Macclesfield, Llangollen, and Newark in glorious weather; the whole journey was totally trouble-free until the end of the trip when disaster struck yet again and the boat had to go into dry-dock for urgent, major repairs.

To help you find your way around this site as it continues to grow, as well as the comprehensive index you will now see a navigation bar at the top of this page as well as on our home page. You can click directly on to any of the 6 headings as well as on any of the sub-menus that drop down automatically from them. This navigation bar should help you to find any one of our journeys, as well as taking you directly to many of the more spectacular places that we have visited.

All the pages are packed with pictures; I hope you enjoy them. The pictures are shown as thumbnails to help the pages load quickly, but clicking on any picture will bring up a larger version. Don't forget that the top and bottom of every page also includes a link to a slideshow of that page's pictures on my Flickr site (although the slideshow may not work if you are using a tablet  or smartphone). The photos are all available at higher resolution so e-mail me if you'd like any of them sent to you or if you'd just like to get in touch.

You can still look below for the list of all our recent trips, as well as some reminiscences of boating in the 1940s, of the River Shannon and the Norfolk Broads in the 1960/70's, of the canals in the 1970's, and all our trips on Thistle from 1987-1991 including our spooky encounter with the Kidsgrove Boggart at Harecastle.

After many years of hiring since the 1960's we bought "Thistle", an old Harborough hire-boat with a highly varied and highly chequered history. She had been declared to be a sunken ship, then when she really did sink she was lifted up and cut in half. Now you can read her fascinating story for yourself. We loved her dearly, and in four years she took us all over the country, including trips to Llangollen, London, Lechlade, Leicester, and across the Leeds & Liverpool canal as well as plenty of places that don't begin with a letter "L" such as Chester, Stratford-on-Avon, and the Curly-Wyrley around Birmingham. Now she has a new lease of life, having been beautifully restored.

In 1991 we commissioned Stoke-on-Trent Boat Building to build our new boat 'Keeping Up': steelwork, woodwork, fittings, the lot (except the curtains. Stoke-on-Trent didn't do curtains). You can read all about her construction and see the pictures that  we took at every stage of the work. She is 67 ft long, built of top-quality steel with a half-inch thick base plate, and painted the same distinctive red-and-black design that 'Thistle' had become so famous for. With a 42hp Duffields Perkins engine she performed magnificently until in 2014 the engine became too tired and was replaced with a new 43hp Beta Marine engine. and at the time of writing (2016) she has taken us more than 25,000 miles all over the country.

Picture of Keeping Up

The picture shows 'Keeping Up' on her home mooring at Milton Keynes, just south of our home at Milton Keynes. The National Waterways Festival was held at MK in 2001; I've captured some of the sights and sounds of the working boats for you to enjoy.

Here is a list of all our canal trips on Thistle and Keeping Up. We have a detailed log of all these, as well as our hire-boat holidays since 1980, and all the interesting ones will appear on this site eventually. There are plenty of pictures included, but please note that to save space and minimise download time, these have all been stored at a slightly reduced quality- if you would like a full-quality copy of any of the pictures - or if you have any other comments - please e-mail me.

Trips taken, by year:

2016 JESSOP's first trip

Milton Keynes - Aynho - Milton Keynes - Alvecote  - Gloucester - Great Haywood - Furness Vale - Middlewich -Llangollen - Autherley - Fradley - Newark - Fradley - Milton Keynes

2015 The AWARD-WINNING trip

Milton Keynes - Braunston  - Gloucester - Llangollen - Stourport - Macclesfield - Weaver - Trent - Chesterfield - Boston - Ashby - Peterborough - Northampton - Stoke-on-Trent - Milton Keynes

2014 The NEW ENGINE trip

Milton Keynes - Braunston - Stoke-on-Trent - Middlewich - Hurleston - Montgomery - Shroppie - Stourport - Gloucester - Tardebigge - Birmingham - Great Haywood - Erewash - Newark - Great Haywood - Fradley - Braunston - Milton Keynes

