"As far as I’m aware my job’s unique… I’m the only National Towpath Ranger around. I love my job, not least because it means I get to talk to all sorts of different people who use our canals. For me, whilst I love boats and bikes and walking the towpaths, it’s all the awesome folk that live on and visit canals that make them so special.
Sometimes I find it quite hard to explain to people what my job is, but it’s pretty simple really – I run a bunch of projects to ensure canals, rivers and towpaths are special places for everyone to enjoy and it’s not hard to be passionate about that, is it?
This includes running the Share the Space, Drop your Pace campaign - which reminds everyone to be more considerate to each other on towpaths - sorting out welcome signs and maps, training and recruiting Volunteer Towpath Rangers and setting up the odd community garden too. I’d like to think I'm quite good at coming up with creative ideas for these things, but I guess that’s for others to judge really.
I've always had a connection with water in some way or other. I worked in marine navigation for 15 years before I started working for the Trust, and I lived on a narrowboat at Three Mills in Bow for many years too (although I’ve 'gone brick' now, as they say). People often ask if I miss living on boat, and whilst I did love it because I get to spend most of my time on canals, I don’t really. I can’t say the same for my cat, Tigger, though. He’s a Bengal snow leopard, and as a breed they’re well known for their fascination with water. To be honest, I’m not sure he’s really forgiven me yet, but I live in hope he will one day."
Dick, National Towpath Ranger. London, Regent’s Canal