BBC Four’s Canal Boat Diaries returns to Yorkshire for new series

Robbie Cumming with his narrow boat on the Rochdale Canal at Stubbing Wharf in Hebden Bridge, West Y

Robbie Cumming with his narrow boat on the Rochdale Canal at Stubbing Wharf in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Photo by Tim Smith. - Credit: Archant

Robbie Cumming returns to Yorkshire for the third series of BBC Four’s Canal Boat Diaries, which sees him cruise through new towns and villages on his rustic narrowboat, the Naughty Lass. 

The first series featured the canals of West Yorkshire - from Marple through Saddleworth stopping off to pick up supplies in Slaithwaite, and mooring up in Aspley basin in Huddersfield. 

Another episode started in Sowerby Bridge, stopping in Hebden Bridge and then onto Todmorden to discuss the difference between the two neighbouring canal towns. 

Season two, saw him head south from Ellesmere Port on the Shropshire Union Canal and the River Severn on his way towards Birmingham. 

Robbie Cumming on Naughty Lass

Robbie Cumming on Naughty Lass - Credit: Archant

In the third series, which was filmed in the summer and autumn of 2021, the waterways enthusiast navigates a challenging 170-mile stretch of the canal and river network, soaking up the scenery while making his way through some beautiful landscapes in Lancashire and Yorkshire. 

Starting at the Wigan Lock Flight, he takes on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, encountering the Burnley Embankment, also known as the Straight Mile, which is a 1,256 yards long feat of engineering, erected 60 feet above the Calder and Brun valleys. 

Crossing the Pennines, Robbie heads to Gargrave, a point where the Leeds and Liverpool Canal meets the River Aire. He also encounters another engineering masterpiece of the inland waterways, the Bingley Five Rise Locks

Bingley 5 Rise Lock by Maree Coates

Bingley 5 Rise Lock by Maree Coates - Credit: Archant

Built in the 18th Century , these five locks operate as a 'staircase' 60 foot fligh, is is labelled as one of the seven wonders of the waterways along with the Burnley Embankment and the Anderton Boat Lift in Cheshire.  

In the later episodes, Robbie explores the Victorian village of Saltaire, built in the 19th century by industrialist Sir Titus Salt to house the workforce at Salts Mill, the textile mill on which he built his fortune. 

The name of the village is a combination of the founder's surname and the name of the river and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2001 due to its influence on developments in industrial social welfare and urban planning. 

The New Mill,Saltair by Karol Gajewski

The New Mill,Saltair by Karol Gajewski - Credit: Archant

On his journey towards his destination of the cathedral city of Ripon, he also moors up in Leeds and goes in search of an abandoned waterway on the Aire and Calder Navigation, onto the Selby Canal and up the tidal River Ouse to York.

Life on the Yorkshire waterways - the tranquility of a slow-paced existence


Robbie Cummings has made a career from living on his narrowboat, and found love on Yorkshire’s canals.

 Life on the Yorkshire waterways