2014 The DRY-DOCK trip

Milton Keynes - Braunston - Aynho - Napton - Milton Keynes

2013 The THAMES AVON and SEVERN trip

Milton Keynes - Limehouse - Windsor - Kintbury - Reading - Lechlade - Windsor - Oxford - Warwick - Stratford - Gloucester - Birmingham - Ashby - Rugby - Milton Keynes

2013 The EAST MIDLANDS trips

Milton Keynes - Foxton - Market Harborough - Foxton - Milton Keynes - Rugby - Fazeley - Stoke on Trent - Caldon - Stoke on Trent - Newark - Lincoln - Nottingham - Foxton - Milton Keynes

2012 The NORTH and WEST MIDLANDS trip

Milton Keynes - Lapworth - Milton Keynes - Coventry - Stoke-on-Trent - Macclesfield - Peak Forest - Middlewich - Llangollen - Birmingham - Drayton Manor - Ashby - Rugby - Milton Keynes

2011 The BOSTON MANCHESTER and DROITWICH trip

Milton Keynes - Newark - South Kyme - Witham Navigable Drains - Boston - Black Sluice Navigation - Manchester - Anderton - River Weaver - Manchester Ship Canal - Chester - Llangollen - Gloucester - Droitwich - Black Country Museum - Hawne Basin and Gosty Hill - Milton Keynes

2010 The NENE-OUSE-THAMES trip

Milton Keynes - Northampton - Peterborough - Middle Level - Denver and the Relief Channel - St. Ives - Bedford/Kempston - Rivers Lark, Little Ouse, and Wissey - Denver - Ramsey - Peterborough - Northampton - Braunston - Oxford - Lechlade - Brentford - Milton Keynes

2010 The DEVIZES trip

Milton Keynes - Limehouse - London - River Thames - Oxford - Reading - Newbury - Devizes - Newbury - Reading -  Oxford - Lechlade - Oxford - Braunston - Milton Keynes

2009 The PENNINES trip

Milton Keynes - Stratford on Avon - Gloucester - Macclesfield - Whaley Bridge - Huddersfield Narrow Canal - Standedge Tunnel - Rochdale Canal - Manchester - Wigan - River Weaver - Llangollen - Montgomery Canal - Birmingham - Wyrley & Essington Canal - Oxford - Milton Keynes

2008 The BOSTON & CHESTERFIELD trip

Milton Keynes - Leicester - Nottingham - Newark - Boston - Torksey - West Stockwith - Chesterfield Canal - Torksey - Newark - Nottingham - Fradley - Milton Keynes

2008 The LLANGOLLEN & GLOUCESTER trip

Milton Keynes - Great Haywood - Shroppie - Llangollen - Montgomery Canal - Shroppie - Stourport - Gloucester - Stourport - Birmingham - Milton Keynes

2008 Two early trips

February and March trips, to Yardley Gobion and Napton

2007 The AYLESBURY ARM trip

An autumn trip down to Aylesbury

2007 The BRUM & SHROPPIE trip

Milton Keynes - Hatton - Birmingham (heritage weekend) - Wolverhampton - High Offley - Great Haywood - Stone - Fazeley - Braunston - Market Harborough - Milton Keynes

2007 The LEEK & SHARPNESS trip

Milton Keynes - Leek - Froghall - Stourport - Gloucester - Sharpness - Tardebigge - Milton Keynes

2007 The BROKEN TOE trip

Milton Keynes - Thrupp - Ashby Canal - Milton Keynes

2007 The BLACK BOTTOM trip

Foxton - Hillmorton  towing Black Bottom Girl

2006 The BEALE PARK trip

Milton Keynes - Paddington - Brentford - Teddington - Reading - Newbury - Reading - Lechlade - Beale Park National Waterways Festival - Opening of Jubilee Junction - Oxford - Braunston - Stratford - Evesham - Stratford - Birmingham - Fazeley - Ashby - Milton Keynes

2006 The BOSTON trip

Milton Keynes - Leicester - Nottingham - Newark - Lincoln - Boston - Kyme Eau and the Witham Navigable Drains - Lincoln - Newark - Nottingham - Fradley - Ashby - Milton Keynes

