In August 2020, television celebrities Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse spent time filming for their TV series, Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing, on-board Stort Challenger, one of CanalAbility’s three specially adapted canal boats.  

Paul Whitehouse, Bob Mortimer – (C) Owl Power – Photographer: Parisa Taghizadeh

Following his heart surgery in 2015, Bob Mortimer was invited by his longtime friend and colleague Paul Whitehouse, who has also had heart surgery, to go on a fishing trip to help with his recuperation. This gave them the idea for their BBC programme Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing. 

In an interview with the Daily Express, Bob said: “I remember approaching this beautiful river for the first time and thinking that everyone should be able to get a ticket that allows them to have a two-hour stare at this environment.” 

Research by the Canal and River Trust, who protect the majority of the UK’s canals, has discovered spending time on our inland waterways is being recommended by GPs as a way to help combat mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression and severe stress.  

Our own research with clients has also shown that they very much valued the ability to get away, relax, and feel good when participating in one of our canal boat trips or holidays, and that they enjoyed the peace, tranquillity, and stress-free environment of being out on the river. 

CanalAbility were able to hire Stort Challenger to the production company Owl Power TV, and filming took place with Bob and Paul spending time fishing in Hertfordshire and returning to the boat to prepare their evening meal and spend the night on-board. 

You can watch Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing featuring CanalAbility on BBC iPlayer. 

CanalAbility operate specially adapted canal boats for people with a wide range of disabilities, health conditions or anyone experiencing disadvantages.

If you would like to enjoy the peace, tranquillity and spectacular scenery of the river on one of our accessible canal boats, contact us or visit the website for a live availability calendar.