Thursday, 25 October 2012

Longest Narrowboat Journey in the World

A couple of years ago when visiting our friends Paul and Chris (not forgetting Ivy) on their narrowboat which they live on near Arras we watched a film of the longest narrowboat journey in the world.  This was undertaken by Nick Sanders in a specially prepared narrowboat and butty.  (Were they names Unspoilt by Progress I & II?) Their journey was intended to go from the Black Country to the Black Sea but the butty sank somewhere on the Danube, I think . I believe the butty was eventually raised and joined the motor boat but my mind is a bit hazy on this point.

I have been unable to find a copy of the film but was reminded of it as we passed through Bollington on the Macclesfield Canal last week.

There on the bank was this motor boat with a head poking out of the side hatch.  Unfortunately the head disappeared and I was unable to verify whether this if the original boat or not.

Perhaps someone with a better memory or a copy of the film could clarify this.


  1. No 22 here, I have that video somewhere, must look for it.

  2. Hi Andy,
    That would be great if you can find the film and add anything to our knowledge. Nick Sanders own website has much to say about his vaious motorcyle and pushbike exploits but completely ignores this incredible journey.
    Waiting with baited breath......

  3. Peter, May have got it wrong on owning the video, I have found the Chris Coburn/Laurence Hogg videos of his boat NB Progress, but not the Nick Sanders - NB Unspoilt by Progress videos. I know I have seen them, I remember they had a rough crossing of the Channel, the butty deffo sank in deep water due to some big overflows on the Danube, a local harbour crane raised the butty and they resumed the journey, and returned to the Uk, all I can remember is that they where both specially built with planked decks to keep the water out, I think they where built by Evans and co? and sponsored by Banks Brewery.
    I don,t think he researched well as he had to be towed back up the Danube as the current was too strong. I cannot remember anything else.

    1. Andy
      thanks for this info.
      I had not heard where the boats were built but the other points all sound familiar

    2. Nick writes about the sinking, and how he very nearly drowned himself, later in the journey, in his book 'The Loneliness of the long distance biker' available from his website. It's a hell of a read, notwithstanding the fact that it obviously wan't proof-read or edited by anyone!

    3. Nick
      Your commets ring true - the film is poorly made and slow with a singularly unimformative commentary


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