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Tuesday 21 May

Leeds & Liverpool Burnley closure overruns to mid-June

The all-winter works to repair the Finsley Gate embankment and reopen the Leeds & Liverpool Canal at Burnley have been delayed again, until mid-June at the earliest.

CRT says it is working 12-hour days to finish the job. The work began on 12th November last year and was expected to take until mid-March. It involved removing over 1,200 tonnes of silt – almost double the amount originally estimated – before CRT could even start relining the canal bed, and the work then overran to early May.

It then found the existing towpath was unstable and needed to be rebuilt. The canal wall was also in a worse condition than thought, creating further headaches.

The project has now cost over £1.7m but CRT hopes to reopen on 18th June.

CRT has met serious difficulties in repairing the Finsley embankment. Photo: CRT

Andrew Denny  | 4.14pm | add a comment

Gifford and Harry Arnold are centrepiece of sunniest Easter Boat Gathering

This year's Easter Boat Gathering at the National Waterways Museum in Ellesmere Port turned out to be the hottest and sunniest ever, and also the most popular, with around 2,500 visitors and around 40 boats and barges attending.

A special visitor was historic horse-boat Gifford, towed by Lynx, and ceremonially welcomed back the museum after 18 months of work by Ade Polglase.

Gifford is a favourite of Di Skilbeck MBE, the chair of the Waterways Museum Society and an early member of the museum in 1976.

“She looks magnificent now and it was thrilling to see the response when she sailed back into the museum,” said Di.

Di has herself worked on the boat over many years and describes an unwelcome secret revealed during the refurbishment: fungus had developed between the outer and inner planks. Ade has replaced and repainted all the timbers, with signwriter Phil Speight supplying the decorative paintwork.


Harry Arnold remembered

Harry Arnold, the legendary waterways photographer – and first editor of Waterways World – is being remembered in an exhibition of his photographs at the National Waterways Museum until the end of October.

Harry was also one of the five founders of the museum in 1976, and in a 60-year career seems to have been simply everywhere and at every event on the Midland and North West canals with his camera.

Michelle Kozomara of CRT said: “Harry’s photographs show the transformation from disuse and dereliction to regeneration over the years.”

Harry’s wife Beryl and daughter Julie curated the selection and were special guests at the opening of the exhibition on 19 April.

Di Skilbeck and Ade Polglase at the National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port Easter 2019.


Harry Arnold's photographs are on show at Ellesmere Port until October.

Andrew Denny  | 4.12pm | add a comment

Stone and iron aqueduct rebuilt in brick

A model of the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct made from 15,000 Lego bricks was the star attraction at the Trevor Basin Visitor Centre over the May Day bank holiday.

Professional Lego maker Steve Guinness got visitors to help him assemble the model.

“It took me a couple of weeks to design and prototype,” Steve told WW. “The actual build can be assembled in a day, and I get visitors to help in the repetitive work of the 18 pillars.”

Earlier this year he built a cross section of a broad-beam lock for the National Waterways Museum, and it was such a hit he was hired again.

How can someone get his job? Is there a Lego College or something like that? Steve says he was a secondary school design and technology teacher for 18 years, and simply a Lego fan.

“It was all quite informal. My friend Nate and I won the first series of Channel 4's Lego Masters competition and this really gave us the confidence to give our business venture a go.”

They are repeating the aqueduct-building exercise at Trevor on 7th-8th September. More information is at thebrickguys.co.uk.

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Lego.  Photo: Steve Guinness 


Close up of the intricate detail.


Andrew Denny  | 4.09pm | add a comment

Yorkshire Waterways Museum closes

The Yorkshire Waterways Museum, which celebrated the history of coastal and inland shipping in the Humber estuary, closed its doors on 15th May after its parent charity also closed, saying it was unable to cover its costs.

The museum was founded in 1980 as one arm of the Sobriety Project, which helps people in rehabilitation from drug or alcohol dependency, as well as other vulnerable adults and children. The charity also ran boat trips, engineering and woodwork shops, and a range of community events. Located in Goole Docks, the museum held a wide collection of historic artefacts and archives related to waterways and boating, mainly from the Humber, Ouse and Aire & Calder Navigation.
The charity's name came not from its purpose, but from its flagship boat, Sobriety, a Humber keel built at Beverley in 1910. Still in good condition, it has became a floating venue and exhibition space.
The charity acquired four other boats, using them as trip boats or static venues in the docks; Whedale, a tug for Tom Puddings, Service, a 1957 Sheffield-class keel, Telethon Louise, a 1965 converted lifeboat used for dock trips, and Waterstart, a modern broad-beam canal-boat for day trips on the Aire & Calder.

