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Discussing topics and interviewing personalities from around the waterway network, Waterways World Editor, Bobby Cowling, explores the rich culture of our inland navigations.

Whether you’re a boater, walker, nature-lover or heritage enthusiast, each episode will bring you closer to this unique world with a peaceful, slower pace of life, and give fascinating insights into our industrial past.

The Waterways World Podcast is brought to you in association with  ABC Leisure Group

Scroll down to listen to the latest podcast or catch up on any episodes you may have missed.

Buying and selling boats: Ian Parrott

Ian Parrott is the general manager of the New & Used Boat Company’s office at Mercia Marina, and he has spent 15 years in the boat-brokerage business. He is also a keen waterways enthusiast with his own heritage craft. In conversation with WW editor Bobby Cowling, he provides a fascinating insight into his industry.

Released: 4th March 2022

Female boat trainees of WWII: Mike Constable

Mike Constable is an authority on the female trainees of World War II who volunteered to work cargo-carrying boats and, in so doing, experienced a completely new way of life. In conversation with editor Bobby Cowling, Mike provides insights into the role of the trainees and dispels the myth that they were ever disparagingly referred to as the ‘Idle Women’.

Released: 18th February 2022

Pets on boats: Tony Jones

WW features writer Tony Jones has a keen interest in animals and has previously worked as a zoo-keeper. In conversation with Bobby Cowling, he discusses the practicalities and considerations of keeping pets on boats, plus some of the more exotic species you might find living afloat.

Released: 4th February 2022

Living afloat with a family: Richard MacKenzie

Richard MacKenzie is the owner of a narrowboat-based business selling handmade jewellery. But he also lives aboard his boat with his wife and two children – and, as the kids are home-educated, the family are free to continuously cruise the network. In conversation with WW editor Bobby Cowling, Richard provides an insight into family life afloat.

Released: 21st January 2022

Today’s waterway restoration scene: Andrew Denny

There are over 50 waterway restoration schemes active in England and Wales – some making rapid headway, others facing significant difficulties. In conversation with Bobby Cowling, WW news editor Andrew Denny provides an overview of the contemporary restoration scene, with a focus on the projects that have recently been in the headlines.

Released: 7th January 2022

Series 3 of Canal Boat Diaries: Robbie Cumming

Popular boat vlogger and TV star Robbie Cumming recently completed filming of the third series of BBC Four’s ‘Canal Boat Diaries’, which sees him cruise from Wigan in Greater Manchester to Ripon in North Yorkshire. In conversation with WW editor Bobby Cowling, he discusses the highlights of his trip and his passion for the waterways of north England.

Released: 10th December 2021

Evolution of canal boat design: Mark Langley

Mark Langley has been Waterways World’s technical expert for 15 years. In conversation with editor Bobby Cowling, he discusses the advancements of inland boat design, from very basic post-World War II craft through to today’s highly sophisticated narrowboats.

Released: 26th November 2021

Sustainable boating: Matthew Symonds

In this episode we discuss the green future of inland boating with the Canal & River Trust’s national boating manager, Matthew Symonds. At the Crick Boat Show in August, Matthew participated in a seminar on moving the waterways away from fossil fuel-burning boats. But what are the alternatives to diesel and petrol, are they viable and how much do they cost?

Released: 12th November 2021

Early years of leisure boating: John Liley

John Liley has devoted much of his adult life to boating and the inland waterways. As a teenager, he became involved in early IWA campaigns and he even met its founding members, Robert Aickman and Tom Rolt. In conversation with WW editor Bobby Cowling, he describes the fledging years of the leisure-boating era, and his journey to owning a luxury hotel-barge on France’s Canal du Nivernais. 

Released: 29th October 2021

History of working boaters: Lorna York

Canal boat families historian Lorna York is descended from a long line of working boaters - indeed, she was the first in her family to be born on land. In conversation with WW editor Bobby Cowling, she discusses both the social history of the waterways community and researching boating ancestry.

Released: 15th October 2021

Series 2 update from Bobby Cowling

Waterways World editor Bobby Cowling looks back at series one of the Waterways World podcast and reveals the series two launch date

Released: 17th September 2021

Women of the waterways

Alarum Productions was founded in 2016 by Kate Saffin and Heather Wastie to celebrate the real-life stories of women on the waterways through public performances, publications and podcasts. In conversation with WW editor Bobby Cowling, the pair discuss their recent project, I Dig Canals, and their experiences of performing at canalside venues while touring the country by boat.

Released: 30th July 2021

Cycling and the Waterways

As an avid boater and cycling enthusiast, Richard Fairhurst is well placed to give a balanced perspective of towpath cycling. In conversation with editor Bobby Cowling, he offers advice on travelling the waterways by bike.

Released: 16th July 2021

Cruising in Europe

For many years in WW magazine, writer Alison Alderton has documented her extensive travels across Europe aboard a Dutch barge-replica. In conversation with editor Bobby Cowling, she describes her love of the waterways of Ireland and Sweden, and her passion for out-of-season boating.

Released: 2nd July 2021

History of living afloat

Best known as a TV writer and performer, Julian Dutton also writes books, and his latest, ‘Water Gypsies: a History of Life on Rivers and Canals’, explores the long tradition of living afloat in this country, from ancient times through to today. In conversation with editor Bobby Cowling, Julian describes growing up on a house-boat at Chelsea in the 1960s and the many fascinating things he uncovered during his research.

