I have settled on these two very different bikes:
Whyte Malvern is an "all terrain" bike. It's the cheaper and within my current budget so I can buy it tomorrow. It also fits the rack from my trashed bike. I the lockable suspension and moutnain bike frame means i can take it on towpaths and make a second attempt my London to birmingham trip via the Union Canal (I gave up teh last one at Milton Keynes when the path turned into rocky terrain).
Ridgeback voyage is a heavey Steel touring bike built for long distance riding and also sweet for commuting. No tracks with this one though but still might be handle the b'ham ride. This one is 200 quid more and will be available in a few weeks.
What do you reckon?