The charity's high point was possibly in 2012, when Sobriety itself was one of the flagships in the Thames Diamond Jubilee pageant.

Members of the public who had loaned exhibits to the museum will be contacted to collect them, but no decision has been made on the future of the boats.

The Yorkshire Waterways Museum.
Sobriety at Goole Docks.

Andrew Denny  | 4.07pm | add a comment

Abingdon celebrates 'Dad's Navy'

A crowd estimated at 17,000 flocked to Abingdon riverside on 14th April for a nostalgic celebration of the Upper Thames Patrol, the river equivalent of the Home Guard during WWII.

The inspiration for the event came from Richard Hawkins, the Abingdon lock-keeper. He was creating an information panel about UTP and looking for a way of officially unveiling the memorial.

After talking with Thames boater Bret Wiles, who has been researching the history of the UTP, Richard suggested staging ‘Thames at War’.

Bret and his wife Karen, who live on a barge on the river, are themselves enthusiastic 1940s re-enactors, and have an extensive travelling exhibition for such events.

They persuaded others with military and civilian vehicles, period boats and two Dunkirk Little Ships to make it viable, along with numerous other enthusiasts. A final touch was the appearances from professional Winston Churchill actor Steve McTigue and two WWII-period singers, May Blossom and Jilly Melodies.

“Abingdon Lock was a beautiful setting for the event,” said Karen Wiles. “It has a small island between the lock and the weir for the memorial, and Richard got permission from the Environment Agency.”

Karen also said there was no official budget and everyone gave their services for free. It's been suggested that Thames at War becomes an annual event, but no decision has been made yet.

Bret and Karen are seeking more information on the Upper Thames Patrol, which is much less well known than the Home Guard. You can contact them at info@thamesatwar.co.uk. A brief history of the UTP is on their website thamesatwar.co.uk.

Rear Admiral Sir Basil Brooke takes the salute from the UTP at Wargrave, near Henley in 1940.


The new memorial panel on Abingdon Lock Island. Photo: Karen Wiles.

Churchill arrives on EA launch Evenlode. Photo: Karen Wiles.

'Winston Churchill' inspects the local home guard at Abingdon Lock's Thames at War.

Andrew Denny  | 4.05pm | add a comment

Obituary: P.J.G. Ransom

Obituary: P.J.G. Ransom: Canal and railway historian, Waterways World contributor and author who wrote over 25 books on transport.

Born in 1935 and growing up in rural Northamptonshire, not far from Crick, P.J.G (John) Ransom never took to farm life. But he did develop a passion for railways and would regularly cycle 5 miles to the West Coast Main Line to watch the fast steam trains coming through. His interest in trains evolved into an interest in all things connected with steam power, and eventually with canals.

In 1969 he took his first boat to Ireland, on which he wrote his first book, Holiday Cruising in Ireland. Tinkering with steam boats, he came to observe that they enjoy unrivalled freedom compared to steam engines which must stick to short sections of track.

He was an Inland Waterways Association member for more than 60 years. For 20 years he also owned a succession of hire cruisers operated by Swan Line of Fradley, along with steam boats on the canals.

He wrote widely on canal and railway history. His books included Waterways Restored (1974), The Archaeology of Canals (1979), Scotland’s Inland Waterways (1999) and
Bell’s Comet: How a Paddle Steamer Changed the Course of History (2012), and he regularly contributed to Waterways World.

One of John's more recent books, Iron Road, was shortlisted for the Saltire Society Scottish History Book of the Year award. 

P.J.G. Ransom.


Andrew Denny  | 4.04pm | add a comment

Andrew Bridgen named IWA Parliamentarian of the Year 2019

At a reception in the Houses of Parliament on 13th May the Inland Waterways Association named Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire, as its Parliamentarian of the Year for 2019. He was nominated by the Ashby Canal Trust for “unwavering support and assistance regarding many difficult issues that have arisen on the restoration”.

