You don’t often think of canal boats at the Hay Festival, but they starred this year to celebrate the 70th anniversary of LTC Rolt’s Narrow Boat – the book that ‘saved the canals’ and launched modern boating.

A talk and discussion on the book, which sparked one of Britain’s greatest conservation movements and rescued the nation’s canals from destruction, was hosted by BBC Radio 4 presenter and ex-Waterways Recovery Group member Libby Purves.

She was joined by Canal Laureate and boater Jo Bell, and industrial archaeologist and historian Dr Geraint Coles in front off an audience of some 500, most of them canal boaters.

Later, Tom Rolt’s widow Sonia, accompanied by her sons Richard and Tim, launched a special anniversary limited edition of the seminal book at the festival.

You can watch the talk and discussion here

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