Help on Planning Journeys
The items in bold are menu options and those in monospace are user supplied information.
Plan a Journey —Planning a journey can be very simple, although there are many ways to add extra aspects to it. Let's start with the simplest - planning a route from one place to another using the program's default settings for everything. From the Home Page select the Plan a journey option.
Suppose you want to plan a trip from Braunston to Warwick. Type Braunston into the box labelled Start From and Warwick into the box labelled Finish at (these boxes are under the grey line below the title bar at the top of the page).
When entering the names you'll see a drop-down list of matching place names appear after typing four characters. A selection can be made from the list, (if there are more than 10 matches use the up/down arrows to see more) or you can complete the name manually.
Click the Calculate Route button in the green row at the bottom of the page.
The results page shows a summary, a map of the route and the route sections. The route is a table showing the distances and locks between places, the total distance and locks travelled and the remaining distance and locks. The totals section shows distances with an estimate of the travelling time. The overnight stopping places are calculated on the journey time and show stopping places which are not recommended just places at the appropriate proportion of the journey.
Below this in the green button bar you'll find the following options:-
- Route editor — Return to the route planning page.
- Preferences — Change your individual preferences
- Itinerary — A more detailed daily breakdown of the trip which can be converted to a PDF.
- Virtual Cruise — A cruise along the waterway using pictures and maps.
- Export this route — The route can be converted to a variety of formats to suit your requirements.
- Calculate Route — Calculates the selected route.
- New Route — Clears all input boxes. A Clear Box Menu button by each box provides options for selective clearing of the boxes.
- Furthest Place — The Furthest Place button is
used if you know how much time you have available for a trip, and
where your boat is, but are lacking in inspiration for a suitable
The best way to explain this is by example. Let's suppose my boat is based in Market Drayton, and I have a week at my disposal (which I'm going to call 6 days cruising for simplicity). I'm going to leave everything else at the program's defaults (see below for how to change these). I simply enter Market Drayton in the Start from box, and copy it to the Finish at box using the arrow button by Start from box.
This is important, without it the trip will be one directional rather than out and back because in almost every case you are going to want to do this.
In Trip length settings, select Duration. The Trip length box will then appear so enter 6. Then, when you press Furthest Place it will find all the places at the exact time away, and (for those who like more focus to their trips) will also suggest interesting targets in the form of waterway termini that are not much further, or shorter, than the time allowed.
Finally, it will suggest waterways rings that can be managed in that time, both those you are actually on (like the Four Counties Ring) and those within reach (like the Birmingham Ring).
In all cases, just click on the appropriate Plan this trip button to see the trip.
- Cruising Ring — There are many circular cruises possible
on the waterways, and a number of them are very popular holiday
trips. CanalplanAC has many of these pre-programmed in to make
planning a trip around one easy. It can cope both with the situation
when you are starting from somewhere on the ring, and also from
somewhere outside it. This enables travel to the ring and back again
after completing the ring. There are two ways to pick the starting
place. The first is to enter it into the Start from box.
That's the quickest and easiest, and the one we'll use here. To
experiment with the second, just clear all the boxes, select New
route then Cruising Ring and take it from there.
So, let's try two rings starting from Anderton in Cheshire. Enter Anderton Marina in the Start from box, and select Cruising Ring. You'll see a list of rings in two columns (clockwise and anti-clockwise) with short descriptions. We're going to do the popular Cheshire Ring – anticlockwise. You'll see the ring near the top of the list, and that it has a large orange star by it. That star means that the starting place is on the ring.
Click on Cheshire Ring – anti-clockwise. You will be presented with the familiar Plan a journey page, with several of the boxes filled in. You can plan the route, see itineraries, do virtual cruises etc just as before. You can also extend the journey by adding a side-trip down the Upper Peak Forest Canal. Click on the menu box on the place after Marple Junction and select Insert. That will give you an empty box - type Whaley Bridge into it and the new route will be calculated.
To see the effect of planning a trip from a place off the ring, click Cruising Ring again (it will overwrite everything except the starting place) and select the Four Counties Ring (either direction - it's up to you). You'll see that it works out that you need to join this ring at Middlewich.
As ever, play with this as much as you like - see how it finds the best route to the nearest place on a fairly remote ring (starting at Braunston to do the Cheshire Ring, say).
- Adding more places — Suppose you don't just want to
cruise from A to B. A very common example is that you want to travel
from your boat's normal moorings to another place and return. That's
very easy. First, return to the planning page by selecting Route
editor and clear the boxes by pressing New Route.
Now enter sale in the Start from box, leave Finish at empty, and enter Preston Brook in the first box under Intermediate places.
You can make really complicated routes using as many intermediate places as you need. There are 8 intermediate place boxes, but more will appear as you need them. A Clear Box Menu button by each box provides options for selective clearing of the boxes.
- Length of a cruising day — Apart from the specific case
shown below, CanalplanAC expects you to do the same amount of
travelling each day. For safety, you should set this to slightly less
than you do on a good days travelling, to allow for queues at locks,
shopping, sight-seeing etc. The default of 7 hours seems to work well
for many people, but you can put any sensible number in there (e.g.
six-and-a-half hours-per-day, enter 6.5). Part days at start and end
of trip Often you may not have a full day to travel at each end of
your trip. For example, hire boats are usually only available late
afternoon and have to be returned early in the day at the end of the
period of hire. Private boat owners may need to allow time to travel
to and from the boat, and to prepare and re-provision the boat at the
start and end of a trip. For this reason there are two boxes for
Hours first night (first part-day's travelling) and Hours
last morning (last part-day's travelling). These work in
addition to any number of days travelling you may enter (see
below). So if you are collecting the boat at 3pm on Saturday and
returning it at 9am the next Saturday you might set these to 4 and 1
- Using known dates for the trip — Often you are just
speculatively planning, and so CanalplanAC doesn't require any dates
to plan a trip. But when you do know them it will use the information
to make the output more detailed. The Trip length settings
drop-down box allows you to plan trips of known length when you know
the dates involved. These options are Day length, Ignore
days, Start date, End date, Duration,
Start and duration, End and duration, and Start and
end dates and are self explanatory. E.g. by picking End
date you can work out when you need to set off to reach your
destination on a specific date. Any hours you enter in hours first
night and hours last morning are in addition to any days
you enter here, but do count towards dates. For example, in the
hire-boat example in the previous section, you would enter 6 days in
the trip length field.
There are a lot of options, but there are sensible defaults for almost everything. Experiment with the program, and try turning on extra features as-and-when you need them.