The 8 miles of the restoration are all within Bridgen's constituency, and ACT is the main organisation working to restore the route. It especially praised him for supporting them in the fight to limit the damage that would be caused by the planned HS2 high-speed rail route, particularly within a section of the restoration planned for Measham.

The nominators said: “Andrew Bridgen deserves to win this award. He is fully committed to seeing the completion of the Ashby Canal for the benefit of the local community.” They added he was also instrumental in persuading Leicestershire County Council to continue its support of the restoration.

This is the tenth year of the awards, hosted by IWA at parliament, and the best-attended yet, with 45 MPs and five members of the Lords, along with over 30 waterways restoration societies.

The event also saw a speech by Ros Kerslake, chief executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund who said that the fund is keen to support waterway restoration and urged societies to apply.


IWA Launches £100,000 Legacy Grant

The most surprising news was after IWA trustee Mike Palmer introduced MPs to the new Waterways in Progress report (News, WW June). He announced that IWA would be offering grants of up to £100,000 to pay for restoration projects that promote the Waterways in Progress aims, with the funding coming from legacies left by supporters.

The grants would not necessarily fund more navigable miles; the main requirement is that they give wider benefits with immediate results.

More information is at waterways.org.uk/waterways_in_progress_grant.

IWA chairman Ivor Caplan (l) presents Andrew Bridgen with the IWA Parliamentarian of the Year award for 2019.
The IWA's Waterways in Progress report

Andrew Denny  | 4.02pm | add a comment

Slough basin ready for redevelopment

Plans have finally been announced to redevelop the canal basin at the end of the Grand Union Canal's Slough Arm.

For decades the canal has been hidden behind a builder’s yard, neglected until a recent ground clearance by the Canal & River Trust. Although dredged recently, the arm has been a dull straight 4-mile cruise and the basin an uninviting destination.

Slough Borough Council has now announced a plan to work with CRT's specialist waterside developer, Waterside Places. They will regenerate the basin, install 240 homes, a public open space, shop, café and community hub overlooking the canal.

The site, formerly just 'Slough Basin', has now been called Stoke Wharf after the nearby road. No announcement has been made about moorings, although the nearby Bowyer Field playing field, owned by the council, will be kept as an open space.

[caption id="attachment_13904" align="alignnone" width="300"] 
Slough Canal Basin – finally set for redevelopment. Photo: Iridescent@wikimedia.com cc-by-sa 


Andrew Denny  | 4.01pm | add a comment

Obituary: Tony Matts

Obituary: Tony Matts 

Founder of Foxton Boat Services, pioneer of the Boat Safety Scheme and at the heart of Foxton Locks for over 50 years. 

An era ended on Easter Sunday when Tony Matts died aged 76 after a short illness.

Tony first came to Foxton in the early '60s, when he was a young physicist working in Leicester, and saw the dilapidated state of the old building at the bottom of the locks on what was then a semi-derelict canal. In 1966 he gave up a promising career to found Foxton Boat Services, where he opened a small shop and tea room and hired out ex-British Waterways working craft as camping boats. The business also did extensive breakdown and maintenance work. The trip-boat Vagabond followed, then self-drive and day-hire boats, and a horse-drawn trip-boat. In 1980 he constructed the original Bridge 61 pub.

Tony built up a significant knowledge of engines, boats and the waterways, became a qualified surveyor, and when the Boat Safety Scheme came into existence was one of the first people licensed to conduct examinations and assess other candidates. 

He fought a long battle with BW over its desire to convert the original Bridge 61 pub and chandlery into the modern Foxton Locks Inn. Fortunately he and his wife Mary had already bought the bottom lock cottage where the family lived, and he was able to extend the old stables into the current Bridge 61 pub and to continue the business (so out-living BW). His son Sam and daughter Hannah continue to operate the Boat Services and Bridge 61, so the Matts family will continue to have an association with Foxton, despite the loss of its original driving force. 

Mary Matts 


Tony Matts

Andrew Denny  | 3.59pm | add a comment

Regent's Canal passenger service expands

Hidden Depths Canal Cruises, one of the most popular passenger boat services on London's canals, has expanded its fleet of craft to accommodate growing demand on the Regent's Canal. New to the service is a regular waterbus between King's Cross and Islington, through the Islington Tunnel and City Road Lock.

Founder Denise Walker was inspired to start the business after discovering her first boat, Lapwing, derelict in a field near Wigan on the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in 2012.

