How far can I get? It’s a question that’s asked a lot and I can understand why. During our first boating holidays the goal seemed to be to get as far as we possibly could within our week. From the engine waking some of us at the same time the birds do, to our passing a perfectly good mooring spot at 4pm only to have to continue for hours afterwards due to the lack of any further along.
The experience of walking miles along a dark towpath to a pub that had stopped food and then returning to the boat with only a Pot Noodle (other dried pasta snacks are available) for company haunts me to this day.
From then on I have always taken a more relaxed attitude to boating holidays. By all means have a destination in mind but don’t worry if you don’t quite get there (doing a cruising ring is another matter as getting there is getting back on time!). You never know when that lovely pub lunch lasts a little longer, that queue at the locks has a few more boats in it or that full English breakfast got in the way of that 8am start.
To help plan your journey the Pearson Canal Companion guide books are a handy addition as each page of the map shows you the length of time it should take to complete and is fairly accurate. Alternatively you could use the online canal route planning tool at http://canalplan.org.uk.
Wherever you end up on your canal holiday, it will always be nicer than the M6 on a Friday evening.