What do you like about spending time by canals and rivers?
It's a change of pace. Stepping onto a boat or a towpath takes you away from the everyday. Really feels like a different world. Gives you a chance to experience sights, sounds and smells of the wild outdoors that just aren't available in my life as a city living soul. The other week I was on a boat on the Leeds & Liverpool canal. On the last night we moored up next to a field of sheep with lots of lambs enjoying life. On the opposite bank the landscape rolled up to a lush green woodland carpeted with bluebells and wild garlic. It was like a glimpse of paradise.
Why is the work of the Canal & River Trust so important?
Every time I visit the canal or rivers, it's obvious how much work goes into keeping them running. Whether it be looking after the locks, bridges and towpaths, clearing the ever expanding vegetation or just keeping a weather eye on the water conditions, it's obvious that without the trust, everything would grind to a halt. Every single time I visit, I am grateful for the countless hours of work done by the Trust and its volunteers.
I know some people grumble about the Canal & River Trust, seems to be part of human nature, but without all their hard work, none of this (the joy of canal and river life) would be possible.
What are your hopes for the charity over the next 10 years?
To keep on keeping on. Attracting volunteers, able to pay its bills and carrying on the amazing work it does.
Where is your favourite location to go on a canal boat holiday?
Impossible to pick one. There are so many good places to go. Probably some of my favourite times have been on the Oxford canal or the Monmouth and Brecon. But it's like asking which is your favourite child, the truthful answer is, “all of them."
Could you share one of your favourite canal boat holiday memories with us?
A year ago, in the midst of the covid craziness, when there was a window of opportunity, four of us set off on a boat. It was a mate and I, along with my youngest son and his mate. We also had a couple of dogs with us. For one week we were able to turn our back on the outside world, only leaving the boat or towpath to go to the occasional shop. The sun shone, the canals were empty and we had the best time. Put everything else into context, reminded us that life could be good even when the going gets a bit sticky.