No Canal & River Trust launch. No Olympics. No Jubilee. No drought/monsoon (delete as applicable in a few months’ time) and No breaches… please.
There were plenty of distractions last year - one minute we were banned from using our hoses and the next we were loosening our mooring ropes as water levels rose and rose. Then came the (in)glorious summer full of sport, national pride and more rain.
And this year? Well, the biggest public library in the UK will be completed and is less than 300m from the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal. Even better will be Comet Ison because it’ll be viewable from any canal from November onwards.
Anything else? Of course, there are the usual sporting events such as Wimbledon, the British Open and The Ashes. Now, not to belittle those mentioned, but they’re not once-in-a-generation events and you can moor up near to most canal-side pubs to watch them.
You can probably see where I’m heading with all this. Yes, you’re right. This year can be all about boating.
Starting 4 May you can go along to the Canalway Cavalcade at Little Venice and then head north to the Crick Boat Show during the last weekend of the month. A dash north and you’ll be able to make the Leicester Riverside Festival in the first weekend of June. A more leisurely cruise west and you’ll arrive at the Birmingham Canal Navigation Society’s Summer rally on 15 and 16 June.
In early July there’ll be no better place to enjoy midsummer than with like-minded boaters at the Stratford-upon-Avon river festival. If music is your thing, you’ll then have a month or so to head west, maybe tying up on the Staffordshire & Worcestershire Canal or heading down the River Severn and mooring up on the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal before hopping over the border to the Green Man Festival which is (almost) right next to the Monmouthshire & Brecon Canal.
The north has plenty to offer as well so why not cruise through breathtaking landscapes and end up, on the weekend of 15 September, at the Burnley Canal Festival?
So, you see, there really isn’t anything to do this year but boat, boat, boat…
The National Waterways Museum is home to the most comprehensive collection of artefacts that tell the story of Britain’s canals and navigable rivers over the last 300 years. With sites at Ellesmere Port and Gloucester, the museum holds over 12,000 historic objects and 68 historic boats and is designated by the Arts Council England as of national importance. The National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port is also home to the Waterways Archive including over 100,000 papers, drawings photographs, plans and books relating to the waterways – a vital part of our national cultural heritage.
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