Water way to make a living - we speak to the couple behind The Hippie Boat, currently moored in West Yorkshire

They're a familiar site along the waterways of the UK - and they're currently plying their trade in West Yorkshire!

By Richard Beecham
Saturday, 25th June 2022, 11:45 am

Not many people manage to make a living on Britain's waterways, but Pete and Jules Arman have a home business with a difference - running their own clothing and merchandise company direct from their canal boat.

Read More

Read More
26 photos to take you back to Leeds in 2006

Having been moored in Rodley last week, the two are set to sell their wares from Stanley Ferry this weekend, selling ethically-sourced clothing, gifts and accessories from their water-bound home.

Pete and Jules run The Hippie Boat. (Pic: Richard Beecham)

Pete, who worked in electrical engineering, and drama practitioner Jules met 20 years ago, before eventually leaving their careers to run The Hippie Boat full time.

"We used to freelance in our old jobs and spend the summers on the canal boat," said Jules. "But we just wanted to do it all year round, so we decided to set up a business on the boat and become boat traders."

The duo have owned their current boat Molly since 2017, and share their vessell with their dogs, Polly, Millie and Eric.

"It was originally called The Fairtrade Boat," said Jules, originally from Harrogate. "But everyone called us 'The Hippie Boat', so the name just stuck."

So what's life like on Britain's waterways?

"It's a good life," she said. "There are more than 500 traders living on the canals of Britain, and more and more people are living on boats now.

"People are moving out of cities and towns and deciding to live on the water.

"You are living off-grid, pretty much.

"It's got it's challenges - you have to empty out your own toilets! We also have to think about the weather too. Nights can be long and cold outside during the winter."

Despite running their business for seven years, the two are experienced canal-farers, so what advice would they give to those considering leaving their old life behind for a new life on the water?

"Do your research," Jules said. "It's not all sitting on the front of your boat sipping your glass of wine. It's quite physically active.

"But it is a lovely way of life - it makes you slow down. It's also a good way to see the country."

The Hippie Boat will be moored at Stanley Ferry, Wakefield, this Saturday and Sunday.