Canals & Barges


The Llangollen Canal

We spent ten days in February 2012 travelling from Nantwich Marina to the Pontcysyllte aqueduct and back again. Given that this canal is well known for being over crowded and extremely busy normally we were blown away by just how few other boats we actually met along the way. Winter might have something of course to do with it!

Nantwich Marina up the Hurleston Locks

The cross wind was pushing the barge around quite a bit on this our first day out on the canal. During the first lock you might notice the barge stops going up for a moment… that’s where we had made a mistake and forgotten to close the rear water release gate, basically meant we were draining a bit of water from the holding pond. Ops, learn’t that lesson quickly and didn’t make that mistake again!

Movie276 – Leaving Nantwich and Hurleston Junction from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.


Six Locks

The Grindley Brook step locks and the nearby locks are very well shown in this movie, imagine how much of a pain it would be to get through these with 20 other boats trying to also get through them.

Movie280 – Six Locks on the Llangollen Canal from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.


Going for Water at Ellesmere

Given that this was winter we had some brilliant weather, this day was no exception.

Movie285 – Going for water at Ellesmere from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.


Aqueduct and tunnels

The aqueduct is actually 120 feet tall and it is a little perturbing seeing that half a step to your left while steering the barge is a big fall! Unfortunately the height of the aqueduct doesn’t really come across that well in the movie. Once we reached the other side that was the furthest extent of this trip, we turned around and headed back over again. Coming back up the canal we get to go through some amazing countryside even a canal construction site. The camera ran out of power just after the second tunnel so you don’t get to see what I consider a better looking aqueduct than the Pontcysyllte aqueduct.

Movie284 – Pontcysyllte Aqueduct from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.


Homeward Bound

Our last day travelling by barge, this is the homeward travel of movie276… Hurleston Locks to Nantwich Marina! Avoided draining none of the pools this time!

Movie288 – Into the Marina from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.



Shropshire Union & Middlewich Branch Canals

December 2011, having just arrived back from Brisbane we hardly had time to get our feet on solid ground again before being whisked off to Nantwich for a short trip along the canal. Of course what we hadn’t realised was that during winter some sections of the canal are closed off for repair work. Our trip was shortened a little but it was still a lot of fun!

Deep Locks and Dead End

We were in a rush to get to a pub… it was late and you can see during this movie the light failing which interesting enough starts to cause an almost warp speed to the images as they blur with the longer exposure times. The last part I have cut since it got too dark but we end up coming out of the last lock, turning a corner and heading straight down a canal section that was closed off for the winter while repair work is done to a number of locks.

Movie236 – Canal Dead End from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.

Another dead end

We head off up through the lock only to realise when we get up there that the canal has been closed off AGAIN! A quick turn around and back down.  It doesn’t take us long to pull over and use the excuse of filling the barge up with fresh water to decide what we should do next, since every where we turn is being closed off.

Movie238 – Canal Adventures from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.


About halfway through the movie we turn a corner from the Trent & Mersey Canal onto the Middlewich branch leading back to the Shropshire Union canal.

Movie239 – Canal Tuesday Evenning from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.

The Barge “Saros”

This is the inside of the narrow boat that Ann and Mick own, it really is quite amazing what they can fit into these very small areas!

Movie244 – Inside the Barge from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.



Grand Union, Oxford and Coventry Canals

March 2009, this was my very first experience of not only being on a narrow boat but also of living on a narrow boat! The biggest shock to the system is the use of non-flushable toilets, followed a close second by the cramped conditions of sharing a boat with five other people.

Hillmorton Locks

Some of my first locks that I travelled through, quite a nightmare trying to avoid all the dangers you have heard about over the years about using locks. Luckily I avoided sinking the barge today! Just after the last lock we stopped for a quick cup of tea which is why you get to watch the dog playing about on the grass.

Movie132 – The Barge III from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.

A Quite and Peaceful day

Early spring and the canal is beautiful with it’s almost mirror like surface. Spot where I jump off the barge and walk along side the canal taking photographs.

Movie136 – The Barge V from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.

To Hawkesbury Junction

Anyone that has been to Hawkesbury junction can tell you that the pub there overlooking the canal serves some great food! The movie starts with us coming from the Coventry Canal and finishes just before we enter the lock to join the Oxford canal.

Movie138 – The Barge VII from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.

Newbold Tunnel

Probably the best well lit tunnel I have encountered, it’s use of green, blue, purple and red lights make it appear like an Aladin’s cave. Where we pull over is right next to a Tesco’s since supplies where starting to get a bit low at this point.

Movie140 – The Barge VIII from Michael Carr-Robb-John on Vimeo.