Author, photographer and broadcaster Jasper Winn has been appointed as the charity's first ever ‘Writer in Residence' as he travels around the country researching for a new book on the waterways to be published by Profile in Spring 2018. The book will explore the stories of the people Jasper encounters living, visiting, working and volunteering on over 2,000 miles of canals and rivers across England and Wales as he make his way around by foot, bike, boat and canoe. Jasper will also write a monthly blog about his travels on our website.
Cycling, roller-skating and horse-riding
In thirty years' of travel, Jasper has canoed the length of the Danube, cycled across the Sahara and roller-skated the length of the Netherlands. He spent a number of years as a swing and ragtime musician touring throughout Europe, and later travelled for twelve months in Morocco with a nomadic Berber family, and their camels, sheep and goats.
He was a consultant on the film Ride Around the World and whilst researching horse cultures worldwide he has ridden across Kyrgyzstan, across the Andes from Argentina to Chile, on Australian cattle drives, and through Mexico, Iran and Cuba. As well as writing for a variety of national newspapers, he is the author of Paddle: A Long Way Around Ireland about his thousand mile circumnavigation of Ireland by kayak.
Jasper says: “Like many other people I suspect, I've found that I've got more connections with the canal system than I thought; childhood holidays, boats and locks seen from train windows, towpaths walked in country and city. For the next year I'll be exploring and travelling many of the waterways on foot and by bicycle, by canoe and kayak, on stand up paddle board, by steam boat and, of course, by traditional canal craft.
By using as many different forms of slow travel as possible I want to reflect the numerous ways in which people already engage with the canal ‘roads.' And then emerging with surprising and inspiring stories.