Fascinating TV Series “Travels By Narrowboat!” How A Change Of Life Led To Unique TV Success!

“I am a monumental gentleman sausage”

With that description, an unlikely TV star prepares and eats dinner in a most unusual way, and on a most unusual TV show:

Time For “Travels By Narrowboat!”

Well, there is SO much TV being created today – and I found one of the most unique TV shows I’ve seen – one man, Kevin Shelley, traveling solo by Narrowboat through England’s plentiful canals!

Here is how the show is described on Amazon Prime:

“One man quits his ‘bricks and mortar’ lifestyle, buys and moves onto a canal boat, then sets out to explore 2,500 miles of the UK’s inland waterways.”

Here’s a clip from the show that lays out the philosophy behind his journey:

You see, Shelley made a dramatic mid-life change just before he turned 50, selling everything he owned and buying a Narrowboat.

His plan was to spend the rest of his life navigating England’s man-made canals… and he created a YouTube channel to document the journey, filled with videos that show what its life to lead this unique life – yes, that’s him singing the theme song…

And that, my friends, is the show! One person’s very unique journey on a narrowboat…

And The Journey Is Six Seasons Strong!

My wife Alex didn’t think this was a real show…as an award-winning TV Producer who creates shows, she didn’t understand how a series could focus on this one thing: traveling along England’s canals by boat!

But guess what? The show has SIX seasons! Here’s what happened:

It all began when Shelley bought and refurbished his Narrowboat, took it out on England’s canals, and created a YouTube channel to share his journey with fellow boaters.

I have to tell you, the show is strangely hypnotic to watch!

Shelly’s boat is named Aslan, and he takes it across the country with amazingly unique views – for example he’s on a canal in the shot above, that’s how small some of them are!

I had to find out more about England’s canal system, which was man-made more than a hundred years ago, designed to take products and supplies deep into the country. As you see, some of the bridges and tunnels are microscopically small, barely large enough for one Narrowboat to get through.

These canals are connected by a seemingly endless series of locks, which adjust for the level of the water on both sides. They must be manually opened and closed each time a boat goes through – so Kevin is kept very busy – and which we see happen in every single episode:

Shelley does a great job positioning his camera to show him doing all of these various jobs himself – since he is alone on his narrowboat the entire time – and he talks to us throughout so we understand what is going on…

By the way, a “narrowboat” is specifically made to fit the narrow canal locks of the UK. These locks run through towns and countryside throughout the country!

Oh, and the canals go through towns, past houses and farms with lots of animals, and even through tunnels like this, which he must navigate in pitch darkness with only his boat light to guide him!

Talk about a tight squeeze! I also learned some fascinating things: like this canal that actually is an Aqueduct that goes OVER the highway!

This part of his journey is, frankly, terrifying, and he shares just how scary it is for him as well…

By the way, there are about 2,200 miles of navigable canals and rivers throughout the United Kingdom.

Oh, and since the boat goes about 2-3 miles were hour, there is a lot of time to show the scenery…yes, a Narrowboat is slow moving, and the show has that rhythm, but it’s funny as well: for example, here’s Shelley navigating a canal on the day of a fishing tournament…he inadvertently gets caught up among more than 500 anglers!

Shelley’s Unexpected Success!

Now, the big surprise:

Shelley’s unique YouTube series became a huge hit!

After two years on the canals sharing his videos on YouTube, Shelley had this announcement:

And that’s how I found the show, coming across it on Amazon Prime, where I was stunned to find out the series has SIX SEASONS!

Each season tells the story of one of his journeys on England’s canals – with all of the scenery, locks, bad weather and onboard cooking demos you expect!

Shelley shows you all aspects of life on a Narrowboat: from engine breakdowns to making dinners.

He shares some of his favorite meals, like an egg and bacon sandwich:

There are some really funny cooking sequences in the series, one of which led to a funny self-description in one episode:

“I am a monumental gentleman sausage”

By the way, as of 2014 there were more than 30,000 Narrowboats on the canals in the UK, and several other boaters who have youtube channels as well.

