News article created on 19 July 2018

Canal Laureate takes on 127-mile canoe trail

Nancy Campbell, Canal Laureate 2018, is embarking on a story-gathering trip with a difference this week - kayaking from Liverpool to Leeds.

Nancy Campbell canoeing, photo taken by Paul Preece Nancy Campbell canoeing, photo taken by Paul Preece

The poet is no stranger to the open water, being a regular kayaker in her home city of Oxford and having a long-standing interest in marine and water conservation, but this paddle is set to throw up an unusual set of challenges and present some exciting opportunities for new poems.

Starting in Liverpool on Wednesday 18 July, Nancy will be taking on part of the Desmond Family Canoe Trail, the country’s only coast-to-coast canoe route. She’ll be travelling along the 127-mile Leeds & Liverpool Canal out of Merseyside, through Lancashire, across the Pennines and into Yorkshire, finishing in Leeds on Wednesday 25 July.

Highlights of the trip include:

  • spending time with staff and volunteers from the Trust, to find out why life is better by water
  • undertaking litter picking and vegetation clearance with volunteers in Wigan and Blackburn
  • paddling through the one-mile Foulridge Tunnel with the Trust’s Writer In Residence Jasper Winn

Danny Matley, Desmond Family Canoe Trail programme manager, added: "We’re delighted that Nancy has chosen to experience some of the UK’s only coast-to-coast canoe trail. There’s so much to see and experience along the route, from the bustling urban areas as the canal winds through towns and cities, to the peaceful rural stretches that offer spectacular views, so Nancy is sure to find a lot of inspiration.

"We know that being by or on water can make people feel happier and healthier and we can’t wait to hear the poems that Nancy creates out of her journey."

Find out more about the Desmond Family Canoe Trail and how you can have a go at canoeing or kayaking.

You can follow all of Nancy’s Canal Laureateship activities, including her poems and observations, on the Waterlines website www.waterlines.org.uk and via Twitter @CanalPoetry