At www2.mihalis.net/canal/cgi-bin/index.cgi (a shorter, more memorable URL would be nice) you’ll find Canal Planner, an incredibly versatile journey-planning website backed by a comprehensive database of waterways features.
I’ve only made relatively short trips on just a few waterways so I never used it before; a copy of the relevant Nicholson’s guide was sufficient. But now I’m considering taking Bristol Fashion up to Yorkshire and have a choice of routes, Canal Planner is proving very useful. I now know that there are twice as many locks going via Stoke on Trent than via Nottingham. I have some idea of how long it will take and where would be good places along the way to stop for the night.
There are so many options – size of boat, your usual cruising speed and so on – but Canal Planner doesn’t calculate how much longer it takes if you stop off at every canalside pub on the way.