A Shocking Reveal…

One thing to know: Shelley is honest about living a solo life – and there are a few VERY dramatic moments in the show…the world can be a dangerous place – I don’t want to give anything away, but this show takes a shocking and sobering turn that caught me completely off guard…

Bravo to Shelley for creating a great show, with a unique storytelling method and a fascinating topic…and you can see him on his youtube channels with more videos as well: you know, this show gives me “wanderlust” and makes me want to try something different – like this for example:

Hav you ever wanted to “hang out in a hammock?” Well, I’d try it – click here to get more details on this death-defying activity:


https://johnrieber.com/2018/12/27/incredible-hammock-caravan-over-a-canyon-amazing-travel-adventures-around-the-world/

I have an entire list of cool things I want to do, and unique places I want to visit, like this:

This is a “hands bridge” win Vietnam, and I want to walk across it! Here’s where it’s located:

https://johnrieber.com/2020/01/03/my-wanderlust-wish-list-my-2020-adventure-travel-goals-from-around-the-world/

If you enjoy these posts, why not subscribe and never miss out? It’s easy, and there are NO ads of any kind, just stuff I like to share…click on the main page and “follow” me on the upper right…

https://johnrieber.com

Bravo to Kevin Shelley on the success of your show! Can’t wait for season 7!

Leave me a comment, and keep checking in for more pop culture, travel, food and more!



Categories: Books / Media, Exotic Travel, London, Memoirs, nature, Pop Culture, Travel, Travel Adventures, Travel Memoir, TV Show

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22 replies

  1. I LOVED watching Kevin’s show “Traveling On Narrow Boats” on Amazon Prime. I live in Grants Pass Oregon and watched his season one and was hooked! His six episodes let me enjoy seeing the canals and the cities and the countryside which was BEAUTIFUL! I hope to see more of Kevin’s work. He is a down to earth man and a Country Gentleman and his manner and the scenery was very calming. Can’t wait to see your next adventure Kevin;

    Like

  2. Brilliant series watching one a day. Just wondered when Kevin has one of his breaks does he still stay in his boat or a comfortable bolt hole, I imagine his boat needs regular serious maintenance

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My husband and i have watched your series and thoroughly enjoyed it all, love watching your cooking skills as well, each episode brings something new, keep up the good work.

    Like

  4. Hi so totally agree with you on travels by narrow boat with Kevin Shelly it is just incredible and I have watched it three times and it relaxes me and makes me laugh and I feel better about life in general after I watch it again and again and I want more!
    Can you PLEASE tell me how I can send him a message telling him how much his videos have helped my life and probably 100,000 other people?
    Leila

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kevin , my wife and I did America’s Great loop of 6300 miles through Canada and the us Great Lakes and down the river system back to Ft Myers Florida in 2017 aboard a mainship 400 and like
    You, the trip was amazing. You have made a great accomplishment in the trip for many reason both fiscally and mentally. I very much enjoyed you trip and your mechanical skills with Aslans 65 year old engine. I also enjoyed watching your cooking and and imagination you used to do almost all your meal aboard. Aslan must have been a very well maintained vessel before you got her because she served you ver well . Thanks for the iTunes series , Dan

    Like

  6. Congratulations to Mr. Shelley who I am now in Season 3 with, absolutely he deserves and has earned every success! Better than any ads or scripted fakery he genuinely with hard work reminds us every day matters and yes, you CAN do what you love. Trek e-biking at 55 across a state for example. Thanks Kevin, Aslan and John Reiner for sharing your thoughts and adventures with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so happy to have found your article on Kevin Shelley & his Narrowboat trip. I too, enjoyed the show immensely – so relaxing, informative & humorous. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love it…it’s easy to watch while cooking, and he is an engaging fellow doing something unique…he also doesn’t shy away from the darker elements of the journey as well…thanks for commenting, great to hear from you!

      Like

    • I just discovered this series. I collect books and one series is called the “Small Boat” series by Roger Pilkington. Pilkington is an heir of the Pilkington Glass family. He purchased an refurbished a narrowboat and started out exploring the inland waterways of England, and progressed to journeys through most of the inland waterways of continental Europe. His books are wonderful and they may have inspired Shelley.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Living on the water on canals and rivers is popular here, John. One of my stepsons lived on a moored narrow boat for two years. TV shows featuring canals are popular too. This one stars two acting legends, Sir Timothy West and his wife, Prunella Scales.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Canal_Journeys

    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. This sounds fantastic John. I’m adding it to my Prime queue right now.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I didn’t know about this particular series, John, but I know that a number of people in the UK live on house boats like this. I have seen them in Faversham where my family used to live. They have a dock there. It must be a different life.

    Liked by 1 person

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