The Great Strugglers Boat Trip 2007

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It is back by popular demand, the annual (hopefully) narrowboat trip around the many and varied waterways of Britain.

This year a group of geeks, and one neogeek, will attempt to navigate the Llangollen canal in a week.


  • Alan
  • Andy
  • Matt
  • Phil
  • Tim (No point linking this to anything as Tim is now so neogeek that he has no internet presence, with the possible exclusion of some of the more fashionable social networking sites)

Where ?

Address and contact details of the boatyard


Friday 14th September → Friday 21st September.

Approximate sunrise and sunset times are as follows:


We will call at a supermarket near to the boat yard to pick up initial provisions. The nearest major supermarket seems to be an Asda at Winsford:

The Drumber

Facilities include disabled parking, baby change and a fish counter.

Map & Info

How much?

£220 each. Please send to Matt ASAP, details provided via email.

We will again operate a communal kitty in order to pay for:

  • groceries.
  • pub lunches
  • evening meals (where relevant)
  • general supplies of drink (alcoholic or otherwise) for the boat.
  • "random stuff" that may be required, example batteries for walkie-talkies.
  • disposable BBQ kit for a suitable evening.

Initial amount into kitty?

Last year we each (4 of us) put £50 into the kitty initially, but this turned out to be not enough to cover even the initial shopping bill at the supermarket before we set off, let alone leaving anything in the kitty. So I suggest we actually put £100 each in the kitty, which seems a lot, but half of that will go on the shopping and we will easily spend the rest over the following few days going on past experience. --Matt 08:30, 5 July 2007 (UTC)

Boat information

This year's boat will be Poplar provided by Middlewich Narrowboats. There are 12 berths (we believe that the single beds at the back of the boat are actually bunk-beds) so there should be plenty of room for storage on the extra beds. 1 shower and 2 toilets are provided. Do we need to schedule a pump-out stop?

What to bring

Space on the boat, and probably more importantly in the cars, will be limited, so try not to over pack. A large holdall for clothes and a small backpack for other bits and pieces seems reasonable.

Note that all bed linen is provided so you don't need to bring any of that. You will need to bring your own towel however. All cooking utensils and crockery etc. is also provided.

  • Waterproof clothing - we'll probably end up having to pilot the boat and do locks in the pouring rain.
  • Gloves - some locks are real bastards.
  • Torch - if you have one; we may run out of power some nights, plus for walking to pub, etc.
  • A Tea Towel - there will probably be at least one on the boat, but would be good if everyone could bring one so that we have enough.
  • Sunscreen or hat, & sunglasses - just in case it happens to be sunny.
  • A CafePress Mug - for dropping into the canal causing much hilarity.
  • Weak lemon drink - for drinking down furiously in one gulp in celebration of your hobby success.

Clothing considerations

Casual clothing that you don't mind getting dirty/worn is best. Jeans are fine, though if it rains can get waterlogged. Due to the possible weather conditions do bring a few sets of clothing as you may end up stuck outdoors in the rain for several hours after which you'll definitely want a change of clothes.

Footwear with decent grip is essential. Trainers are good most of the time, though if it's raining a pair of boots won't go a miss. You'll probably want to have more than one set of footwear in case one set gets soaked and needs to be dried.

There will be drying facilities to some extent on the boat, though obviously drying space is limited. There will be some radiators and an airing cupboard.


Matt will provide a 2-way radio for each person with one charged battery pack. Extra battery packs will probably not be able to be provided this year, and given that we have had no real success charging the radios on the boat previously, it is suggested that everyone brings at least one set of batteries (4xAAA) to replace the battery pack when dead.

Entertainment Etc


Despite poker turning into a bit of a farce last year, I (Matt) still would be up for having another attempt this year... perhaps we could sandwich in Tim to prevent him from leaving the table and make sure that his phone is at the other end of the boat :)


Anyone interested in some cigars again this year? I (Matt) suggest that anyone who wishes to partake in a cigar or two should state roughly how many they would like here, and then we can pick out a suitable box to suit and split the cost appropriately? Last year we had a box of 10x Montecristo No.4 which personally I thought were fine in terms of cost (approx £8)/strength etc for the cigar noob like myself. If someone has a preference for something else though then I'm happy to let someone else pick...

  • Matt: 3
  • Andy: put me down for 2 or 3...
  • Tim: <probably not allowed>

Note: no point buying these until a couple of weeks before we go as they will just dry out if not stored correctly.

Planned route and schedule for the week

Overall statistics of the route itself

Some guesses as to where we would like to start / end each day

Fri 14th Sep

  • Middlewich -> Church Minshull
  • 5 miles
  • 3 hours
  • 2 locks

Sat 15th Sep

  • Church Minshull -> Grindley Brook
  • 16 miles
  • 8 hours
  • 15 locks, 3 movable bridges

Sun 16th Sep

  • Grindley Brook -> Hindford
  • 15 miles
  • 8.5 hours
  • 6 locks, 5 movable bridges, 1 tunnel

Mon 17th Sep

  • Hindford -> Langollen
  • 13 miles
  • 7 hours
  • 2 locks, 2 movable bridges, 2 tunnels, 3 aqueducts

Tue 18th Sep

  • Llangollen -> Ellesmere
  • 18 miles
  • 9 hours
  • 2 locks, 2 movable bridges, 2 tunnels, 3 aqueducts

Wed 19th Sep

  • Ellesmere -> Wrenbury
  • 19 miles
  • 9.5 hours
  • 10 locks, 7 movable bridges, 1 tunnel

Thu 20th Sep

  • Wrenbury -> Middlewich
  • 16 miles
  • 8 hours
  • 12 locks, 1 movable bridge

Fri 21st Sep

  • Middlewich -> Boat Yard
  • 0.5 miles
  • 1 hour
  • 1 lock


No current serious stoppages on our route (as of 2007-08-13).

Photo links