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Started in the mid-1700s, they served as the internal transportation system for Great Britain's "Industrial Revolution". By the early 19th Century, they crisscrossed Britain covering more than 5,000 miles through major cities and rural hamlets. "They", in this case, are the canals of England, Scotland and Wales. Abandoned by industry today, the canals have become a playground for holiday boaters as well as "home" for many retirees who live year round on their floating homes. In re-visiting and re-filming this unusual and colorful part of Britain, film producers Fran and Brooke Reidelberger hire an old-fashioned canal boat to travel in the wake of history, discover modern engineering marvels, and enjoy the timeless British countryside.
. Start at Beeston Castle Wharf in Northwest England at a canal boatyard built in 1775, a year before the birth of the United States. Charles Hardern and family run a small fleet of rental boats and a substantial boat repair facility, both highly regarded.
Climb a flight of four locks at Hurlston -- operating the locks yourself -- and learn about a major water supply for the canal system.
. Meet Robert Brown, a retired school teacher who spends his retirement years painting canal scenes.
. Visit the Cadbury Company in the Welsh town of Chirk to watch cocoa beans turned into chocolate delicacies.
. Cross the Pontcysllte Aqueduct, 1,000 feet long and 126 feet
above the Welsh River Dee.
. Travel under lift bridges and through a one-lane tunnel -- with no lights!
. Attend the International Music Festival in Lllangollen, Wales.
. Tour the ancient walled city of Chester with classic half-timbered buildings, Roman history, and modern shops.
. Enjoy wildlife and wild flowers during a misty morning along the Shropshire Union Canal.. Ride and learn about the Anderton Lift, a mechanical monster first built by the Victorians to move boats 50 feet up and down between the Weaver River and the Trent and Mersey Canal. The lift was altered over time, abandoned in the late 20th Century, and only recently rebuilt and re-opened as an aide for recreational boaters.. Watch talented, modern day craftsmen at Stoke-on-Trent as they use Josiah Wedgwood's priceless formulas to produce elegant pieces of pottery that we call "Wedgwood" today. . Discover a "secret" bunker near Nantwich. The 35,000 square foot underground facility was designed as a center for regional government in case of nuclear attack in the 1950s. It was recently declassified and opened to the public for tours.
. Dine at the "Shroppie Fly", a popular canal side pub at Audlem. . Ride the Falkirk Wheel, the world's only rotating boatlift. Designed to replace
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