To mark the bicentenary of the opening of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, the historic short boat, Kennet, will recreate the inaugural ceremonial journey.
In October 1816, the inaugural boat passage through the Leeds and Liverpool Canal took place.
Flotillas “decorated with flags and streamers” and accompanied by “hearty cheering of immense assemblage of spectators” welcomed the crew as navigated the 127-miles of waterways.
Now, this iconic journey is being recreated by the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Society, on board the historic short boat, Kennet.
It is all part of celebrations to mark the 200th anniversary of England’s longest canal.
Unlike the original five-day trip, the Canal Society crew will be taking the journey at a more leisurely pace.
They plan to leave Leeds on 15 October 2016 and arrive in Liverpool nine days later on 23 October.
Along the way, the crew want as many people as possible to join them on the “greatest long distance waterway party ever staged in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Merseyside”.
Kennet will navigate through Yorkshire, Lancashire and Merseyside, past mills and moorland, through Bingley, Skipton, Burnley, Blackburn, Chorley, Wigan, Burscough and some of the country’s most spectacular scenery.
Kennet organiser, Harold Bond said: “We are calling on heritage boats, boat clubs and boaters to create a flotilla of decorated boats to join Kennet along the way.”
He said the Canal Society would love to see crowds lining the canal as Kennet passes by.
“Several mayors have already agreed to receive us and at least one brass band will be serenading us as we sail past,” noted Bond.
“It would be fantastic if we could be joined by local school children and community groups, cheering and waving flags. Kennet will be decked out in bunting to symbolise the two great shire county roses. It would be wonderful to be greeted by a sea of red and white as our procession sails along,” he said.
Bond said that press reports state that during the inaugural journey in 1816, the ceremonial first boat was greeted by peeling church bells, brass bands and cheering crowds.
Canal barges were also be-decked in flags and streamers.
“We would love to create that spirit of celebration and achievement again,” noted Bond.
The celebrations are being supported by the Canal and River Trust.
It’s bicentenary coordinator, Sarah Knight, added: “I would appeal to any boat club, community group, brass band or organisation near the canal to start planning now.”
“Get in touch with us to be part of the greatest long distance, waterside party Yorkshire, Lancashire and Merseyside have ever staged,” she stated
All boats who spend at least a day with the ceremonial flotilla will be eligible for a free 200th anniversary plaque.
The Canal Society runs Kennet as an education boat.
The voyage will be a culmination of a year of festivities and celebrations to mark this important anniversary for the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
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