Monday 23 February 2009

Pre Season Planning

Pre Season Planning
23rd February 2009

Easter is a movable feast and planning a destination for an early season cruise is proving to be a moving target. If flooding rivers don't drown your plans, overrunning maintenance or surprise breaches are likely to leave your plans dead in the water.

My experience of early season planning lotteries is in stark contract to the summer when you are likely to be free to roam untroubled by such impediments. But maybe that's part of the appeal of early season trips - there is more can I? / cant I? adventure in them. And then there is the fact that you have the more remote sections almost completely to yourself. During last years' trip we passed an average of one boat per day beyond Nottingham!

If you have been following my blog you may have noticed a preoccupation with Standedge Tunnel, as I want to cross the Pennines via the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

Plan one involved a descent of the Trent all the way to Keadby and then up to the Huddersfield Broad via the Yorkshire Waterways. However, last years floods on the Trent have dampened my enthusiasm for this route so early in the season.

Plan two was to approach Standedge from the west, drop down to Huddersfield and then back across to Manchester via the Rochdale Canal. However, the washed out weir at Cooper Bridge on the Calder and Hebble has effectively blocked both these trans Pennine through routes.

Plan three is now to explore the Huddersfield Narrow on a "there and back" basis, which will probably let us get the most out of the waterway. With the tunnel now operating on Mondays as well as Wednesday and Fridays, this will allow a passage from west to east on a Friday, a couple of days on the far side and then back to the west the following Monday.

Plan three has the added advantage of giving time for an exploration of the Irwell and possibly the newly opened Manchester Bolton and Bury arm, all accessed via Pomona Lock,. There is also time for a trip right into the Liverpool Docks a couple of days later - providing the Barton Swing Aqueduct has reopened as planned during the 1st week of April!

One thing is for sure, we will be going on a two week cruise before Easter, but where we go exactly remains up in the air. If the weir is fixed I guess its back to plan B - but who knows.

In the end, I really don't care. I will enjoy the two week trip wherever it takes us and with all the options in the north, something is bound to be open. And what's more, the more bits we leave unexplored the more reasons remain for a return visit. I can't lose really!

1 comment:

D Baynham said...

My guess is you are heading North no matter what, the one thing you haven't yet factored into your trip is pirates, they are moving ever closer, once it was only ever off the south china sea's, then east Africa now west Africa... my guess is the Trent by easter ;-) have a wonderful trip.