Gallery and video: Thousands on board at canal boat festival in Walsall

More than 120 narrow boats gathered for a special festival in Walsall last weekend to celebrate canal boating across the West Midlands.

Gallery and video: Thousands on board at canal boat festival in Walsall

James Etheridge and Milly Etheridge from Kent arrive at Pelsall North Common

Organised entirely by volunteers of The Inland Waterways Association, the Festival of Water at Pelsall North Common attracted thousands of visitors from across the UK.

Paul and Sandra Chilvers from Hednesford, were at the festival in their canal boat Kandahar.

It was named in memory of HMS Kandahar, a World War Two destroyer which Paul’s father served on during the war – it sunk in the Mediterranean in 1941.

The 71 year old said: “We’re all part of the IWA so help out with them. It’s just a weekend of enjoyment.

“My boat is nearly 17 years old and was fitted out in Wolverhampton in 1999 and we’ve had it designed to our own specification. We only live in Cannock but spend our whole summer out on the boat.

“The camaraderie and meeting people at different festivals around the country is great.

” A host of activities for boat enthusiasts and families attending the show were on offer. There were classic cars, fairground rides, water zorbing, free boat trips, a bouncy slide, learn to drive a digger, hula hoop workshops, canal-based crafts, birds of prey, reptiles and lots more.

Eric Wood, from the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust, has lived on his canal boat for more than 20 years.

He said: “The festival draws people in nationally and sometimes internationally and draws attention to the canal and its possible uses.

“The British Waterways were going to close the canals 40 years ago and its only because of people like myself and events like this that have kept them open.”

Add your comment