Water Ways: A thousand miles along Britain's canals by Jasper Winn

Cover of Water Ways: A thousand miles along Britain's canals

I was looking out for books about canals and boats and not really sure what I was going to find. This is a book written by the Canal & River Trust’s writer in residence who claims to not have known much about the English canal system when he started which works because you learn it all with him as he goes along. He’s obviously not a complete blank slate and has a lot of water and boating knowledge already, he mentions several times that he has circumnavigated Ireland by kayak, but he’s new to the ways of narrowboats. 

This isn’t a book about the history of the canals although there’s plenty of history in it, it’s more of personal memoir of discovery that touches on all kinds of aspects of life in and around the canals. As a new narrowboat owner just figuring the canal system out myself it was a delight to watch him find out the same things I have, and to learn a few that I haven’t quite worked out yet too. He does do a lot more kayaking than I would have expected in the book, he goes along with others on their boats occassionally but it’s only in the last chapter that he assembles his friends for a weekend of narrowboating. Oddly they pick almost the exact same spot on the South Stratford Canal for that boat trip as we did for our first narrowboat hire trip which made it really interesting to read (and we definitely made the right decision in which direction to go!).

Interesting author and the subject is one of my current obsessions, you can’t really go wrong with that.


More information about this book can be found on storygraph.

Read on November 10, 2022

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