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Big Steam Adventure | Preview (Channel 5)

Journalist and presenter John Sergeant, actor Peter Davison and steam afficionado Paul “Piglet” Middleton are back, and this time they’re exploring some of the most beautiful parts of Britain by steam.



Travelling by paddle steamer, train, traction engines and everything in between, they explore the Lake District, Dorset, The Highlands and the Isle of Wight. There’s plenty of laughter and quite a few disasters as they struggle to control these ancient vehicles, and plenty of time to take in some truly spectacular scenery.



In this episode John, Peter and Piglet explore the Lake District, one of the most stunning parts of the UK


The trio start their journey helping to fire up a narrow-gauge steam train at Ravenglass that will hopefully take them near the base of England’s tallest mountain, Scarfell Peak. While Piglet stokes the fires up front, John and Peter take it easy at the back, enjoying the views and indulging in a spot of afternoon tea.


For the next leg of their journey it’s all change as the trio head off-road aboard a rather bumpy miniature Foden steam van, with no seats.




It’s the most bone-shattering, uncomfortable mode of transport to date and the beauty and silence of the Lakes are shattered only by the cries of John and Peter bumping their way through miles of rough terrain.


As the light fades they reach their destination: the Swinside Stone Circle. But the sight of this ancient monument pales into insignificance compared to the relief of being able to extract themselves from the mini Foden.



The next day they visit an Aladdin’s cave of eccentric steam machines, belonging to Alex Sharphouse – a steam engineer who recently built the Talisman, a gigantic traction engine, from scratch.


As they travel through the lakes on this gigantic and incredible looking machine it’s like stepping back in time to the 1920s.


But no trip to the Lakes would be complete without a boat, and they take to the waters of Lake Windermere. And they’re in for a treat as they board Amazon, one of the boats from the 2016 Swallows and Amazons film. John - who as it turns out is the president of the Arthur Ransom society - takes to the helm.



The adventure across the Lake District concludes with a cuppa aboard Shamrock, a rare and rather impressive1906 steam launch to the bottom of Lake Windermere.


Big Steam Adventure begins Friday 3rd May on Channel 5.

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