waterway books 

A selection of waterways related books for your interest, information and entertainment. Where possible we have included book reviews, and have a special feature on a particularly popular author each season. 

If you have a favourite waterways book or author, please let us know by writing to the editor.

Author of the season - David Robertson

David Robertson lives close to the Staffordshire and Worcester Canal at Hinksford. He is a regular contributor for CanalsOnline Magazine, and writes with a great sense of humour, making his articles highly enjoyable. Dave has also written plays for Radio, short stories and some poetry - quite apart from being an ardent blogger.

misty from Misty Books by David RobertsonDave is most famous, however, for his series of books for children. The Misty books are about the adventures of Dave's border collie Misty and her doggie friends. At the moment there are three Misty books published.

The first in the set is called 'Dognapped', and is based on a canal boat adventure. Misty and her friends board a narrowboat after hearing a mournful cry from within. No sooner do they find the source of the cry than they realise that the boat is moving...

Stunningly illustrated by Ian R Ward, 'Dognapped' reached the final of the 2017 People's Book Prize, thus making it one of the very best children's books in the country.  


Special Offer - a wonderful Christmas gift!!

David has offered to sell these books at the special price of £8.99 each, two at £7.99 each or three at £6.99 each (p&p included) He will inscribe them for you if you wish and Misty will sign with her pawprint.

To place an order please contact Dave by email: (mention CanalsOnline Magazine!)

Free Prize Draw

David Robertson has kindly donated a complete set of the three Misty books - all dutifully signed by Misty, the main character.

In order to win this lovely set of paperbacks, simply email the editor with the subject Misty Books, and your email address will be entered into our free prize draw. Don't forget to give us your name and a phone number.!

The competition will close on Saturday 30th November at mid-day. Winner will be notified by telephone, and the result posted on this page and social media.

Basingstoke Canal inspires new children’s book

A science-writer-turned-author is creating a new children’s book inspired by the true story of the Basingstoke Canal.

Jenny Pateman with children Emmy & JoeyIt is called Skip’s Waterway and it’s written and illustrated by Jenny Pateman, who lives near the canal and volunteers with the Basingstoke Canal Society. Ms Pateman originally wrote the book for her two children.

“My children love cycling, canoeing and exploring along the canal – it’s such a beautiful green space where they can experience the kind of freedom that is sadly all too scarce for children of today. I wanted to write a book for them that captured that spirit of adventure, while teaching them something of the fascinating history and engineering of their canal too.” Ms Pateman said. “They really enjoyed it and that made me wonder if other kids would like it too.”

Skip's Waterway by Jenny PatemanThe book is aimed at children aged 5 and up.

Jenny shared a synopsis of the story with us.

Skip from Skip's Waterway by Jenny PatemanWhen the dilapidated but beautiful Basingstoke Canal is threatened with closure, young Emma and her crew embark on an audacious expedition to save it.

The adventurers must navigate Baisey the talking narrowboat to the end of the canal at Basingstoke, but time is running out.

Along the way they uncover fascinating engineering, find an untamed wilderness and Emma even earns herself a new nickname – “Skipper”, or Skip for short.

Skip's Waterway by Jenny PatemanJust a mile from Basingstoke the canal runs dry, leaving the expedition well and truly stuck in the mud. With time almost up, will Skip and her crew find a way out of their sticky situation? How can they save the canal now?

order your copy now

Jenny is now taking advance orders for the book via her Kickstarter page. This will raise the funds to get the first edition printed and published, before it goes on sale more widely in shops and online (backers pay nothing until the book goes to print). A donation will go the Basingstoke Canal Society.

“My hope is to encourage more families to visit and enjoy the Canal as mine does, and to raise money to help preserve this beautiful green space for future generations.”

Ms Pateman says she hopes the book will be the first in a series she writes based on true stories from the Basingstoke and other canals.


About the Canal:

The Basingstoke Canal is a beautiful waterway that runs for 32 miles across Surrey and Hampshire. The canal is both a popular recreational amenity for the community and an important wildlife habitat. It was restored from a derelict state in the 1970s and 80s by hundreds of volunteers. Most of the waterway has been a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) since 1995. The Canal originally continued to Basingstoke (a total distance of 37 miles), but is not been passable beyond Greywell (Hampshire) since the Greywell Tunnel collapsed in 1932.

About the author:

Jenny Pateman, scientist and children's authorJenny Pateman lives in Odiham, Hampshire. She volunteers with the Basingstoke Canal Society as Editor of the Canal Bulletin and social media administrator.

The Skip’s Waterway Kickstarter crowdfunding page is live until Wed, October 16 2019:

You may contact Jenny by email or follow her through her Facebook page.


Some popular waterways books...


The wrong way round by Lesley Pearson           The Wrong Way Round, by Rob & Lesley Pearson

In the beginning there was the Plan. And like all good plans it was thoroughly researched and meticulously, erm, planned, and with various alternative back-up plans in place.Then The Plan meets The Canal - eventually you come to realise that plans mean nothing! They pale into insignificance and wither away like an ethereal dream. Plans and "Living the Dream" on a narrowboat are polar opposites, the Ying and Yang of existence. You encounter Canal Time - that special dimension where the Spanish phrase Mañana would be appropriate, except Canal Time does not countenance such a sense of urgency! Take the title of this book, for example. How to describe the circumstances where a canal journey of 149 miles and 51 locks in around 2 weeks, actually took four months, 650 miles (including a tidal river) and 441 locks. (oh, and losing 2 waist sizes in the process)? An essential read for anyone who is contemplating buying and living on a narrowboat - to learn how *not* to do it. Stop Press: - I have just had a serious telling off! Book cover design and artwork by the lovely Lesley Pearson

(Picture & blurb taken from Amazon, although written by Rob Pearson...)


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