Bonny the Boathorse, now aged 25, is celebrating her 25th year with Maria, the boat she took to London in 2000 from Manchester.
As part of the television programme ‘Britain Afloat’, Bonny and Maria were filmed crossing the Grade II listed Marple Aqueduct. Maria was on her home waters here, having been built at Marple.
The series will be about different types of boat and the programme about Narrow Boats will be shown on BBC1’s East Midlands region on Friday 29th September at 7.30 pm, available nationwide on BBC iPlayer the next day. (Programmes about other types of boat will be broadcast in other regions on 29th Sept.) The programme will then be broadcast nationwide as part of a series on BBC2 on Saturday 14th October at 8.00 pm.
Maria is owned by the Ashton Packet Boat Company and operated with horsepower by The Horseboating Society.
Crossing Marple Aqueduct in 2011. Photo: Warwick Burton
The 16th Annual General Meeting of the Horseboating Society will take place on
Sunday 13th August 2017
in the Stables (near the Tom Rolt Centre( at the
National Waterways Museum, South Pier Rd, Ellesmere Port, CH65 4FW.
The meeting will be at lunch time to fit in with the lunch break of the Horses at Work event taking place that day.
For Agenda and further details, click here.
This Saturday (24th June) as part of 2017’s Leeds Waterfront Festival there will be opportunities to see some aspects of horseboating.
Horseboat Elland has been taken from her mooring at Thwaite Mills Museum to Leeds by motor tow this week.
Bilbo the boat horse will join her on Saturday only, to give harnessing demos and short horseboating demos at Oddy Locks on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal (close to Leeds city centre).
Extra crew welcomed, or just visit to be sociable!
June has been a busy month for the Horseboating Society with a number of events taking place.
Horseboat Maria and boathorse Bonny were at Marple on Saturday 17th June for some television filming. Filming went well although it was very hot weather! Bonny was filmed towing Maria over the Grade II aqueduct. The programme “A Floating History of Britain” will be shown in September/October.
6 Horseboating Society members acted as crew and/or helpers. Bonny is now aged 25, like being 75 as a human. She enjoyed pulling the boat, showing us how she can still help us out! However, she would not have wanted to pull from Ashton, nearly 10 miles and several hours work.
On Sunday 18th June 18 Bonny had the day off and Toy Bonny went to the Middlewich FAB Festival on the Trent & Mersey Canal. Sue Day gave a talk about the boathorse hames (that go around the horse’s collar) which were given to her in Middlewich in 1986. This was when she was on board Maria, horseboating around the Cheshire Ring with the Ashton Packet Boat Co with their horse Sonny Jim. The same hames have had many adventures since then. Bonny wore them from Manchester to London in 2000, and they were used for passenger carrying trips with Sarah Siddons on the Rochdale Canal.
Then on Wednesday 21st June Toy Bonny went to the Royal Cheshire Show where CRT (Manchester Pennine and Potteries) had a large stand. Toy Bonny was on display and was a subject of much discussion for visitors.
Then Horseboat Elland was taken from her mooring at Thwaite Mills Museum to Leeds by motor tow in readiness for the Leeds Waterfront Festival.
Horseboat Maria is in demand once again for television filming. This will be on Saturday June 17th, 2017, on the Lower Peak Forest Canal at the bottom of Marple Locks, on and around the aqueduct. There will not be filming on the locks.
We will be working for the team of “Inside Out” who are making a programme about narrowboats for BBC2.
Crew are needed and we have been asked to be in Victorian period clothing – that is as we would normally turn out for horseboating with Maria. Contact Sue Day on 07711-121-056 with a text as first choice.
Maria will be towed by motorboat from her home mooring at Guide Bridge by the Ashton Packet Boat Co, owners of Maria, to meet the horsebox and boathorse at the bottom of the Marple locks.
The film crew are expected to arrive from 1.00 pm onwards, and the presenter wants to have some involvement with preparing the horse and boat. This seems an opportunity for a social get together for HBS members, as well as being involved with the horseboating and filming.
Please let Sue Day know if you can crew on the day. Also try to let her know if you might come along to just socialise. Bring a packed lunch and drink to eat lunch at 12 noon before filming. Contact Sue Day on 07711-121-056 with a text as first choice.
(Victorian style period clothing required by the film crew. Dark waterproofs or dark donkey jacket, not modern fleeces and cagoules, when on or near the boat.)
Horseboating with Maria
2016’s Annual General Meeting will take place in Manchester at 8.00 pm on Monday 12th December.
It will be a shared event with Manchester IWA’s Christmas Social meeting.
The location will be on board the trip boat Emmeline Pankhurst at Potato Wharf in Castlefield, Manchester, M3 4NB.
Please bring a plate of food to share.
Full directions here.
Sue Day will be taking boathorse Bilbo by horsebox to Leeds on Saturday Oct 15 to join horseboat Elland at Oddy Locks, so we can join the Leeds and Liverpool Canal’s bi-centenary celebrations.
Bilbo and Elland made the 127 mile journey from Leeds to Liverpool in 2012 – the first horsedrawn boat to have done so in about 60 years. So Bilbo made recent history on the L & L canal.
Bilbo showed signs of lameness this week so it is unlikely that he will be able to pull the boat on Saturday.
We will bring equipment for horseboating just in case we want to pull a few yards, but we may simply do a harness demonstration if that fits in with events on the day.
The main concentration will be on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Society boat Kennet starting on a journey of the whole canal to recreate that of 200 years ago. Horsedrawn boats would have been involved then, of course.
Anyone who can come and join Sue and Nigel will be most welcome. Sue Day can be contacted on 07711-121-056
Oddy Locks are adjacent to Holts Crest Way, off A 58 Wellington Road (eastbound). Post code for SatNav LS12 2UA. Limited parking.
Oddy Locks are a 15 minute walk along the canal from Office Lock, behind Leeds Station.
Sunday August 14th sees the Horses at Work and War event at the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port.
Developed by the Horseboating Society and the Boat Museum Society, the event shows horses involved in horseboating and other areas of work, making a great day out for visitors. We hope that some of our supporters are able to attend and enjoy the day.
To tie in with WW1 commemorations, the annual Horses at Work event this year has some activities based around that time period – primarily because nearly all canal boats were horse-drawn in Britain in WW1. Some vessels were horse-drawn in France and Belgium, but most were pulled by steam tugs on larger inland waterways. Horse-drawn boats on the home front carried foodstuffs, ammunition, and even soldiers.
Sue Day and Nigel Dix will take 3 horses: Bonny as a boathorse, Castle as a packhorse, and Bilbo as a WW1 cavalry horse. Kate Vigurs will provide 4 horse-based shows about WW1. Other horses will provide carriage rides. The farrier will be in attendance.
Come along if you can. There are always many interesting exhibits at the museum, both indoors and outdoors. See horseboat Ilkeston, for example, and look around her cabin.
Further details can be found on the website of the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port.
The event is between 10.00 am and 5.00 pm.