8 Good Reasons to Watch Channel 4’s Narrow Escapes

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In recent years there has been an increasing number of documentaries on TV about narrowboat life; from Great Canal Journeys, presented by charming and respected British actors, to liveaboard diaries from Robbie Cumming and Kevin Shelly. The latest series, Narrow Escapes, can be seen at Channel 4 On Demand.

In the first episode, father and son Paul and Chris take their floating pizzeria through the Peaks, while solo boater Emma embarks on an epic adventure. It’s fascinating to see the changes Paul and Chris have made to their boat, including fitting a wood-fired pizza oven.  Later episodes follow various live-aboard characters, either buying their first boat or renovating their current boat. Boaters live and work all over  the UK canal network, so it’s a chance to check out the scenery from the Kennet and Avon Canal in Somerset to the Bingley Five Rise in Yorkshire, without ever leaving your armchair! This series offers a serene escape from your everyday life.

Here are eight more reasons to watch Narrow Escapes:

Diverse Stories: Discover the unique and inspiring stories of people from all walks of life, ages, and backgrounds who call the canals their home. It’s also a fascinating insight into the different jobs that boaters do, in order to finance their floating lifestyle. Over the course of 20 episodes we meet a yoga instructor, a comedian, a florist and a theatre worker. Some have started boat-based businesses, from selling restored bicycles on the towpath, to selling pizzas from a boat, or running a hotel boat on the Leeds and Liverpool canal.

Lifestyle Insights: Gain a deeper understanding of the canal lifestyle, from continuous cruisers to business owners operating from their boats. See the funny side of the lifestyle, watching Joel, ‘The Angry Boater’ do his comedy stand-up show.

Affordable Living: Learn how young people and others are finding creative, affordable housing solutions amidst the cost-of-living crisis.

Community Spirit: Experience the sense of community among canal dwellers, showcasing the support and friendships that thrive on the water.

Historical Context: Explore the rich history of England’s canal systems and how they’ve evolved to support modern living. Featured engineering wonders of the waterways include the Caen Hill flight of 29 locks, the Pontcysyllte Aquaduct and the Anderton Boat lift.

Practical Tips: Pick up valuable tips and advice on canal living, boating, and maintaining a narrowboat. If you’re thinking of buying a boat, this shows you the actual highs and lows. Witness the challenges canal dwellers face and how they overcome them, offering a real and relatable glimpse into their lives.

Behind-the-Scenes: Meet the workers and volunteers who maintain the waterways, learning about the vital roles they play in keeping the canal system running smoothly.

Adventure and Freedom: Get inspired by retirees and others who have embraced the freedom and adventure of life on the canals.

If you’d like a taste of that freedom and adventure yourself, join us on a narrowboat holiday, or try day boat hire, in Cambridgeshire, a short distance from London. Narrow Escapes offers a rich tapestry of stories and experiences that highlight the charm, challenges, and allure of life on England’s canals. Here at Fox Narrowboats, we’d love to introduce you to our less-crowded waterways, so  that you can  have your own  adventure.

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