A kind neighbour has given me a small collection of waterways related books which she found when clearing out the flat of a deceased friend. Among them was The Water Road by Paul Gogarty (ISBN 1-86105-655-9, Robson Books). Paul is a travel writer for a number of national newspapers. The book is an account of a narrowboat journey in 2001 starting from London and making a figure of eight journey taking in Birmingham, the Potteries, Manchester, Leeds, Goole, Lincoln, Leicester, Oxford, Lechlade and Windsor. It took him four months, mostly single handed. I must say I admire his bravery because he was an inexperienced boater and some of the waterways he travelled were not for the faint hearted. Anyone who starts off from Limehouse onto the Thames has my respect!
Anyway, I enjoyed the book a lot and frequently found myself agreeing with his observations about the pleasures of slow travel on water, the incredible mix of people one meets, and the occasional depressing attitude of the less tolerant in our society. Paul is a good writer and has an amazing ability to search out and engage interesting people. The trip is quite an adventure and the book is a good primer for anyone wanting to know what travelling on canals and rivers is like.