Canal Boating- Books, Route Planners, Paper Maps, and Videos


Just touches the surface. Many more canal-related books are available, including many guides to individual canals. Many titles are available from the Inland Waterways Association On-Line shop.

From 1995: Also have a look at Mailing List Members' Recommended Books, and Bill Davies' article on canal books.

Canal Guides- U.K. - Series

First Mate Guides
Ceased publication of paper books, but available for download with a donation; apparently these have not been updated for some years

Nicholson's Guides to the Waterways

Pearson's Canal Companions
[No relation to the author of these web pages.] Pearson's Canal Companions facebook page announces new editions

Richlow Guides - ceased publication in 2015

Waterways World Canal Guides - all pretty old now

General Information

The Times Waterways of Britain
by Jonathan Mosse (2010)
Inland Waterways of Great Britain
by Jane Cumberlidge; 9th edition (2009) Publisher: Imray. ISBN 978-1846230103
Britain's Waterways - a Unique Insight
by Brian Roberts; 2nd edition (2006)
Britain's Waterways - Cruising rings and other things
by Brian Roberts; 2nd edition (2008)
River Thames Book
by Chris Cove-Smith; 5th edition (2009) Publisher: Imray.
Inland Boat Owner's Book
by Graham Booth; 4th edition (July 2010); "Everything you need to know about buying, owning and running a boat"; Publisher: Waterways World
Coolcanals guidebooks
Cruising French Waterways
by Hugh McKnight; 4th edition (2005)
Inland Waterways of France
by David Edwards-May; 8th edition (to be published Jul 2010); UK ISBN 0 85288 472 9; Pub.: Imray
Through the French Canals
by David Jefferson; 12th edition (Mar 2009); Pub.: Adlard Coles Nautical
Reviewed by Waterways World June 2009: "excellent overall introduction"
Waterway Routes Through France Map
compiled by Jane Cumberlidge
Inland Waterways of Ireland
by Jane Cumberlidge; 1st edition (2002) UK ISBN 0 85288 424 9; Pub.: Imray
Inland Waterways of The Netherlands
by Louise Busby and David Broad; Pub.: Imray
Reviewed by Waterways World Jan 2008
A Boaters Guide to Boating
by Chris Deuchar; a mixture of old and new waterway techniques. Published Oct 97. Reviewed in Waterways World Feb. 98. ISBN 0-9531512-0-4. (Chris is a participant in the canals mailing list/uk.rec.waterways newsgroup.) Contact Chris, for costs and other details via his publication page at Chris Deuchar's Books ...
Illustrated History of Canal and River Navigations
by Edward W.Paget-Tomlinson; Publisher: Sheffield Academic Press; Date Published: Mar 1993 [Dr. Sean Neill says "covers canals, structures, boats, carrying companies etc etc. - obviously with limited detail but enough for most people".]

Route Planning Websites and Software

Canalplan AC - planning online via the web; free service; UK and expanding onto the continent Canal Route Planner - on-line planner

FluviaCap - "Outil de calcul d'itinéraires fluviaux" (fr only) (on-line route planning)

Note: I am not aware of any route planning software that can be used offline. (There had been one, but it has ceased trading.)

Paper Maps

"Paper" as distinct from "on-line".

In planning a cruise, most people use one of the options above. While cruising, most people use one of the canals guides listed above (all which contain detailed maps). However, if you insist on having a map, there is an excellent selection available from the Inland Waterways Association On-Line shop.

Also check out Heron Maps, who offer canal and R. Thames maps.

However if you are driving in your car, and hope to drive to a particular point on a canal, then you have a different problem. The best choice of altas for this at the time of this writing (Sept 2009) is Philip's Navigator Britain 2010.

For European waters, Waterways World magazine suggests (4/09) that the definitive map is the European Waterways Map and Directory from Euromapping.

Librairie Fluvial - books and maps in French; service of Fluvial magazine


Free Videos

There's a huge number of videos available on sites like Youtube. (For example, search Youtube for "narrowboat"). All too daunting for me to list - I'm afraid you're on your own here.

Commercially-Produced Videos (DVD or Videocassette)

Please note that there are three video standards in which waterways videos may be found: PAL, SECAM, and NTSC; they are incompatible. Be sure you know which standard is in use in your country, and be sure the DVD or videocassette you are getting is in the correct format. (An alternative is to get a videocassette in the "wrong" format, and pay a service to convert it, which can be costly.) Note also that DVDs can have "region codes" which prohibit playing the DVD on players that are not from the allowed region.
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