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This year we will take a two-week counter-clockwise cruise on the South Pennine Ring that crosses the Pennines (England’s hill country) twice. This will connect last year’s travels on the Leeds and Liverpool canal to the Ashton canal in Manchester that we traversed in ’10. When done, there will no longer be a gap in our many trips, i.e. all 1656+ miles we will have cruised over the years will be fully interconnected.

We’ve hired two boats from Shire Cruisers in Sowerby Bridge for pickup on Friday, August 29 (we’ll spend 3 days in London first). One boat - Hereford - will be crewed during the first week by Brian, Debbie and Caroline and Ray Botham. Boat #2 - Buckingham - will be crewed by Brian’s sisters and their husbands (Mike and Susan Auglis and Daryl and Simon Hahn). At the end of the first week, in central Manchester, all starting crew members except Brian and Debbie will depart and be replaced by Olin Darby and Christy Smith (on Hereford) and Marshall and Suzanne Fisher and Bev and Gerry Oxford on Buckingham.

During week #2, we will pass through the Standedge tunnel, the longest (3.12 miles), deepest (636 feet below the moor above) and highest (643 feet above sea level) tunnel on the canal network.