Did you Know…?
1. The oldest canal in the UK is the Fossdyke Navigation which was built by the Romans, whilst the newest canal in the UK is the Ribble Link which opened in 2002.
2. The longest aqueduct in the UK is the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct on the Llangollen Canal. The aqueduct stretches over the River Dee Valley and is 1000 feet long.
3. Birmingham has more canals than Venice – but few know the exact figure. In fact, the Birmingham Canal Navigations extend to just over 100 miles. There’s even a watery version of Spaghetti Junction.
4. In 1912, a cow named Buttercup fell into the Leeds & Liverpool Canal by the southern portal of the Foulridge Tunnel. Normally, cows wade out, but she chose to swim to the northern end where she was revived with brandy by drinkers in the nearby Hole in the Wall pub.
5. In England and Wales there are 1,569 locks, 53 tunnels, 3112 bridges, 370 aqueducts and 74 reservoirs.
6. You can actually travel around London by narrowboat. The London Ring passes along the Grand Union and Regent’s canals, to the Docklands and Limehouse Basin via Little Venice, Regent’s Park, London Zoo, Camden Lock, Kings Cross, Islington and Victoria Park.
7. The shortest canal in the UK is the Wardle Lock Branch of the Trent & Mersey Canal. It consists of just one 72ft-long lock and a few yards of canal on either side.
8. The longest canal in the UK is the Grand Union Canal, stretching 137 miles from London to Birmingham. Cruising the whole length, non-stop, would take you 74 hours.
9. The longest lock flight in the UK is the Tardebigge Flight on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. The flight boasts 30 locks and raises the canal 220 feet.
10. In 1978, a British Waterways dredging party pulled up a chain which had a lump of wood on the end on the Chesterfield Canal. It was a forgotten plug. The entire canal between Whitsunday Pie Lock and Retford Town Lock disappeared into the River Idle. Oops!
If you’d like to try your hand out narrowboating along Britain’s canals and waterways, visit CLC World’s Canaltime and discover a different way to holiday.