Everyone has a view of what constitutes their ‘favourite’ waterway – and your choice may well depend upon what interests you about the canal and river network. When asking the question – where can a narrowboat go? – some narrow boaters prefer to escape to the more remote parts of the network, and I have a particular liking for the Caldon Canal. From its start at Etruria on the Trent & Mersey Canal, this arm meanders off through a landscape once dominated by bottle kilns (which can still be seen by the canal side) but many of these have now been overwhelmed by housing estates.
However, it doesn’t take long before this canal assumes a rural aspect and becomes a quiet and peaceful place to cruise – leading eventually to the short (and very narrow) Leek Tunnel or branching off towards Consall Forge.
Other narrow boaters are particular advocates of the industrial landscape to be found in and around Birmingham on the BCN, and this too has a charm of its own. Few people would call it scenic, but it tells a fascinating story of the canals part in Britain’s industrial heritage.
There is an old adage that ‘you only get back what you put in’ and this applies to any form of narrow boat cruising. A look at any of the various canal guide books will give you an insight into the landscape you are boating through, and helps to make any journey an interesting one.