Released: 22nd June 2021

Writer and liveaboard boater Tony Jones

Tony Jones has lived afloat for over 16 years and has written two practical guides to boating, as well as regular articles for Waterways World magazine. In discussion with editor Bobby Cowling, he describes his unconventional journey to boat-ownership, how the waterways inspired his writing career and his unusual solution to creating more space aboard his floating home.

Released: 4th June 2021

The Minimal List: Well-travelled boaters

After four years as continuous-cruisers, Jo and Michael Morehouse are now close to having boated every waterway on the connected system. In conversation with Bobby Cowling, they discuss being the first to complete IWA’s Silver Propeller Challenge and the surprise success of their YouTube videos, posted under the alias Minimal List.

Released: 21st May 2021

The Piano Boat

As a floating concert hall and musical hotel-boat, complete with its own grand piano and internationally acclaimed pianist, the Piano Boat is a unique concept. Set to begin operations this summer, we speak to owners Masayuki Tayama and Rhiana Henderson.

Released: 7th May 2021

Stephanie Horton of River Canal Rescue

River Canal Rescue is the UK’s largest national breakdown and recovery service for inland boats. Managing director Stephanie Horton discusses the growth of the company over the past 20 years and how a post-lockdown boating boom is already having an impact on its work.

Released: 23rd April 2021

Waterways vloggers Foxes Afloat

Colin Dobson-Fox is one half of famous waterways YouTubers, Foxes Afloat. In conversation with editor Bobby Cowling, he discusses his journey to becoming an online star and liveaboard boater, and its effects on his mental health.

Released: 9th April 2021

Actor Claudia Jessie on life afloat

Best known for playing headstrong Eloise in the popular Netflix drama Bridgerton, actor Claudia Jessie has recently moved aboard a narrowboat in Birmingham. In conversation with the WW team she describes how living afloat helps her mental health, provides a welcome contrast to her TV career and represents the fulfilment of a long-held dream.

Released: 26th March 2021

WW News Editor Andrew Denny

Andrew Denny has been a boat-owner for over 20 years and joined the WW team in 2010, having established himself as Britain’s foremost waterways blogger under the alias of ‘Granny Buttons’. We discuss his pioneering blogging activities, his rather bizarre introduction to boating and his impressions of the changing nature of our canals and rivers.

Released: 12th March 2021

Boat-builder Michelle Greenwood

Co-owner of Tristar Boats, Michelle Greenwood, discusses some of the company’s more unusual projects, how customer demands are changing, and what it’s like to work in a largely male-dominated industry.

Released: 26th February 2021

Jeremy Corbyn on the waterways

It’s not widely known that MP and former Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is a huge waterways enthusiast. In conversation with the WW team, he discusses his early boating experiences, his passion for, and involvement in, canal restoration, and his long-held interest in industrial history.

Released: 12th February 2021

Chief Executive of the Canal & River Trust, Richard Parry

The Canal & River Trust is the charity that administers the majority of navigable waterways in England and Wales, and Richard Parry has been at its helm for over seven years. In conversation with editor Bobby Cowling, he discusses the trust’s achievements and setbacks to date, how both the ongoing Covid-19 crisis and climate change are posing new challenges to its work, and his vision for its future.

Released: 29th January 2021

Waterways writer and historian Andy Tidy

Regular Waterways World contributor Andy Tidy discusses life as a roving trader in 2020 and his passion for waterways history, particularly the canals of the West Midlands. 

Released: 15th January 2021

Marina owner Tim Coghlan

Marina owner and waterways heritage champion Tim Coghlan discusses the challenges of running a boat business this year, the changes he’s observed during his 32 years at Braunston and his celebrity boating friends.

Released: 18th December 2020

IWA National Chairman Paul Rodgers

A year into the role of national chairman of the Inland Waterways Association, Paul Rodgers discusses his vision for the future of the charity, the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic and his fairly recent introduction to canal cruising

Released: 4th December 2020

Sir David Suchet on boating

Actor Sir David Suchet, best known for playing Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, is an avid boater and prominent champion of waterways restoration. In conversation with the WW team, he describes being a trial-blazing liveaboard boater in the 1970s, his passion for waterways history and his recent acquisition of a narrowboat.

Released: 20th November 2020

Richard Fairhurst - cartographer and waterways enthusiast

Cartographer Richard Fairhurst discusses his passion for mapping our inland routes, along with his career in waterways journalism, his interest in canal restoration and his recent outings aboard his 40ft narrowboat.

Released: 6th November 2020

Sarah Henshaw on roving trading

Drawing on her experiences of running a narrowboat bookshop, author and WW deputy editor Sarah Henshaw discusses life as a roving trader on the inland waterways, along with some of her other boat-based adventures.

Released: 23rd October 2020

TV star Robbie Cumming

Popular waterways vlogger and TV star Robbie Cumming discusses the making of the second series of his BBC programme, ‘Canal Boat Diaries’, and the challenges and delights of solo boating. His conversation with editor Bobby Cowling was recorded outdoors at Gas Street Basin in September 2020. (Photo: Tim Smith)

Released: 9th October 2020

Professional Artist Rob Pointon talks about his love of waterways

Celebrated waterways artist Rob Pointon talks about the inspiration he takes from Britain’s canals and rivers, and his year exploring them aboard a narrowboat

Released: 25th September 2020