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Whitchurch Hire Base

Whitchurch is a quite market town in rural Shropshire. Centrally placed on the spectacular Llangollen Canal, you can cruise to Llangollen itself, Chester or spend two weeks on either the ever popular Four Counties Ring or The Cheshire Ring. Whitchurch is a friendly and unspoilt place of pleasant gardens and narrow streets lined with buildings displaying a remarkable variety of architectural styles.

The Viking Afloat boatyard lies just outside the town on the Wrexham road - a peaceful spot and a foretaste of the tranquility to be found as your holiday takes you along the Llangollen and Shropshire Union Canals, into the wide open spaces of Wales and the north-west.

Directions to the base by car and public transport.

Click here for our Cruising Guides

(Click on the tours below for full details of each trip)

A very relaxing cruise along this most popular of waterways which combines the gentle countryside of Shropshire and the more dramatic landscape of the Welsh border. This has given rise to some outstanding examples of canal engineering

The appeal of this tour is the cruise along the Shropshire Union Canal. The countryside is peaceful and unspoilt, there are many interesting canal features and a highlight of the trip is a visit to the historic city of Chester.

A highly popular two week cruise which takes you through some delightful parts of Staffordshire, Cheshire and Shropshire.

A fascinating circular two week trip that takes you through the heart of Manchester and then up into the Peak District with its distinctive stone architecture.

Tour 5 (1 week)
Whitchurch to Llangollen
58 Miles - 4 Locks - 4+ hours cruising per day.

First stop on this trip is Ellesmere, a delightfully unspoilt, small country town. Shortly after leaving Ellesmere you will come to Frankton Junction which is the start of the Montgomery Canal (currently under restoration). At Chirk, the canal crosses from England into Wales in spectacular fashion by way of the Chirk Aqueduct. This carries you over the river Ceiriog at a height of 70 feet, and is followed immediately by Chirk Tunnel. All this though is only the start, since what follows is a truly spectacular piece of engineering: Thomas Telford's breathtaking Pontcysyllte Aqueduct. It carries the canal 1,000 feet across the Dee valley at a height of 120 feet.

The final stage of your outward journey is by way of a channel that hugs the steep side of the valley and provides panoramic views before entering Llangollen on a high embankment.

On your return journey you may have time to continue past Whitchurch and explore the canal to the east, as far as Wrenbury, after which, it passes into Cheshire, before finally returning to the base.

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Tour 6 (1 week)
Whitchurch to Chester
60 Miles - 66 Locks - 5 hours cruising per day
From our base at Whitchurch, you head East along the Llangollen Canal, past Wrenbury, to the junction with the Shropshire Union Canal at Hurleston. The locks at Bunbury signal your arrival onto the Cheshire Plain from where you get a splendid view of Beeston Castle.

As you approach Chester, the canal drops down through five locks and passes right through the city. A stop here is highly recommended and there are plenty of mooring points at which to tie up.

On leaving Chester you pass through the deep Northgate locks, hewn out of solid rock, and past a short branch that connects with the River Dee. The canal then skirts the northern edge of Chester within half a mile of the celebrated Zoo, making a visit possible. If you still have time, it is well worth pressing on to Ellesmere Port and visiting its excellent Boat Museum before turning round and heading back to Whitchurch.

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Tour 7 (2 weeks)
Four Counties Ring
136 Miles -132 Locks - 5 hours cruising per day
This is our most popular two week trip which takes you through some delightful parts of Staffordshire and Shropshire.
You cruise down to Hurleston Junction where you join the Shropshire Union Canal. From here, you head for Stoke-on-Trent, via Middlewich.
South of Stoke you have the opportunity to cruise up the picturesque Caldon Canal before carrying on your journey south down the Trent and Mersey Canal to Great Haywood Junction.
The next stage is along the splendidly rural Staffs. and Worcs. Canal which weaves its way southwards following the contours, to Autherley Junction where you turn north again on the Shropshire Union Canal.

This trip can also be undertaken in an energetic week from our Gailey Hire Base.

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Tour 8 (2 weeks)
Cheshire Ring
145 Miles - 137 Locks - 6 hours per day
A fascinating trip that takes you through the heart of the city of Manchester and then up into the Peak District with its distinctive stone architecture.

As with tour 7 you head east to Middlewich where you join the Trent and Mersey Canal to head north. At Anderton you can pause to visit the historic Boat Lift, shortly due to undergo total restoration.

At Preston Brook you join the Bridgewater Canal which takes you into Manchester. In the centre of the city you pass briefly onto the Rochdale Canal with its flight of nine locks.
After Manchester you ascend the Ashton flight of locks and at Duckinfield Junction you turn right onto the Peak Forest Canal which takes you up to the summit at Marple.
Your journey continues on through Macclesfield along the Macclesfield Canal before you begin the steady descent down the Trent and Mersey Canal back to Middlewich, where you retrace your journey to Whitchurch.

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