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On our narrow-boat 'Keeping Up' we have cruised almost every one of the connected canals and rivers of England and Wales, from the Bristol Channel to the Tidal Thames and from Llangollen to the Fens. On slightly larger ships we have travelled the world from the Antarctic to North Cape, from Russia to the American North-East, and a host of other interesting places. I do hope you enjoy reading about our exploits; the pages are all packed with pictures; on a PC you will be able to scroll through them directly and there are also FlickR albums of our foreign travel pictures (particularly convenient for tablet and smart-phone users). 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.
If you travel by canal and like watching TV, you may need help finding the Sky satellite. I have devised the Satellite Sundial which you may find useful.
As we enter 2021, we will put 2020 behind us without doing it the honour of any new pages on this website. Thankfully we have stayed well throughout the year, but our plans for a 2-week big-ship cruise through the Kiel Canal were of course cancelled. We did manage a short cruise on 'Keeping Up', travelling down the Oxford Canal to the beautiful River Thames where we spent a delightful month; but apart from that we have been back home doing nothing.
Looking back to 2019, that year's travels took us around all around the country, avoiding stoppages as we went, followed by putting the boat in a Marina while we went cruising abroad on a big ship. This year's highlight was a wonderful visit to the City of Liverpool, by way of Stratford-on-Avon (on Shakespeare's birthday), Gloucester, Llangollen, and of course Wigan Pier; then we returned via the River Weaver, the Macclesfield Canal, and the Leek & Caldon Canals.
Finally, we decided to complete our "Eastern European Ring". We had started this ring in 2011 by crossing from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea on the river Volga, and then continued it in 2018 from the North Sea to the Black Sea via the rivers Rhine and Danube; this year we completed it by taking a POSH cruise from the North Sea to the Baltic and onwards to St Petersburg. This also took us to two countries that we had never visited before, Latvia and Estonia.
Our voyages in 2018 took us many miles via Birmingham, Worcester, Gloucester, Llangollen, Macclesfield, Oxford, Windsor, and Leicester - to finish back in the Staffordshire countryside for Christmas again. Our plans were constantly changing, affected by the weather (remember the Beast from the East, and the Pest from the West?), by water shortages, and by a major canal breach at Middlewich, but in some ways that made the journey even more interesting.
In 2018 we also went on an epic foreign trip. For many years we had wanted to cruise across Europe from Amsterdam to the Black Sea. The trip would perfectly complement our previous cruise across Russia from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea, and this year thanks to an amazing last-minute deal we were able to make this wonderful voyage. After a visit to the Dutch tulip fields we cruised up the River Rhine and then, courtesy of the Main-Danube Canal, we cruised the whole length of the River Danube to the Black Sea. After 8 countries in 3 weeks we flew home from Bucharest, with a host of new memories to cherish. I took over 1500 photos and videos on the trip, and it has been a major task selecting the best ones to publish here so I hope you enjoy them all as you read about this incredible journey.
Previous canal trips include Pennine crossings on both the Rochdale and Huddersfield Narrow canals, visits to Boston including the Witham Navigable Drains and Chesterfield Canal, passages through Froghall Tunnel on the Leek & Caldon canal, a ride on the Anderton Lift, and a rough-weather trip from Sharpness to Bristol (it was the VIDEO of this trip that started this website, all those years ago) so there are a host of canal pictures for you to look at - together with some reminiscences from the 1940s, 1960s, and 1970s.
Previous world cruises include visits to Scandinavia, Antarctica, North and South America, Alaska, Russia, Europe, and Egypt (they are all listed below, if you just scroll down this page a bit further). We love small ships which can visit the smallest of ports and cruise the rivers and canals of the countries that they visit; not for us are the giant cruise ships which are more like floating cities. So for a slightly different perspective on these countries, just take a wander through my memories on these pages.
And once again, please e-mail us if you'd like to get in touch
Allan and Debbie
The canal pages have now got the pictures from our recent canal trips, as well as our earlier trips including the Bristol Channel, the Fens, the Great Ouse, the Thames and the Trent. Recently added are the stories of our two boats: "Thistle" the boat that survived two sinkings as well as being cut in half, and "Keeping Up" that we commissioned to replace her. You can also see and hear the working boats at the 2001 National Waterways Festival. There will be more trip reports and pictures added later, and hopefully I'll be able to scan in some old photos from our earlier trips - a task which I've just started with a few pictures and reminiscences of the River Shannon and the Norfolk Broads in the 1960s and 1970s, the canals in the 1970's, and our trips on Thistle from 1987-1991.
ACROSS THE BALTIC
In 2019 we completed the "Eastern European Ring" by crossing the Baltic to St Petersburg and back on a big P&O ship.
EUROPE'S MIGHTIEST RIVERS
In 2018 we travelled on the rivers Rhine and Danube from Amsterdam to the Black Sea. This 3-week trip took us through 8 different countries and included visits to an amazing variety of towns and cities.
THE RIVER OF GOLD
In 2017 we went to Portugal to travel for a week on the River Douro. The scenery was beautiful, the boating was spectacular, and the Port Wine was marvellous. We even harvested a bucket of grapes and had great fun treading them!
FIRE AND ICE
For Debbie's birthday in 2015 we took a short break to Iceland, with plans to see the Northern Lights (we didn't, although the camera did) to go whale watching (we didn't see any) and swim in the Blue Lagoon while it was snowing (we did, but it didn't snow). But it was a fantastic trip anyway!
AUTUMN COLOURS OF THE AMERICAN NORTHEAST
We flew to New York to see the amazing autumn colours of the American Northeast, travelling inland on a small ship to Quebec and Montreal via the Hudson River, Erie Canal and St Lawrence Seaway.
TELFORD'S SWEDISH CONNECTION
In 1832, Thomas Telford built a canal across the south of Sweden from Stockholm to Gothenburg. In 2013 we travelled in his footsteps on one of the canal's vintage passenger boats, and with my new camera at the ready I was able to record much of this canal's unique atmosphere.
VODKA AND CAVIAR
Two travel reports from Russia with Love. In 2007 we spent 2 weeks cruising from Moscow to St Petersburg, and in 2011 we returned to take the longer voyage from St Petersburg to Astrakhan and Rostov-on-Don. There are pages of pictures and descriptions of the major towns and cities, and of the cruises between including the Volga-Don canal. I'm sure you'll enjoy them.
PYRAMIDS AND SAND
Another of our travel reports, our pictures from Egypt. In 2004 we spent 2 weeks in Cairo, on Lake Nasser, and on the Nile and I have selected the best from all the pictures I took there.
NOW WITH ADDED PENGUINS
Next there are our pictures from the Antarctic and the Chilean Fjords. We went there in 2003 for a once-in-a-lifetime experience in the last unspoiled place on the Planet. I've just finished uploading our logbook and I've selected the best examples of the 1000 pictures I took there. If you really like looking at penguins let me know and I'll email you hundreds more pictures!
RAIN AND ICE
The second fjord trip, in 2001, was to Alaska on board the last remaining great American Steamship SS "Universe Explorer"
SUN AND ICE
The first of our BIG holidays, in 1999, was our Norwegian cruise to the land of the Midnight Sun.
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