A historic short boat called Kennet is setting off from Granary Wharf in Leeds at 11.30am today (October 15) on a nine-day voyage on the canal through Yorkshire, Lancashire and Greater Manchester bound for Liverpool.
Kennet’s stately progress will echo the original ceremonial journey that was made along the 127-mile waterway following its completion in 1816.
People turned out in force to welcome the first boat on that voyage as it passed through their communities – and it is hoped there will be similar scenes this time around.
Trip organiser Harold Bond said: “Back in 1816, press reports state that the ceremonial first boat was greeted by pealing church bells, brass bands and cheering crowds, and canal barges were bedecked in flags and streamers.
“It would be fantastic if we could recreate that amazing atmosphere of celebration again.
“The response to our invitation to get involved has been brilliant so we have every chance of staging a celebration worthy of those entrepreneurial merchants and inventive engineers who were responsible for building this waterway 200 years ago.
“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.”
Kennet’s schedule tomorrow (October 16) includes visits to Saltaire between 11.15am and 11.45am and Bingley town centre at 1.15pm.
The celebration has been organised by the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Society, which runs Kennet as an education boat.
Additional support has come from the Canal and River Trust.
For more details, visit the www.llcs.org.uk website.