The UK’s first coast to coast canoe trail launches this month, with a fortnight of celebrations organised by the Canal & River Trust.
As part of the launch, events are taking place across the entire 162-mile route, from Liverpool in the West to Goole on the Humber estuary. Over the Bank Holiday weekend there will be plenty of youth-led festivities, with celebrations taking place in Burnley on Friday 23rd August, Leeds Dock, Blackburn and Goole on Saturday 24th August, and a finale celebration at Liverpool Waterfront on Sunday 25th August.
In partnership with British Canoeing, a new detailed trail leaflet has been produced for would-be canoeists and kayakers, giving accommodation options as well as top tips on how to negotiate the route which follows the 127 mile Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Britain’s longest single canal, and 35 miles along the Aire & Calder Navigation through Yorkshire.
This new grand waterway adventure is not for the faint-hearted. It involves carrying canoes around 91 locks, including the 21 lock Wigan flight and Bingley’s famous Five Rise staircase, and paddling under the summit of the Pennine hills through a mile long canal tunnel at Foulridge.
To help paddlers, a number of canoe access improvements have been made at Liverpool’s Eldonian Village and Wigan, with further work planned for Castleford and Goole. New canoe signage will also help people find their way along the coast to coast waterway route.
Funded by a £1.3million grant from the Desmond Foundation, the trail is known as the Desmond Family Canoe Trail and has provided new training and volunteering opportunities for thousands of young people aged 16-25, on both sides of the Pennines. Community canoe hubs have been created in Sefton, Wigan, Burnley, Castleford and Goole, with plans for extra hubs in Skipton, Leeds and Blackburn.
The Desmond Family Canoe Trail project was the brain child of waterways and well-being charity, the Canal & River Trust, which cares for 2,000 miles of waterways across England and Wales.
When: From August 2019
Where: From Liverpool in the West, to Goole on the Humber estuary
£: Trail maps can be downloaded for free from the website
More info: canalrivertrust.org.uk