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John Sergeant, Peter Davison and Paul ‘Piglet' Middleton travel from London to Scotland using only the power of steam. There's lots of fun, plenty of bumps in the road and loads of gorgeous countryside, as the three of them face all sorts of trials and tribulations en route. From paddle boats to barges, steam cars to trains and traction engines they'll discover the history and engineering genius of the machines that transport them.

Genres: Travel
Station: Channel 5 (GB)
Rating: 0/10 from 0 users
Status: Running
Start: 2023-04-25

The Big Steam Adventure Air Dates

S01E04 - Episode 4 Air Date: 16 May 2023 20:00 -

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John, Peter and Paul set off from Whitby in their first vehicle of the day, a 1937 open-topped steam lorry, but when it breaks down, the trio have to hitch a ride to Beamish, the living history museum. From Beamish they head to the oldest railway line in the world, before hopping on a steam launch on the River Tyne. With just 75 miles to go and their journey coming to an end, they jump in their final steam vehicle and set off for the Scottish border.

S02E01 - Lake District Air Date: 03 May 2024 19:00 -

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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, Scafell Pike. 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.

S02E02 - Isle of Wight Air Date: 10 May 2024 19:00 -

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In this episode John Sergeant, Peter Davison and Paul ‘Piglet' Middleton explore the Isle of Wight, an Island opposite Southampton on England's southern coast. The trio start their journey on the mainland, boarding the Waverley, the last passenger-carrying steam ship in the world.

Peter takes the helm as they set sail across the Solent, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. While Peter struggles to steer a straight course, John and Piglet explore the enormous engines that power this magnificent machine.

Safely ashore ‘The Island', as it's known, they meet up with Ralph and his hundred-year-old Sentinel steam lorry and head to Carisbrooke Castle, taking the scenic cliff-top route along the Military Road! Exploring the castle offers an insight into the island's history and also provides a costly game of boule for John who, as loser, has to treat Piglet and Peter to dinner at the famous Crab Shack on the beach near Ventnor.

The next day they continue their travels starting on the Isle of Wight steam railway where Peter has a go at restoring one of the historic carriages before traveling on Calbourne, a 135-year-old steam engine.

The final leg sees John and Peter towed unceremoniously behind a converted steam roller – Dragon Fly. Now a fabulous Showman's wagon with surrounding lights, this is a beautiful looking machine. But there's a problem, there's only room for two! A caravan is hitched up for John and Peter, but the journey on solid tyres is anything but pleasant as they're bounced around the final few miles to Bembridge.

When they arrive, it's all worth it. A drink overlooking the harbour with the Showman lit up in all its glory is a fitting end to this trip across a magical island.

S02E03 - Dorset Air Date: 17 May 2024 19:00 -

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In this episode, John Sergeant, Peter Davison and Paul ‘Piglet' Middleton explore the stunning county of Dorset.

The trio start their journey preparing the best-looking train they've been on so far: the T3. This train has been out of use for as long as John has been alive but is now restored to her former glory and ready for her maiden voyage. But not before John is set to work with the final, grubby preparations. Then they climb aboard for a wonderful journey through the stunning Dorset countryside. John and Peter reminisce about their childhood and the holidays they spent here in the county.

Passing Corfe Castle it looks like a scene from a fairytale. But Peter has other things on his mind – sweets! After spending far too long in the traditional sweetshop they climb aboard Young Buster, a steam-powered Leyland Sherpa and drive up and down rolling hills to Kimmeridge Bay.

The next day the weather has changed: storm Babet has hit. Calling in a favour from series 1, they climb aboard Puffing Billy, a nine-tonne bus with very little tyre grip for the roads - the Dorset hills are going to be a challenge. They burn through a lot of steam and a refuel, or re-water as it's called in the steam world, doesn't go to plan, Peter is left frustrated.

But John is having none of it, insisting they take a walk along the world-famous Chesil Beach, a UNESCO site. Peter is unimpressed, its cold and windy and there is ‘no pier, or shops' and so they carry on arriving at Portland Bill Lighthouse as darkness falls. The look out over a rough sea as the huge Portland Bill lighthouse beam starts rotating behind them warning ships of the lurking dangers.

The next day the weather has calmed, and they continue their journey on a 95-year-old cider wagon. John insists on a stop at Abbotsbury Swannery where Piglet is shocked to learn that these magnificent birds used to be a regular on the menu for the monks who lived nearby. They then carry on along the stunning coast road and rolling Dorset hills before arriving at their destination, West Bay.

S02E04 - The Highlands Air Date: 24 May 2024 19:00 -

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In this episode John Sergeant, Peter Davison and Paul ‘Piglet' Middleton explore the Scottish Highlands.

The trio start their journey on a ‘White' steam car, a car so exclusive that it used to carry American presidents. Their journey is across the Cairngorms Mountain range. However, the typical Scottish weather is against them and they have to battle the elements to cross this vast wilderness.

They're rewarded, though, when they arrive in Aviemore and board the Black 5. A spectacular train whose route takes them through a stunning valley and along the river Spey. From the observation carriage, the scenery is breath-taking, but it needs to be seen in all its glory, so - incredibly - they stop this huge train in the idle of nowhere and get off to take in this perfect setting.

The next day starts with a steam boat trip down Loch Ness, but things don't go to plan. Half way down this mysterious stretch of water the wind picks up dramatically creating waves that the 28-foot steam launch Vesuvius isn't built to handle. What makes matters worse is a gasket that blows on the engine, leaving them without power and at the mercy of the elements.

Finally, and thankfully, ashore, the last leg of this epic journey is aboard Heilan Laddy, a stream truck that looks incredible with a full and colourful history to match. Peter takes the wheel and they head off along one of the most spectacular roads in Britain. But John's nerves are tested to the limit as Peter appears to be all over the road. A respite by a beautiful lock with a traditional meal of haggis served with ‘neeps and tatties' cooked on the trucks embers, couldn't come soon enough.

They end this journey as night falls at the iconic Eilean Donan Castle, one of the most recognisable landmarks in Scotland.

Next Episode of The Big Steam Adventure is

Season 2 / Episode 4 and airs on 24 May 2024 19:00

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