“It had lain there for approximately six years and most sane people would have left it there” she said. “However, for some unaccountable reason I bought it without hesitation, and so began its journey – and mine, both physical and spiritual.”

Denise cruised the boat to London. “Lapwing never faltered and completed the journey in a mere five weeks. It was then that we realized what a Trojan this vessel was!”

She wrote to WW's Reader's Scrapbook (March 2013) asking about its history, and technical writer Graham Booth recognised it. It had been part of Willow Wren’s 1960s fleet of wooden top hire-boats, and built in the 1960s by Hopwood Craft on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal.

As a consequence, she decided to retain the traditional colours of Willow Wren and to restore it to its former glory days, and these continue to be the colours of all Hidden Depths boats. Later in 2013, Lapwing began a passenger business on London's canals that has continued to grow.

For more information see hiddendepthscanalcruises.co.uk.

Hidden Depths Canal Cruises' new full length boat Freda at St Pancras.

Lapwing on the Regent's Canal.

Andrew Denny  | 3.57pm | add a comment

IWA Leicester branch issues new guide

Boaters seeking guidance on the Grand Union Canal Leicester Line this summer will be well-served by the eight-page detailed pullout guide in our last issue (WW June).

However, if you arrive at the Watford or Foxton lock flight, at Kings Lock just south of Leicester, or at the Castle Gardens visitor moorings in central Leicester, you should find new leaflet boxes containing a pocket fold-out guide compiled by the Leicester Branch of the IWA. The guides are also available from many other locations such as marinas, boatyards and pubs on the navigation.

IWA Leicester branch chair Andrew Shephard tells us: “This is the 15th edition in about 20 years, and is intended to promote the local branch of the IWA and the navigation and to provide a service to visiting boaters.”

Leicester Line guide boxes.

IWA Leicester line map - 15th edition.

Andrew Denny  | 3.56pm | add a comment

Popular K&A pub reopens after closure

One of the landmark pubs of the Kennet & Avon canal has reopened again after years of changed ownership and uncertainty.

The Barge Inn at Honeystreet became a focus for crop circle enthusiasts as much as boaters in the 1990s after the canal reopened. It closed in the 2000s, but gained a Lottery grant in 2010 which allowed it to operate as a community pub. That phase lasted for only a couple of years, and it had more uncertainty, including a brief period as an Italian bistro, before closing again last year, with an attempt to convert it to residential use.

Boaters helped local residents register it as an Asset of Community Value, meaning that it must stay a pub. Hopefully it now has a more secure future as a free house under its new independent owners, the Sinclair family, including a reopening of the adjacent camp site.

Find more information at the-barge-inn.com or by phone: 01672 851705.

The Barge Inn, Honeystreet.

Andrew Denny  | 3.52pm | add a comment

Boats finally free from Gloucester Lock

Boaters on the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal must have breathed a sigh of relief on 3rd May when Gloucester Lock finally opened, four months after what was intended to be a six-week winter stoppage to fix a leaky lock chamber (WW June).

The Canal & River Trust had encountered real problems with the 200-year-old brick base of the chamber, which could not hold water. In locating the problem it also had to clear around 200 tonnes of silt.

On the great day the lock had been due to open at 7:30am. But a build-up of silt behind the outer stop gates prevented them opening, and divers had to be sent down with powerful jets of compressed air to displace it. It was 8pm before any boats were able to pass.

Our correspondent Chris Witts said: “The first vessel through was the hotel cruiser Edward Elgar, followed by the Conway Castle, the largest ship on the Severn. Both were bound for Upper Lode Lock at Tewkesbury where CRT had given the lock-keeper overtime to stay on duty, and Edward Elgar special permission to moor overnight.

“The passengers of the Edward Elgar were exceedingly happy and cheered the workmen, as well as singing the hymn Jerusalem.”


Conway Castle emerges from Gloucester Lock in the dusk. Photo: Chris Witts.[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_13878" align="alignnone" width="300"] 
Edward Elgar leaves Gloucester Lock, to the strains of 'Jerusalem'. Photo: Chris Witts.

Andrew Denny  | 3.47pm | add a comment

Beverley barge celebrates 70th

The Beverley Barge Preservation Society celebrated the 70th anniversary of its barge Syntan in April, with a rally at its home on Beverley Beck.

