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History about to be made on canal.

Byline: Jean Parry and Wendy Horton

A CANAL boat rally in Caerphilly county this weekend is set to make history.

The rally will take place on a once derelict and landlocked part of the Monmouthshire canal as it runs through Risca.

Organisers say the amount of boats on display should create a real spectacle.

Chris Morgan for the Monmouthshire, Brecon and Abergavenny (MBA) Canals Trust told the Echo: "Even when the canal was open to industrial traffic in the 1900s it did not see the amount of boats that we will have this weekend."

Around 20 elegant canal boats from all over Britain will attend the rally, which is to be opened by Caerphilly County Council chairman Angus Donaldson.

Earlier this year, the MBA Canals Trust successfully campaigned to save a stretch of the canal that runs through Caerphilly county at Risca.

After a show of overwhelming support to retain the historic waterway, the council committed itself to supporting its full restoration.

As well as celebrating this triumph, the rally will also toast the new slipway at Pontywaun.

There will be a fete with live bands, face painting, Punch and Judy shows, stalls and a bouncy castle, starting at 12pm on Saturday.

And visitors will be able to enjoy canal boat trips over the weekend.

One of the highlights will be an illuminated procession of boats at 10pm on Saturday.

Mr Morgan added: "There will be a trust archive photograph display at the rally and a membership stand for those who wish to join the trust.

"Their support will help us promote and restore the Monmouthshire Canal."

A FEW TIPS ON ENJOYING CANAL LIFE

Canals are typically winding, following the contours of the land.

Occasionally boaters will encounter a tunnel or an aqueduct.

More frequently there are interruptions where people have to operate locks or moveable bridges.

Guidebooks indicate the locations of frequent pubs, towns and shopping districts along the canal banks.

For operating the boat, some agility is required and at least one crew member must be able to operate locks and bridges.

Steering is done by a wheel or by a tiller in the rear of the boat, and the speed, usually three to four miles per hour, is controlled by a throttle lever.

Canal boat hire firms can provide training to help people take control of the vessel.

A towpath runs along one side of a canal and voyagers can moor usually free of charge. Every other day, people will have to find a water point for fresh water.

But the boat's fuel tank will ordinarily hold more than enough for a two week's holiday.

Canal sailors need real boat shoes, not Wellington boots, and should never stand with one foot on the boat and one on the shore.

Some hire firms offer videos of canal cruising on their boats.

Because the locks on many UK canals are only 7ft wide, you will need a 'narrowboat' to travel along them.

CAPTION(S):

TRANQUIL LIFE A canal boat rally is set to make history. PICTURE: Echo photographer
COPYRIGHT 2001 MGN Ltd.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 3, 2001
Words:509
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