Snatching the sound of Manannán's song on the bite of a northwesterly wind
Sept. 12, 2021

Shrewley Tunnel: Sailing dark waters

Join me tonight on a journey on the dark waters of Shrewley Tunnel. In this episode we travel not just through the tunnel but also through history and try to capture the life of those who worked the canals by physically 'legging' boats through.   

Journal entry:

“12th September, Friday

Having Brunch at the Gongoozler’s Rest Café.
The smell of wet earth and fallen apples
A frisson of rain among rowan leaves
Scarlet berries decorating the ground.

A sleepy wasp crawls over my hand.
 I can feel its tiny life vibrating within it.

Later we watch a duck asleep in the rain.
 Days together like this – make the difference.”   

Episode Information

Audio recorded at Shrewley Tunnel on 27th August 2021. 
 Photographs taken during this trip can be viewed on the Nighttime on Still Waters’ Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter accounts. 

In this episode I read extracts from the following books:

J.M. Pearson (2017) Pearson’s Canal Companions: South Midlands. 10th edn. Published by Wayzgoose. 

L.T.C. Rolt (1944) Narrow Boat first published by Eire and Spottiswoode

Sue Wilkes (2011) Tracing Your Canal Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians. Published by Casemate.

John Hollingshead (1860) Odd Journeys In and out of London. Published by Goombridge and Sons.

I also refer to Allan Scott-Davies (2010) Shadows on the Water: The haunted canals and waterways of Britain. Published by The History Press.

General Details

In the intro and the outro, Saint-Saen's The Swan is performed by Karr and Bernstein (1961) and available on CC at

Two-stroke narrowboat engine recorded by 'James2nd' on the River weaver, Cheshire. Uploaded to on 23rd June 2018. Creative Commons Licence. 

Piano interludes composed and performed by Helen Ingram.

All other audio recorded on site. 

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