Okay, Year 2 on the British canal system is about to begin. I’ve had a great winter on the mountain but it’s now time to return to England and get the narrowboat going again. Having said that, I was up the hill last weekend and it sure was nice to be ‘home’! Looked awfully skiable too, just a few dirt patches. And luckily for the Snow to Surf race, it was a gorgeous day. I was sorely tempted to strap on the planks and hike a bit for a few turns (just tempted…as if I’d actually walk UPHILL!).
I have a cruising plan (as outlined in the previous post and below), my flight and train arrangements are made, my stuff is mostly packed, and all the goodbye visiting that I could do is complete. Since I left everything over there last fall, I don’t have much luggage anyway. Carry-on only!
Just to start things off right, we’ve managed to arrange for my son Robbie to join me for the first few weeks! I’m excited about that as I was hoping he’d eventually get to hang out with the old man in some pubs (and work the locks for me). There are lots of other visitors planned too, I think my constant raving about canal life is having an effect. The first to arrive are Alan (sans Jane, sadly) and his daughter Abigail. From ski hill to canal in a month. I’ll also be catching up with Rich, Jane, and Joanne on the Trent and Mersey Canal, great people I met on the K&A last summer. Later on, several others are planning on meeting up; some are ski friends, some are lock-buddies from last year. More on those adventures as they arrive.
I’ll be attending the annual Crick Boat Show again this year, along with awesome friends Chris, Julie, and Poppy. I had the good fortune of meeting them while camping at the show last year, they were in the tent next to me. This year we’ll actually be staying on the narrowboat so it’ll feel like we’re part of the ‘in’ crowd. Look out Crick, it’s going to be quite a party.
Overall it looks like it’ll be a long trip if I manage to complete the plan. Fewer locks than last year, but more mileage (yes, they use miles over there). I’ve been tweaking the plan daily, looking at Google Earth to make sure I’m not in urban areas too much. I’ll have a big decision to make later in the summer about whether to take a ‘shortcut’ across the River Mersey from Liverpool to join the network at Ellesmere Port. It’s not that far, but it’s a huge waterway with large ships and a tidal component. Not something a narrowboat is made for. Lots of people do it however, they flotilla together and pick a good day. Since I’m not likely to be in a rush, I might just take the risk. It’s either that or backtrack to the Bridgewater Canal. The tough part of this decision is that the Bridgewater looks well worth doing as well. Nice to have two good options! If I’m early enough getting over the Leeds to Liverpool Canal, I might just do both.
As the summer goes on and I write more blogs posts, please sign up for email notifications and send me lots of comments! Don’t worry, there’s no spam or advertising. I’ll reply to all the comments I can (eventually) but I’m not sure if you get notification of that so check back often. I love hearing from all my friends back home as well as those I meet along the way. I’ll try to update other social media stuff more often this year, I’m still figuring it all out. I’ve also made up a business card to make finding me easier:
And as you can see I’ve got a new logo, and have made a name sign that I’ll be putting on the side of the boat: