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The charity making life better by water

Big splash planned for Manchester waterside festival

The Rochdale Canal in Manchester city centre will be the scene of a free weekend of waterside entertainment on the 10 and 11 September (11am - 4pm).

Festival fishing

The two day fun filled, explorative and creative event has been organised by the Trust, and the Friends of the Rochdale 9. The activities are for all ages and will take place from Lock 87 at the end of Canal Street, through to Lock 92 and the rich industrial heritage of Dukes.

Among the things to do:

  • Lock 89 (Tib Lock): take part in building underwater robots, or delve into the canal without getting wet by wearing headsets that will be streaming live images from what lurks beneath the water. Wannabe scientists can even test the water quality with a drop-in canal health workshop. Or get arty, by building a digital floating artwork.

  • Near lock 92 at Pioneer Quay, off Deansgate, there will be a fabulous art exhibition and workshops. The Trust will be launching an art project and is looking for help and ideas to transform an old workboat into a ‘Razzle Dazzle' boat which will be used as a floating information centre and a space that people can hire out on the canal.

  • There will be free 30 minute canal boat trips, transporting you through the locks of the city.

  • Music and dance from the Bridgewater Hall Community Choir and Manchester Morris Men.

  • Coffee and cakes will be also be available from a mobile bike service ‘Coffee Cranks' and other refreshments too.

  • One of the biggest challenges of the weekend on offer will be our giant canal game called Rough Fish – a competition focused on fishing out rubbish from the stretch of the canal, then creating stories and tweeting about it. This is not just a fish and net game, this is a GPS and mobile competition! The winner will also have the prestigious honour of having a canal lock named after them for the day on the Sunday.

Jon Stopp, organiser and volunteer at the Trust said: "The canal in the city centre is a fantastic feature of the waterways in Manchester- a real hidden gem in the heart of the city and it isn't used enough. It's great that the festival is taking place so that people get to see the wonders of the canal and have a great time.

"Everybody is welcome to come down. All of the activities are free and there is something for everyone to do. Whether you want a boat trip or you're interested in making a floating digital art piece out of Lego or creating underwater robots, it'll all be great fun."

Some of the free workshops have limited places. To book a place visit

For more information on the weekend's activities or to find out how you can volunteer visit the Friends of Rochdale 9 website or email [email protected]

Last Edited: 06 September 2016

photo of a location on the canals
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