Having meant to do a video with Robbie Cumming for many years, we finally got around to it a few weeks ago. I’m always getting requests from overseas viewers to go into the canal pubs but don’t tend to do that alone. Who better to team up with to do so then than Robbie Cumming, whose youTube channel features a regular “Pub of the Week” slot!
Lots of folk ask me about hiring a narrowboat for a holiday so I thought I’d make a video about it. By coincidence, friends and fellow YouTubers Greg & Lou Virgoe, and John & Mandy, had decided to book a week’s hire – their first time on a narrowboat – so I tagged along to document the hiring handover.
At the end of May 2021, I attended a narrowboat trials day arranged by boat builder Ortomarine. Starting on the River Severn and going up the Droitwich canals, eight boats using a variety of power plants would have their fuel, efficiency and any solar input measured and compared. This video summarises what happened and the results.
The canals are an oasis of calm, peace and tranquility – and now of culture too, as The Piano Boat brings concert-hall level classical concerts to the inland waterways, courtesy Masa Tayama and Rhiana Henderson. Join me as I talk to them about the project, the hurdles they’ve had to overcome and their plans.
Whether you’re a solo narrowboater or have plenty of crew aboard, there’s no doubt that at busy and long canal lock flights, a team of helpful volunteer lock-keepers can be a blessing to help you through. I spent a couple of days at Fradley Junction near Lichfield, talking to the volunteers as they prepare for the new boating season, and they explained what they do and why they do it.
An alternative to the tradition steel narrowboat, fibreglass (GRP) cruisers are long-established on British canals and rivers. Often cheaper to buy, both new and used, but with drawbacks such as a more fragile construction and less suitability for living aboard, especially in winter, they are a popular choice particularly on rivers. In this video, I speak to a chap who bought a Viking 26 and absolutely loves it.
For those on small or disconnected canals, who want a boat that can be taken out of the water easily and moved elsewhere, there is the Wilderness Trailboat; an incredibly cute, fibreglass (GRP) lightweight craft that you can practically put in your pocket!