What is a CanalOmeter?

It's a very simple device for calculating how long it will take to cruise between any two points on a canal.  Actually, not so simple to design, but dead easy to use, so I present the results of my herculean labours for you to download and enjoy for free.

Use it to answer these questions:

How far can we get today?
Will we get to the pub in time for lunch?
How long till we reach the next town / village / lock ?

What does it look like?

Here's one, modelled by my lovely assistant Simon.

It's a simple disc with place names around the outside and a movable hours dial in the middle.  To work out how long it will take to get from A to B, just rotate the hours dial so it reads 0hrs at A, then look at place B and read off the hours on the dial.  Simples.

How accurate are they?

They are based on the detailed mileage data provided (with permission) by Then I use a spreadsheet to generate a pie shaped graph, so it is mathematically accurate so long as you maintain the average speed shown on the dial.  Field trials show that over a cruise of a few hours or more they are surprisingly good.

CanalOmeters are stored here for download as pdf files.

To download one or print it off, do it like this

1 Select your CanalOmeter from the list of links below
2. It will load into a Google Docs screen.  Beneath the coloured Google Logo towards the top left of the screen, click on the word File
3. This will present options to either Download Original or Print PDF.  Choose whichever you want.  If you print from here remember to set your printer preferences to landscape or portrait according to the page layout of the PDF on the screen.  Some are one, some are the other (sorry!).  Printing off Landscape ones as portrait will give a smaller version like the one in the photo above, which you may well prefer.

Each Ometer comes with full instruction for assembly and use.  All you have to do is print them off and use a pair of scissors to cut out the hours disc, then pin it over the place disc so it can rotate.  Job done.

One day I will format them all the same.  At present the layouts represent an evolutionary development!

London Canalometer - Bull's Bridge to Limehouse and all points between.

Grand Union South detailed - Brentford to Bulbourne - an experimental one, showing locations of water points, diesel, pubs,  supermarkets etc.

Grand Union 2 Bulbourne to Braunston

River NeneOmeter - river speed vary up and downstream but this proved to be a reasonable guide

SOxfordOmeter - the South Oxford canal - soon to be road tested

LeeOmeter - Lee Navigation, Limehouse to Hertford

The Bottom Road - between Farmers Bridge (Birmingham) and Crick via Fazeley, Hawkesbury and Braunston