Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
st599_uk
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby st599_uk » 6 Aug 2019, 10:13am

I've worked as a power boat instructor on a couple of canals.

If you're going to do it, buy a Canals and Rivers Trust key - useful for the facilities en route.
A novice learning...
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AndyK
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby AndyK » 6 Aug 2019, 11:11am

pwa wrote:
nirakaro wrote:
Pneumant wrote: the Venice of the north no less

Nobody - neither Brummies nor northerners - is going to thank you for suggesting that Birmingham is in the north!

"North" starts somewhere north of Stoke, I've always thought.

Surely you mean Basingstoke? ;-)

Michael Skinner
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby Michael Skinner » 6 Aug 2019, 11:35am

simonhill wrote:Here is a recent post that may help. viewtopic.php?f=16&t=131043&hilit=canal

Sorry I should have used the search tool first.
Great load of information, thanks everyone.
In case you want to know what my plans are; for my first towpaths tour I'd like to go from Ilkeston (where I live) and then from Whaley Bridge to Hebdon Bridge, this would involve the Peak Forrest Canal and either the Rochdale Canal or the Huddersfield Canal. Then I'd like to do the length of the Llangollen Canal.

rotavator
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby rotavator » 6 Aug 2019, 12:02pm

RE: Llangollen canal:
There is a good path from Chirk to Llangollen, apart from one dark long bridge (a light might be useful) and you have to walk across the aqueduct. I have not done any of the rest of it but I assume that it is not as good.

AndyK
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby AndyK » 6 Aug 2019, 3:33pm

rotavator wrote:RE: Llangollen canal:
There is a good path from Chirk to Llangollen, apart from one dark long bridge (a light might be useful) and you have to walk across the aqueduct. I have not done any of the rest of it but I assume that it is not as good.

South of Chirk, the Chirk aqueduct also has to be walked across but it's not as long or as scarily narrow as the Pontcysyllte aqueduct. Then the surface is good as far as Gledrid. After that it gets a little muddy, narrow and bumpy and stays that way until you near Ellesmere. Fine through Ellesmere then back to being muddy again. Not sure beyond that.

However I notice that the Canal & River Trust map shows a towpath closure for a couple of km south of Chirk to enable "towpath improvements", so after 19th August the good bit may extend a little further!

Richard Fairhurst
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 6 Aug 2019, 4:02pm

Michael Skinner wrote:
simonhill wrote:Here is a recent post that may help. viewtopic.php?f=16&t=131043&hilit=canal

Sorry I should have used the search tool first.
Great load of information, thanks everyone.
In case you want to know what my plans are; for my first towpaths tour I'd like to go from Ilkeston (where I live) and then from Whaley Bridge to Hebdon Bridge, this would involve the Peak Forrest Canal and either the Rochdale Canal or the Huddersfield Canal. Then I'd like to do the length of the Llangollen Canal.


I presume you're going overland from Ilkeston to Whaley Bridge - there's no convenient canal. Watch out for the Peak Forest in Whaley Bridge right now, it's a bit... toppy? Otherwise it's generally pretty cyclable.

Rochdale and Huddersfield Narrow are both good for cycling. The HNC obviously has a long tunnel (Standedge) at its summit level which you can't cycle through, so you'd have to find a road/path route. The Rochdale is all cyclable and would be my route of choice.

As others have said, the Llangollen towpath is mostly unimproved singletrack until the last few miles. MTBable but not great on anything else.
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Witterings
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby Witterings » 6 Aug 2019, 4:44pm

AndyK wrote:South of Chirk, the Chirk aqueduct also has to be walked across but it's not as long or as scarily narrow as the Pontcysyllte aqueduct.


I've just googled those and whilst I hate to admit it I'm not good with heights ... not convinced I'd be able to get across them!

We went across a much wider and not so high one on the Kennet & Avon which was fine but it did make me wonder what would happen to the canal and the boats on it if the middle section suddenly collapsed :shock:

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bovlomov
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby bovlomov » 6 Aug 2019, 6:03pm

Careful on the unmade bits. I know someone whose front wheel sank into a hole and was tipped into the water, where the American crayfish had been burrowing.

