Welcome to Viking
Afloat's Gailey Hire Base
Our Gailey base is located near the northern end of the delightfully rural Staffs and Worcester Canal just south of Stafford. The site is well placed for a variety of one week scenic cruises including the highly popular Four Counties Ring. There are also a number of relaxing short break routes as well as several exciting options for those who have two weeks or longer to spare.
Road access couldn't be easier with the base positioned on the A5, just 400 yards from its junction with the M6. Rail travellers can head for either Stafford or Wolverhampton Main Line and take a taxi (approx. 7 miles.)
Directions to the Gailey Hire Base.
(Click on the tours below for full details of each trip.)
this is your first time afloat or if you are just looking for a relaxing
and easy time away from it all, this trip is ideal.
very popular, circular route that takes you on a fascinating voyage of discovery
through parts of Staffordshire, Shropshire and Cheshire. An active week,
but well worth the effort.
and Worcestershire Canal. This is a comfortable one week cruise to the town
of Stourport and back, along what is almost certainly one of England's prettiest
An energetic, but very rewarding trip onto a visually stunning and yet under-used
you are planning a holiday of two weeks or longer, then we have a wealth
14 (1 week)
Shropshire Union Canal
40 Miles - 62 Locks - 4+ hours cruising per day.
Gailey, you head south down the Staffs. and Worcs. Canal to Autherley
Junction, where you turn right and join the start of the Shropshire Union
Canal (Shroppie). You soon get to appreciate the contrast between the
earlier 'contour' canal that you have just left and the gem that is the
journey northwards towards the Cheshire Plains through rural Shropshire
countryside, takes in impressively deep cuttings, dramatic embankments
and splendid architecture.
Drayton, Audlem and Nantwich are all delightful places to visit along
the way, either on the way out or on the return leg of your journey.
though, you need turn around and head back to Gailey, retracing your steps
and enjoying the new perspective that cruising in this new direction brings.
15 (1 week)
110 Miles - 94 Locks - 8+ hours cruising per day
journey takes you up the wonderfully rural Staffs. and Worcs. Canal to
Great Haywood Junction where, passing under a roving bridge, you join
the Trent and Mersey Canal heading north towards the potteries and Peak
district. The rolling Staffordshire countryside leads you to Stoke on
Trent, the Wedgewood pottery's Visitors Centre and the impressive 2926
yard long Harecastle Tunnel.
Harecastle the 13 miles to the salt town of Middlewich sees the canal
descend 31 locks to the Cheshire Plains. The short Middlewich arm links
the Trent and Mersey Canal to the Shropshire Union Canal which brings
you south again through more glorious countryside.
beautifully engineered canal with its cuttings and embankments and relatively
few locks, takes an almost direct route to Autherley Junction where it
meets the Staffs. and Worcs. Canal for the last leg back to our Gailey
16 (1 Week)
and Worcestershire Canal
40 Miles - 62 Locks - 4+ hours cruising per day
is a comfortable one week cruise to Stourport and back, along what is
almost certainly one of England's prettiest waterways. Throughout its
length, this historic canal follows the local land contours as it winds
its way south towards its junction with the River Severn at the unique
inland port of Stourport.
Along the way you pass the entrance to the Shropshire Union Canal, which
heads northwards through Shropshire towards the Cheshire plains.
you continue south, you soon reach Bratch locks, which is a distinctive
and unusual flight of three locks, together with an octagonal toll office.
From here the canal adopts an even more rural aspect: secluded woodlands
with rocky cliffs of red sandstone, give way to an area of quite water
meadows as you approach the outskirts of the carpet-manufacturing town
also hosts the southern terminus of the Severn Valley Steam Railway, which
is well worth a half-day trip. Finally you reach Stourport with its intriguing
combination of engineering features and fine period buildings.
an alternative to cruising all the way down to Stourport, or for a change
of scenery on the return trip, you can always turn onto the Stourbridge
Canal at Stourton Junction, and travel up to Birmingham, where the Black
Country Museum at Dudley is a must.
then follow the Birmingham Main Line Canal to Wolverhampton where the
canal drops back down through a flight of 21 locks to rejoin the Staffs.
and Worcs. Canal. This detour adds some 34 locks and plenty of miles to
your journey and is therefore not for the fainthearted!
17 (2 weeks)
bit of stamina is required for this cruise but your efforts will not
reach the Caldon Canal you cruise up the Staffs and Worcester Canal
to Great Haywood junction. Here you join the Trent and Mersey Canal
heading north towards the potteries.
Etruria junction you turn right onto the Caldon Canal which must rate
as one of the most delightful waterways in the country. It quickly
climbs out of the urban edge of the Potteries and your journey takes
you up to Cheddleton, heading towards the Peak District, where you
enter the Churnet Valley.
countryside along this valley is stunning and the outward journey
all too soon comes to an end at Froghall, nestling deep in the woodlands,
where you will need to turn and retrace your route to Gailey.
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18 (2 weeks)
Various Two Week Trips
you are planning a holiday of two weeks or longer, then there is
a wealth of options from our Gailey Hire Base.
most popular choice is to take a leisurely cruise around the Four
Counties Ring (Tour 15), taking any one of
several side trips such as the Caldon Canal, the Llangollen Canal,
or a run up to Chester and the Ellesmere Port Boat Museum.
you can undertake an extended version of either the Warwickshire
Ring (Tour 11), or the Leicester
Ring (Tour 13).
cruise the Warwickshire Ring, you would turn right at Fradley Junction
(Trent & Mersey Canal) and then cruise down past our Rugby Base
to the Grand Union Canal. Follow the Grand Union Canal up to Birmingham
and then carry on along the Birmingham Main Line to Wolverhampton
where a flight of 21 locks returns you to the Staffordshire and
Worcestershire Canal close to Autherley Junction. From here it is
only a few miles back to Gailey. (Total of 122 locks).
the Leicester Ring, you would cruise up the Staffs. and Worcs. Canal
to Great Haywood where you would turn right onto the Trent &
Mersey Canal. This takes you to Fradley Junction where you join
Tour 13 from our Rugby Base.
(Total of 136 locks).
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