Syntan was built in 1949 at the shipyard of John Hepworths at Paull on the edge of the Humber, and was one of 15 Beverley barges for the tannery of Richard Hodgson. Tanning was a major industry of Beverley, and this type of barge carried cargo to and from Hull Docks, including hides and other products required for tanning. They would also carry general cargoes around Yorkshire, always returning to Beverley.

By 1972 Beverley barges were deemed uneconomic, and Syntan was sold to the Swinton firm of E.V. Waddington. A former skipper of Syntan, Nev Holgate, found it laid up and vandalised at Doncaster in 2001; Clariant Chemicals, the successor company to the tannery, helped Nev buy the boat and restore it. Nev also founded the society to remember the industrial and maritime heritage of Beverley Beck.

Syntax now sees active use, both as a trip-boat and museum of the local waterways and tanning industry. The society also operates the former British Waterways barge Sun and trip-boat Mermaid, a former lifeboatSwelling the numbers at the event were Comrade and Amy Howson of the Humber Keel & Sloop Society.

Further information is at syntanbarge.org.uk.


Syntan and other traditional working boats in Beverley Beck, celebrating its 70th anniversary year. Photo: Iain Campbell.[/caption][caption id="attachment_13892" align="alignnone" width="300"] 
Syntan's birthday cake. Photo: Iain Campbell. 

Andrew Denny  | 3.47pm | add a comment

GoBoat comes to the Thames

GoBoat, the electric self-drive picnic-boat service that launched on the Regent's Canal in 2017, has opened another base on the Thames, at Kingston-upon-Thames.

The idea started in Scandinavia and has spread to other European cities, but the British operation is independent; founders Grant Sweeney and Julian Wootton opened their first base in Paddington Basin in 2017 (WW August 2017.) The boats have seating around a central table and dogs are welcome. “Alcohol can be consumed on the boat but the captain must always remain sober,” says the company.

The Thames base is adjacent to Kingston Road Bridge. The route goes upstream as far as Hampton Court Palace and downstream to Teddington but locking is not allowed, giving 3½ miles of river to play with. A one-hour trip starts at £59 Monday to Friday, with three hours from £119. More information is available at goboat.co.uk.

A GoBoat at Hampton Court Palace. 

Andrew Denny  | 3.46pm | add a comment

Boaters fined for no EA licence, CRT issues compliance figures

The difference between Environment Agency and Canal & River Trust boat licensing was highlighted in early May, after a Cambridge court fined six EA Anglian region boaters £4,300 for not paying their boat registration fees. EA says that nationally it has recovered over £100,000 for the first four months of this year. 

At the same time, CRT simply announced the results of its annual national boat count and total licence arrears. The CRT boat count showed that licence compliance in the year to end-March was 96.5%, slightly down on the previous year. But it's the tenth year in succession that licence compliance has been above 95%.

The CRT count also shows changes in boat numbers. There has been a 2.3% increase in boat numbers, with all regions except the North West seeing small increases. London & South East was the only region where licence compliance was under 95% (at 94.1%). Boat licences contribute around 10% of the trust's total income.

Despite CRT not having powers to fine for licence evasion, it insists it is not lax compared to EA and its ultimate sanction is to remove the boat from the water, and if necessary, sell it.

“In 2018/19, 106 boats were removed as they were unlicensed or in breach of our terms and conditions,” said John Horsfall, CRT head of customer service.

The two figures are gathered in different ways: CRT data collectors walk the towpath while EA officials rely much more on launches on their harder-to-patrol rivers.

Andrew Denny  | 3.39pm | add a comment

Cromford & WRG stalwart appointed Chesterfield Canal development manager

The Chesterfield Canal Trust has appointed George Rogers, a well-known figure in canal restoration circles, as its new development manager, the first paid employee in its 40-year history.

CCT has set itself an optimistic target of having the restoration completed by 2027, the 250th anniversary of its completion, and the appointment is a step towards that goal.

The wider Chesterfield Canal Partnership, which also includes Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire county councils, appointed a development manager, Geraint Coles, in 2004, and he was instrumental in getting several miles back in water. But Coles resigned in 2014 after continued uncertainty over the HS2 project put a cloud over future fundraising.

The HS2 threat is now hopefully resolved, but the councils say they are unable to fund a new development manager, so CCT has stepped in. The trust says George's first task will be to create a sequence of costed projects which will form the basis of a series of major funding bids.

