Base 18 is on the Shropshire Union Canal, near Chester. It is run by one of the largest boat operators in the UK and is easily accessible by road or rail.
The base is an ideal starting point for no less then four routes, which include the ancient city of Chester, the Middlewich branch, the Llangollen Canal and the Shropshire Union Canal. These give many choices for both short break and one-week cruises, or longer.
Chester and back: 18 locks 14 hours
To the West you cruise through the countryside towards the Roman City of Chester, encountering the historic Beeston Castle situated high on the hill to give breathtaking views across the Cheshire Plain. Continue on into the World Heritage City of Chester, with excellent views of the walled city and moorings below the walls. Chester Zoo makes an ideal stopover for children and then on to Ellesmere Port, which joins the Manchester Ship Canal and is the home of the Boat Museum.
Whitchurch and back: 40 locks 18 hours
To the South you negotiate the staircase locks, then just past Barbridge junction turn on to the beautiful Llangollen Canal as far as the market town of Whitchurch.
Alternatively, at Barbridge you can turn onto the Middlewich Branch through tranquil countryside to the ancient salt town of Middlewich and perhaps onwards to the spectacular Anderton Boat Lift.
Llangollen and back: 46 locks 44 hours
Cruise south to Barbridge then onto the Llangollen Canal into Wales, crossing both the Chrk Aqueduct and the famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct 126 feet above the River Dee. Llangollen itself is well worth a visit with centrally located moorings.
Four Counties Ring: 96 locks 50 hours
The Shropshire Union Canal continuing south from Barbridge passes through quaint towns and villages, beautiful tree-lined cuttings and embankments. The Four Counties Ring passes through Cheshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire and is the most popular Ring.
Cheshire Ring: 102 locks 60 hours
Cruise to Middlewich to join the Cheshire Ring on its route through rural Cheshire with a section through the heart of the city of Manchester with many activities for all the family.