So for those of us looking to explore on two legs, it is probably advisable to choose a less daunting challenge and concentrate on just a short stretch of this inland waterway that passes through the Midlands and North West England.
So it was that I found myself in the attractive Staffordshire village of Alrewas, which also has the added attraction of the River Trent alongside parts of the canal, and no shortage of excellent pubs to enjoy regardless of the weather.
Although originally built to transport freight, the only craft seen on the canal nowadays are pleasure boats, of which plenty are regularly moored at Alrewas, perhaps attracted by the pubs or possibly the numerous old houses and 14th century church.
The Trent & Mersey Canal with Alrewas church in the background
I headed off in the direction of Preston Brook, but had more limited goals in mind rather than the near 70 mile distance to Cheshire.
The mile or so stretch takes you past the back gardens of houses bordering the canal, and there is also a lock just outside the village - with a couple of benches from which to enjoy any passing water traffic.