2005 The ANDERTON trip

Anderton lift - River Weaver

2005 The AVON AND BIRMINGHAM trip

Stourbridge - Birmingham - BCM - Tardebigge - Worcester - Gloucester - Sharpness - Gloucester - Tewkesbury - Stratford-upon-Avon - Birmingham - Lapworth - Birmingham - Fazeley - Hawkesbury - Milton Keynes

2005 The CHESTER AND LLANGOLLEN trip

Milton Keynes - Ashby - Fradley - Stoke-on-Trent - Anderton - Middlewich - Chester - Barbridge - Llangollen - Monty - Autherley - Kidderminster - Stourbridge

2005 The WENDOVER ARM trip

The opening of the newly restored section of the Wendover arm at Little Tring by David Suchet

2005 The OXFORD trip

Milton Keynes - Braunston - Oxford - Braunston - Milton Keynes

2004 The BRISTOL trip

Milton Keynes - Braunston - Hawkesbury - Fradley - Great Haywood - Stourport - Gloucester - Bristol - Devizes - Reading - Hampton Court - Reading - Lechlade - Oxford - Braunston - Milton Keynes

2004 The FENS trip

Milton Keynes - Northampton - Peterborough - March - Denver - Ely - St. Ives - Godmanchester - Bedford/Kempston - Cambridge - Rivers Lark, Little Ouse, and Wissey - Denver - Ramsey - Peterborough - Northampton - Milton Keynes

2004 The TOWING trip

Milton Keynes - Braunston - Warwick - Lapworth - Birmingham. Towing Birmingham - Lapworth - Warwick - Braunston - Milton Keynes - Tring - Rickmansworth Return to Milton Keynes

2003 The THAMES & TRENT trip

Milton Keynes - Braunston - Oxford - Lechlade - Maidenhead - Oxford - Braunston - Hawkesbury - Market Bosworth - Fazeley - Fradley - Nottingham - Newark - Nottingham - Leicester - Market Harborough - Crick - Milton Keynes

2001/2003 AYLESBURY

Pictures of the 2001 ACS Party, the 2001 ACS boat-lift, and the 2003 ACS Party

2001 MILTON KEYNES IWA FESTIVAL

Pictures and sounds from the 2001 IWA National Waterways Festival at Milton Keynes

1996 The LEEK & CALDON trip

Crick - Foxton - Shardlow - Fradley - Great Haywood - Stoke-on-Trent - Caldon Canal - Froghall - Leek - Stone - Great Haywood - Autherley - Wolverhampton - Gas Street - Lapworth - Warwick - Braunston - Crick

1991/2 The MAIDEN VOYAGE

Stoke-on-Trent - Fradley - Fazeley - Spaghetti Junction - Ashted - Knowle - Warwick - Braunston - Crick - Milton Keynes

1991 The Building of KEEPING UP

Stoke on Trent Boat Building

1991 The LAST THISTLE trip

Milton Keynes - Braunston - Warwick - Lapworth - Stratford - Tewkesbury - Stourport - Autherley - Great Haywood - Stoke-on-Trent

1991 The NENE trip

Milton Keynes - Northampton - Cogenhoe - Northampton - Milton Keynes

1990 The LEEDS & LIVERPOOL trip

Milton Keynes - Braunston - Hawkesbury - Fradley - Nottingham - Newark - Keadby - Stainforth - Leeds - Skipton - Wigan - Worsley - Preston Brook - Middlewich - Stoke-on-Trent - Fradley - Hawkesbury - Braunston - Milton Keynes. Including a close encounter with Kit Crewbucket.