AndyK
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby AndyK » 6 Aug 2019, 11:13pm

Witterings wrote:
AndyK wrote:South of Chirk, the Chirk aqueduct also has to be walked across but it's not as long or as scarily narrow as the Pontcysyllte aqueduct.


I've just googled those and whilst I hate to admit it I'm not good with heights ... not convinced I'd be able to get across them!

We went across a much wider and not so high one on the Kennet & Avon which was fine but it did make me wonder what would happen to the canal and the boats on it if the middle section suddenly collapsed :shock:


Understandable. As with life, the problem on Pontcysyllte (the narrower of the two) is Other People. If you can catch it at a quiet time and walk across without having to squeeze round folk coming the other way, it's OK. At Pontcysyllte there's actually a pleasant road you can use as an alternative, including a quaint bridge from which you get a good view to the aqueduct, downstream but high above you. It does involve a big descent down to the bridge then up to the canal on the other side of the valley, though.

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RickH
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby RickH » 7 Aug 2019, 12:33am

Sweep wrote:
pwa wrote:Canal bridges, beneath which towpaths mostly pass, tend to be a bit dodgy for cyclists. The path is going to be narrow, the bridge wall angled in towards your head, and you are often not well sighted for oncoming pedestrians and other cyclists. Adding camping gear to your bike is going to make that lot even trickier to deal with.

You forgot to mention the heritage retained cobbles you often get in such spots :)
Have seen folk almost end up in the drink.
Sometimes there are railings between the towpath and water in such spots. But very often not.
Not a deal breaker at all, but take care OP.
I have ridden a fair lot of canals - one of my favourites for pretty speedy progress is Manchester's Bridgewater.

The upgrade of the "Muddy Mile", the towpath between Worsley & Astley Green (on the way out to join the Leeds Liverpool at Leigh) has been officially opened. I'm hoping to go & check it out in the next few days to see if it is as good as promised. It will hopefully mean a good surfaced path all the way from Sale/Altrincham to Top Lock at Wigan (apart from the 1/4 mile where you have to join the road to cross Manchester Shop Canal as there is no path on the canal swing bridge) .

Sid Aluminium
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby Sid Aluminium » 7 Aug 2019, 4:58am

Just completed a Glasgow -> Edinburgh tour on the Forth&Clyde and Union Canal paths. Hard surfaced all the way, a few narrow spots, cobbles on the aqueducts, bucolic.

brynpoeth
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby brynpoeth » 7 Aug 2019, 5:56am

I should try to hitch across the aqueducts on a boat
Looks real scary to walk
Do some crazy people try to cycle over?
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Michael Skinner
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby Michael Skinner » 7 Aug 2019, 2:14pm

rotavator wrote:RE: Llangollen canal:
you have to walk across the aqueduct.

I did a google image search of Chirk Aqueduct and from the photographs of it the path looks perfectly ridable, why does it have to be walked?

geocycle
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby geocycle » 7 Aug 2019, 2:20pm

Witterings wrote:
AndyK wrote:South of Chirk, the Chirk aqueduct also has to be walked across but it's not as long or as scarily narrow as the Pontcysyllte aqueduct.


I've just googled those and whilst I hate to admit it I'm not good with heights ... not convinced I'd be able to get across them!

We went across a much wider and not so high one on the Kennet & Avon which was fine but it did make me wonder what would happen to the canal and the boats on it if the middle section suddenly collapsed :shock:


I'd not fancy it either. Although I'd rather walk across than try a stand up paddle board...

https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/places-t ... ety-advice

Mike Sales
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Re: Touring on Canal Towpaths (UK)

Postby Mike Sales » 7 Aug 2019, 2:30pm

Michael Skinner wrote:
rotavator wrote:RE: Llangollen canal:
you have to walk across the aqueduct.

I did a google image search of Chirk Aqueduct and from the photographs of it the path looks perfectly ridable, why does it have to be walked?


In these cases I always ask, "could you walk or cycle across if the drop on the one side and the canal trough on the other were removed, and replaced with a flat surface?"
If it were merely a stretch of normal pavement, is there any chance you would fall into the gutter, or manage to topple over the fence?