This time next week we'll have started our Big Trip for the year. In fact, we'll be coming the end of the first leg. We're going to use the bank holiday weekend to get a bit of a head start, then go back to work for a few days, before setting off again at the end of that week.
Our first target is to get to the Braidbar open day on 7 September. From there we'll go to Bugsworth, then down into Manchester and on to Anderton. We'll take the boat lift down onto the River Weaver, then the Manchester Ship Canal to Ellesmere Port. This bit has taken a bit of organising, as the Ship Canal Company requires various paperwork, CRT has to be asked to work the locks at either end, and the local council has to swing a bridge for us. We'll also need the weather to be reasonable that day.
Once that excitement is over, we'll go down the Shroppie, along the Staffs and Worcs to Great Haywood, then return via the Trent and Mersey, the River Soar, and the Leicester Section of the Grand Union.
Canal Plan reckons it's 443 miles and 275 locks. It's a mix of waters that we're very familiar with, some we haven't done for several years, and some that are completely new to us. We can't wait!