1990 The RICKMANSWORTH trip

Milton Keynes - Tring - Rickmansworth - Tring - Milton Keynes

1989 The LLANGOLLEN, CHESTER, & CURLEY WYRLEY trip

Milton Keynes - Braunston - Hawkesbury - Fazeley - Birmingham - Autherley - Hurleston - Llangollen - Hurleston - Chester - Autherley - Wolverhampton - Curly Wyrley - Spaghetti Junction - Fazeley - Hawkesbury - Braunston - Milton Keynes

1988 The KILBY BRIDGE trip

Milton Keynes - Crick - Foxton - Market Harborough - Kilby Bridge - Foxton - Crick - Milton Keynes

1988 The STOURPORT/BRIDGE trip

Milton Keynes - Braunston - Hawkesbury - Fradley - Great Haywood - Autherley - Stourport - Stourbridge - Hawne Basin - Dudley - Gas Street - Spaghetti Junction - Fazeley - Hawkesbury - Braunston - Milton Keynes

1988 The HEMEL trip

Milton Keynes - Tring - Hemel Hempstead - Tring - Milton Keynes

1988 The RUDDERLESS trip

Leighton Buzzard - Braunston - Warwick - Lapworth - Brummagem - Rudderless Lapworth - Warwick - Braunston- Milton Keynes

1987 The TROUT trip

Leighton Buzzard - Braunston - Oxford - Lechlade (trout at the Trout) - Oxford - Braunston - Leighton Buzzard

1987 The FIRST trip

Hawkesbury - Braunston - Milton Keynes - Aylesbury - Tring - Leighton Buzzard

1985 Dutch Barge Apolonia

Brentford - Leighton Buzzard - Brentford - Teddington

1976 HAWKWEED

Weedon - Braunston - Hawkesbury - Fradley - Nottingham - Leicester - Sawley - Fradley - Hawkesbury - Weedon

1974 MONMOUTH

Great Haywood - Fradley - Hawkesbury - Braunston - Warwick - Knowle - Spaghetti Junction - Fazeley - Fradley - Great Haywood

1972 CLEOPATRA

Leighton Buzzard - Crick - Foxton - Market Harborough - Foxton - Crick - Leighton Buzzard

1969 PANDORA

Leighton Buzzard - Crick - Foxton - Market Harborough - Foxton - Crick - Braunston - Warwick - Braunston - Leighton Buzzard.

1969-1991 The Story of THISTLE

Sunk as a ship, sunk as a restaurant, cut in half; what else can happen to her?

1966-1974 The Shannon and the Broads

A few pictures and some reminiscences of boating on the River Shannon and sailing on the Norfolk Broads

1948-1950 The Nene and Thames Estuary

No pictures but some fascinating trip reports from the late 1940s

 

Back to top of page

 

Not yet documented here:

2002 The LEICESTER trip

Milton Keynes - Braunston - Hawkesbury - Fradley - Sawley - Leicester - Market Harborough - Crick - Milton Keynes

2001 The WARWICK RING trip

Milton Keynes - Crick - Braunston - Warwick - Lapworth - Birmingham - Fazeley - Hawkesbury - Braunston - Milton Keynes

2000 The LLANGOLLEN & WORCESTER trip

Crick - Braunston - Hawkesbury - Fradley - Stoke-on-Trent - Middlewich - Hurleston - Llangollen - Montgomery - Nantwich - Autherley - Stourport - Worcester - Tardebigge - Gas Street - Lapworth - Warwick - Braunston - Crick

1999 The WALSALL trip

Crick - Braunston - Hawkesbury - Fazeley - Perry Barr - Curley Wyrley - Walsall - Stourbridge - Great Haywood - Fradley - Hawkesbury - Crick

1999 The LEE & STORT trip

Crick - Milton Keynes - Apsley - Regents Canal - Lee & Stort (Hertford & Bishops Stortford) - Limehouse - Brentford - Apsley - Milton Keynes - Crick

1998 The CHESTER trip

Crick - Braunston - Hawkesbury - Fradley - Great Haywood - Stoke-on-Trent - Middlewich - Chester - Nantwich - Autherley - Stourport - Worcester - Tardebigge - Gas Street - Lapworth - Warwick - Braunston - Crick

1998 The NEWARK trip

Crick - Foxton - Leicester - Nottingham - Newark - Nottingham - Fradley - Hawkesbury - Braunston- Crick

1997 The LEICESTER RING trip

Crick - Foxton - Leicester - Sawley - Fradley - Hawkesbury - Braunston - Crick

1997 The WEY trip

Crick - Napton - Aynho - Oxford - Lechlade - Reading - Shepperton - River Wey (Guildford & Godalming) - Teddington - Brentford - Apsley - Aylesbury - Crick

