Vlog 165: Harry Plotter and the Nicholson’s Guide

*This video is nothing to do with an annoying child wizard*

The (in)famous hand-drawn canal map returns in this vlog where I contemplate places to go in the narrowboat in 2019. Thanks to The Navigator for the video title! As promised, here are the links to the guidebooks I use:

Nicholson’s: https://geni.us/CtC_Nicholsons
Pearson’s: https://geni.us/CtC_Pearsons

(affiliate links, so I get a tiny commission from Amazon at no extra cost to you)

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  1. Matthew Mitchell

    Hi David

    Living in Stockport, I would be very happy to come and give you a hand getting around/through Manchester. Either getting through all the locks between Portland Basin at Ashton and the Castlefield basin (where I believe there *are* secure overnight moorings). Or if you decide to go over to Uddersfield, assisting with all the locks up to the tunnel.

    According to the canalplan site – Ashton (Portland basin) to Manchester (Castlefield basin) is doable in a day – 7.5 miles and 27 locks. However I would not recommend attempting this alone. I used to live in Droylsden, between Ashton and Manchester, and I know the area fairly well. The local “ne-er do wells” as you put it are fairly plentiful in some of those parts. Safety in numbers would be my advice. Avoid school holidays and many of the troublemakers won’t be around (apart from the truants of course).

    I’d also gladly provide assistance getting down the Marple flight of 15 on your way to Ashton – Marple is quite beautiful, particularly around the canal, and not far from me at all.

    feel free to use my email address to contact me nearer the time. I’ll also follow you on Twitter if you decide to use that to coordinate the various offers of help.

    I have canalled before, although not for a while, so I’m fairly au fait with the workings of a lock.

    • A very kind offer, thank you. I suspect at my current rate of progress it’ll be next year before I get there!

  2. I am surprised you did not mention this web-site / tool canalplan.org.uk/index.html

    • I’m not sure why you’re surprised; I had no need to mention it, since I already had my route planned out in my head. There was no aim in the video to promote any particular route-planning tools of which there are many.

  3. Just be careful. If you sell the map, you might get lost.

  4. I am a fairly new viewer and have been catching up on Youtube. We have walked some of the Midlands canals – Tardebigge Flight is near us, and the Stratford to Wootton Wawen stretch.

    Keep up the good work and I look forward to your trip North. Maybe you could recruit some crew to help you transit the Pennines?

  5. Hello David, My partner, Peter, says, “Why don’t you try the Yorkshire canals?. I’ve done most of the Leeds & Limpopo myself and it is quite spectacular in places. I’ve also done one or two others, but many years ago. Hope I’m putting this message in the right place! Kim

  6. Can’t wait for you to set off!

  7. So, your not going to cruise the Tiverton Canal again this year. Snob! Just kidding!

  8. Hi David
    Really hope you enjoy the Cauldon, it really is the most beautiful canal – don’t forget to visit the Flint Mill at Cheddleton.
    If “The Boat” is low enough air draught really recommend attempting Froghall Tunnel – the basin after lock 1 of the Uttoxeter canal is purely amazing and a bet a beautiful place to moor.
    Walk the tow path on the Cauldon regularly so if we see you we will be sure to say hi!!

    • Cheers – I think my boat is too high with the solar panels and brackets to get under the Froghall tunnel, unfortunately.

  9. Hi David

    Wonderful to watch you constructing your map and see the moment when you know that you have gone wrong. Never mind. We got the idea.

    BTW the Huddersfield Narrow goes down on the eastern side of the tunnel and only becomes the Huddersfield Broad in Huddersfield for the last nine locks

    Parts of Manchester are grim but be selective and you should be okay. Castlefields Basin is good and there are secure moorings just after passing under the buildings at the start of the Ashton Canal – no access from the land side.

  10. Hi David
    Ii you decide to brave Manchester, you then get on to the LOCK FREE Bridgewater ( not shown on your famous map and the first canal in England) before you get to the L&L. You can then go further north to Liverpool etc, OR you can turn left and go back southward onto the T&M , past the Anderton Lift, and then to the LLangollen, which is said to be the jewel in the canal crown. However it gets very busy so best to do outside school holidays.You can go to Chester before that en route if you like. This takes you back to the Shroppie and thence south to the midlands if that`s where you want to end up.Best of luck for a great cruise.I`ll be watching

  11. I’ll be fascinated to follow your trip, particularly as we’re doing almost the exact same trip, starting pretty much where you are. We’re starting from around Foxton, through Braunston etc to the Macclesfield area. Like you we’ve done the T&M and like it. Maybe skipping the Caldon, though we’ll see what you think of it.

    And like you we’re tossing up with the Huddersfield Narrow, for the same reasons, thinking of the Rochdale instead. Or if we’re feeling energetic maybe both! Maybe the L&L too. Depends on time.

    Hopefully you’re in front of us so we can learn from your experiences, we start around the second week of May.

    Might even see you out there. Lets hope water levels are good this year!

  12. Food for thought … that MAP may be of interest for the next Movie of Pirates of The Caribbean, perhaps?
    Anyway, best wishes for a safe (albeit) slow year of boating from Australia.
    Cheers …

  13. There are safe moorings in Manchester, Was there recently but must admit it was on a hotel boat. Iris

  14. Hi David
    As ever….just hit the right note…..I’m bidding £2.25 plus carriage for the sketch map.
    Once you’re on your way……
    You’l love the Caldon. Free of Stoke, takes about 3/4 hour, you’re in lovely countryside. Look out for Cheddleton Flint Mill.
    The Caldon was until the late 70’s one of the last canals in commercial carrying use. Mintons Pottery used flat boats to safely move delicate pottery for differing treatments between their two nearby sites not far from Etruria junction.
    The Macc is good too.
    Whilst you’re at Etruria on the T&m check out the steam bone & flint mill museum adjacent to the top lock. It only operates on certain dates but you might be lucky. My wife has connections with this, discovered by chance a couple of years ago. She’s a Stokie, her maternal grandfather was the superintendent at Burslem baths in the 1930’s, his duties included manning the boiler. That boiler was mothballed when the baths finally closed in the 1960’s. That reclaimed boiler was installed to replace the knackered original boiler previously used before the restoration of the museum……. Her Grandad’s boiler.

  15. Another really interesting video
    Loved the humour! !
    Will be fascinated to hear how much your map fetches.
    Aquire 2 of your mugs recently they are fabulous!!
    Regards Colin.

  16. Although the though of buying your original work of art is tempting, that’s not the reason for my email. My question is how long do you anticipate this years trip taking (roughly), and when will you set off? I think I’m almost as looking forward to your trip as you are.

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