An engineering graduate of Cambridge University, George has previously been a chartered civil engineer specialising in civil infrastructure for National Grid substations. But he has wide experience within the voluntary canal restoration sector. A trustee of the Friends of Cromford Canal and a volunteer leader of its strategic restoration committee, he remains a director of the Waterway Recovery Group and is a familiar figure on its volunteer canal camps around the country, where his unrelenting good humour has acquired him the sobriquet 'Gorgeous George'.


Chesterfield also honours a retiring engineer

The Chesterfield Canal Trust has also honoured a retiring figure in the restoration. Selwyn Jones, a senior project engineer at Derbyshire County Council, received a Lifetime Achievement award at the trust's annual meeting in March.

Selwyn designed many of the restored features on the canal, including Constitution Hill Bridge at Staveley, Renishaw Foundry Bridge, Staveley Town Lock and Staveley Spill Weir.

He was first involved in the canal in 1989 when advising on Tapton Lock, the first on the route to be restored. He has surveyed the entire restoration route in Derbyshire and designed all the new locks.


Selwyn Jones (r) receives his lifetime achievement award from Robin Stonebridge of CCT.


George Rogers as a WRG volunteer on the Chesterfield's Constitution Hill footbridge in 2012.

Andrew Denny  | 2.55pm | add a comment

National Boat Share Show 'takes off'

The 2019 Spring National Boat Share Show took off spectacularly in more ways than expected over on 4th-5th May, when two of the marquees were blown away on the first day by bank holiday winds.

The event had 16 narrowboats on display, two more than planned, with entrants coming from three of the main share companies – BCBM, Ownashare and Carefree Cruising – while a fourth, JD Boat Services, also had a stand.

This year's show was the first at its new home, the new Dunchurch Pools Marina on the North Oxford Canal.

The first tent to go was that of organisers Boatshare4U, with the second the visitor marquee. Andrew Cooley of Boatshare4U said: “Fortunately no one was hurt, although the visitor marquee itself did sustain some damage.” He looked on the bright side when he added: “It left the tables and chairs in the open, giving a bistro feel to the area.”

The Boat Share Show is also staged in the autumn at Overwater Marina on the Shropshire Union canal, this year on 7th-8th September. It's a niche event, with smaller attendances than most boat festivals, but is very sharply targeted, so can have an impact well beyond simple visitor numbers.


Boatshare show organisers struggle to relocated marquees after the wind tried to abduct them. Photo: boatshare4u.co.uk 


Andrew Denny  | 2.54pm | add a comment

Record boat attendance at Canalway Cavalcade

This year's London IWA Canalway Cavalcade saw record boat numbers over the bank holiday weekend, with 150 narrowboats crowding into Little Venice.

After scorching April temperatures over Easter you could have been forgiven for thinking time was running backwards, with one of the coldest and windiest Mays for some years. Nevertheless, it drew the regular (estimated) 30,000 visitors for the weekend.

The event began in 1983, a decade after the Regent's Canal towpath was opened up as a 'canalway'. Previously, as a working waterway, it had been closed to the public, and for the first few years it remained somewhat forbidding. The cavalcade, organised by IWA volunteers, served to draw visitors, and it has remained London's biggest canal attraction.

Robin Hendley on Middlesex winning the boat-handling competition at this year's IWA Canalway Cavalcade. Photo: Tom Claydon 

Andrew Denny  | 2.48pm | add a comment

Second Pennine 'roving rally' in June

To encourage more boats through Standedge Tunnel, the Huddersfield Canal Society has organised a repeat of the successful 2017 Pennine Explorer Cruise along the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.

This year's event runs from 22nd June to 1st July, starting at Ashton-under-Lyne and ending at Huddersfield. There will be an optional final day on the Broad Canal for those with suitable-sized boats.

The 2017 cruise was limited to 12 boats, which the canal society said was the maximum it could practically organise at once over the summit, and that limit is likely to be applied this year too, with novices getting priority. That's not to say experienced crews are barred from the canal, but if it's oversubscribed they won't necessarily be part of the social experience that comes from being shepherded over the summit.

A programme of evening events will add to the fun. Boaters should email bob@huddersfieldcanal.com in the first instance.

Boats jam the exit of Standedge Tunnel at the 2017 Pennine Explorer Cruise. Photo: Alan Stopher

Andrew Denny  | 2.47pm | add a comment

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