1997 The SHORT trips

Crick- Hawkesbury - Crick- Foxton - Crick - Calcutt - Crick

1996 The NORBURY trip

Crick - Braunston - Hawkesbury - Fazeley - Gas Street - Old Main Line - Wolverhampton - Autherley - Norbury - Autherley - Stourbridge - Merry Hill - Wednesbury Old Canal - Ridgeacre Branch - Tame Valley Canal - Perry Barr - Fazeley - Hawkesbury - Braunston - Crick

1996 The APSLEY trip

Milton Keynes - Apsley - Milton Keynes -Crick

1995 The PETERBOROUGH trip

Milton Keynes - Northampton - Peterborough - Northampton - Milton Keynes

1995 The AVON trip

Milton Keynes - Braunston - Hawkesbury - Fazeley - Spaghetti Junction - Gas Street - Tardebigge - Worcester - Tewkesbury - Stratford - Lapworth - Warwick - Braunston - Milton Keynes

1995 The APSLEY & AYLESBURY trip

Milton Keynes - Apsley - Aylesbury - Milton Keynes

1994 The CHESTERFIELD trip

Milton Keynes - Watford - Foxton - Leicester - Nottingham - Newark - Torksey - Lincoln - Torksey - Stockwith - Worksop - Stockwith - Newark - Nottingham - Shardlow - Fradley - Hawkesbury - Braunston - Milton Keynes

1994 The ASHBY trip

Milton Keynes - Braunston - Napton - Braunston - Hawkesbury - Shackerstone - Coventry - Braunston - Milton Keynes

1993 The THAMES trip

Milton Keynes - Apsley - Regents Canal - Limehouse - Teddington - Reading - Oxford - Lechlade - Oxford - Braunston - Milton Keynes

1993 The STOKE & LLANGOLLEN trip

Milton Keynes - Braunston - Hawkesbury - Fradley - Stoke-on-Trent - Middlewich - Hurleston - Llangollen - Nantwich - Autherley - Stourbridge - Windmill End - Gas Street - Lapworth - Warwick - Braunston - Milton Keynes

1992 The STOKE trip

Milton Keynes - Braunston - Hawkesbury - Fradley - Stoke-on-Trent - Great Haywood - Autherley - Wolverhampton - Black Country Museum - Gas Street - Lapworth - Warwick - Braunston - Milton Keynes

1986 KINGFISHER

Rugby - Braunston - Warwick - Lapworth - Tardebigge - Worcester - Tardebigge - Gas Street - Spaghetti Junction - Fazeley - Fradley - Sawley - Langley Mill - Leicester - Foxton - Crick - Braunston - Rugby

1985 SUPREME

Leighton Buzzard - Braunston - Oxford - Reading - Teddington - Brentford - Tring - Leighton Buzzard

1984 HILLMORTON

Braunston - Hawkesbury - Fazeley - Spaghetti Junction - Tame Valley - Pudding Green - Soho Loop - Icknield Port Loop - Ouzel Street Loop - Lapworth - Warwick - Braunston

1984 SPLENDID

Rugby - Braunston - Warwick - Knowle - Spaghetti Junction - Gas Street - Wolverhampton - Autherley - Barbridge - Middlewich - Kidsgrove - Marple - Whaley Bridge - Marple - Kidsgrove - Stoke-on-Trent - Fradley - Hawkesbury - Rugby

1983 BULLRUSH

Rugby - Braunston - Crick - Foxton - Market Harborough - Leicester - Sawley - Fradley - Market Bosworth - Shackerstone - Hawkesbury - Coventry - Rugby

1982 SUPERB

Rugby - Braunston - Warwick - Lapworth - Stratford - Tewkesbury - Stourport - Autherley - Great Haywood - Fradley - Hawkesbury - Rugby

1978 WYVERN from WEEDON

Can't remember this one at all, I'll have to work it out from the photographs!

 

Back to top of page

 

 

All content on this site is Allan Jones unless otherwise stated

Valid HTML 4.0!