Our Blog

Silver Propeller Challenge – IWA

There are over 100,000 boats registered on the inland waterways of England, Scotland and Wales, and in 2016 more than 672,000 people enjoyed the pastime of inland boating. IWA’s aim is to see those boats and people spread out across all of our wonderful canals and rivers. Most parts of our waterways are vibrant, busy places enjoyed by millions of people every year but there are still many locations where you would be lucky to see even one boat in a week, let alone in a day. Gongoozling is a favoured pastime of many walkers and cyclists, but if there are no boats, whole sections of waterways will lose their charm and appeal for everyone. This challenge aims to encourage our members and others to visit and use those places that aren’t reached as often as others.

The places to visit fall into three categories:

  • Cruise it or lose it – These are places on waterways which see very few visiting boats and are located in many instances at the end of the navigation. We’re looking to encourage visits along the entire length of these canals and rivers. Some of these waterways can have as few as one boat a month using them! Let’s change that now.
  • Knocking on the door – These locations are where navigable waterways meet restoration works, proposed link projects and currently unnavigable sections. It’s hoped that in the future we will be able to remove these spots from the challenge as they become increasingly used.
  • Moor please – These places are on restored sections of canals. We want to support the restorations by encouraging waterway users to get afloat and experience first-hand all that’s being achieved.

While none of the ‘cruise it or lose it’ waterways are under threat at the moment, we would be hard pressed to defend them on usage grounds if they were to be threatened by a major development, such as a new motorway.

You can check out the locations here

  • Alveston Weir, River Avon (Warwickshire)
    (all boats must hold an Avon license, and obtain guidance notes, in advance, from The Avon Navigation Trust)
  • Bedford River, Great Ouse
  • Boston Black Sluice, Black Sluice Navigation (EA)
    (also accesible by trail boats via EA slipway at Hubberts Bridge)
  • Cascade winding hole, Chesterfield Canal
    (Cascade winding hole appears as Manor Road Winding Hole in CanalPlanAC)
  • Coombeswood Basin, Dudley Canal No 2
  • Fens Branch Stourbridge Canal
  • Gronwyn Bridge winding hole, Maesbury, Montgomery Canal
  • Head of navigation, Ashby Canal
  • Holme, Middle Level (New Dyke)
    (max length of craft is 20.70m (68′-0″))
  • Horseway Lock, Middle Level
    (or junction of Vermunden’s Drain and Sixteen Foot Drain)
  • Inglesham Junction of the River Thames with the Thames & Severn Canal
  • King John’s Castle, Odiham, Basingstoke Canal
  • Langley Mill Basin, Erewash Canal
  • Leek Branch canal terminus, Caldon Canal
  • Liverpool Docks, Leeds & Liverpool Canal
  • Maud Foster Windmill, Boston, Maud Foster Drain
  • Melbourne Basin, Pocklington Canal
  • Norton Canes, Cannock Extension Canal
  • Ripon Basin, Ripon Canal
  • River Dee Branch, Off the Shropshire Union Canal
  • Saul Junction, Gloucester & Sharpness Canal
  • Sheffield Basin, Sheffield & Tinsley Canal
  • Southern portal of the Dudley Tunnel, Dudley Canal
    (above Park Head locks)
  • Springs Branch head of navigation, Leeds & Liverpool Canal
    (turning at the end is restricted and that boats longer than 35ft will need to reverse back out)
  • Standedge Tunnel and Visitor Centre, Huddersfield Narrow Canal
  • Stanton Downham Bridge, Little Ouse or Brandon Creek
  • Terminus of the Wendover Arm Grand Union Canal, Wendover Arm
  • Tewitfield Marina, Lancaster Canal
  • Titford Pools, Birmingham Canal Navigations
  • Uttoxeter Basin, Froghall, Uttoxeter Canal
  • Walsall Town Basin, Walsall Canal
  • Welches Dam Lock, Old Bedford River
  • West Summit Lock, Rochdale Canal
  • Winsford Bridge, River Weaver

Holly, on the admin side was brilliant and was so accommodating. She helped me so much and understood that I needed to change my date. The overall experience was beyond brilliant. Thank you all so much!

Leah Johnson

A really nice assortment of cakes, chocolate, battenburg, fruit tart, scones cream and jam. plenty of fresh fruit, strawberries, raspberries, tangerine. Unlimited tea, with juice and a wine for the non driver. A very nice journey circa 2 hours, very informative about the area and it's history, learned so much.

John Lyne

Fabulous day out had by all..we will be returning very soon..x

Anne Murdoch

Had a wonderful afternoon, the last trip before lock down 2. Greeted really well by our captain and host. Everything explained by really well. Plenty of food and really fresh. Beef chicken and cheese sandwiches, gerkins and tomatoes.

John Lyne

Fantastic experience plus I loved the hotpot loaded with mince and topped of with crisp baked crusty potato it's a slow look at what's on show that we miss in our cars it's a must do trip

Howard Moss

Lovely afternoon tea cruise along the canal. Mark was very knowledgeable and friendly. Would definitely recommend this.

Carol Eastwood

It helped that it was a beautiful sunny day. The skipper, Mark was very insightful giving us a talk on the local history of the canal as we made our way to Burscough Wharf and back again.

Tony Houston

Nice way too spend a few hours took my mother for a mothers day treat great food fantastic host wish it hadn't been raining thanks very much

Gary Chadbond

Just got back from an amazing cruise with afternoon tea with this company. The food was lovely and fresh!
The skipper, Mark was lovely and professional! He was so naturally friendly and explained everything about the history of barges and the area. He was so knowledgeable. The cruise itself was beautiful and relaxing.

Leah Johnson

What a wonderful experience! Mark was such a great host, very kind and helpful. We miss our trip because of car crash on the road, he not only accommodate us on the next trip but he make us fresh afternoon tea and he place us in the best part of the boat! I can’t explain what a wonderful people and what a experience we had ! Truly amazing! Definitely try for yourself !!! Thank you Mark! See you soon!

Plamena Dimitrova