We've been spending some time trying to sort out what we'll do the first few weeks afloat. We have a couple of months before reaching Fettler's Wharf Marina where we've booked in for Winter. We're rather disappointed about the very lengthy works proposed at Burscough. They will prevent us cruising from the marina to visit Mick's half brother who lives at Scarisbrick. We also have a friend, Lynne, who lives the other side of Ormskirk so it would have been nice to meet at a canalside pub for lunch or dinner. Such a shame as we were looking forward to doing that over Winter. But, we'll be near enough that we can take a train to Ormskirk from Rufford station. Or, they'll have to come and visit us. Not quite the same though is it!
We'll be starting near Nantwich about 11/12 October so we could do the loop down the Shropshire Union Canal to Wolverhampton and then back up the Trent and Mersey via Stoke, then the Macclesfield canal to get to Marple by 12th November (to get past the stoppage there). We'd have to fill in about 5 weeks between 12th November and 21st
December as there's also a lock being repaired just the wrong side of
the marina at Rufford. Hopefully it will all go smoothly with the repairs so we
can be in the marina by Christmas.
We could instead head to Llangollen first (it's on our list of places we want to visit by boat), then head towards the Anderton boat lift then skirting Manchester towards Wigan. There doesn't appear to be any stoppages that would hinder our progress in that direction during November and December.
My brain is getting addled with all the adding up of estimated cruising times. We don't want to head off on a plan that will see us rushing to get where we need to be. We are conscious that the weather may be increasingly unpleasant as we wait for the lock repairs at Rufford to be completed. Hopefully the weather will be kind to us.
I guess I should check that the stoppage proposals on the map I have are still current. I think I read somewhere that they don't get finalized until September.