Towlines – Events 2012

Archive of events that took place during 2012


January 19, Thursday

The Horseboating Society has its eleventh anniversary, having been founded on 19 Jan 2001.
So everyone can shout out, Hussah! and Hurrah!


Fri, Sat, Sun March 16-18

Shire Horse Society Spring Show at the East of England Showground, Peterborough. An indoor show with many classes: in-hand, driven, and ridden.

Plenty of tradestands. Friday: probably an auction day of equipment as well as some classes. See

Saturday March 31

A Waterways History Workshop will be held at Whitchurch, Shropshire organised by the Railway & Canal Historical Society. The theme is titled “Motive Power on Waterways”. HBS will contribute material to the event. All are welcome to attend at a cost of £18.50 to include lunch. Speakers: Tom Foxon, Sue Day (HBS), Mike Clarke, Joseph Boughey, and Ray Shill.


Thursday April 5 to Monday April 9

at Easter Historic Boats Gathering

 •   Thursday April 5: historic boats gather at Chester

 •   Good Friday April 6: historic boats travel from Chester to the museum.

 •   Easter – Sat April 7, Sun April 8, Mon April 9: The annual Easter Historic Boats Gathering at the National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire A large permanent collection of inland waterway craft is on display including narrow and wide beam horseboats.

April 7, Saturday

HBS AGM at Tom Rolt Centre, National Waterways Museum, South Pier Road, Ellesmere Port, CH65 4FW.
2.00 pm: Short film “Towpath Encounter” introduced by Tony Lewery.
2.30 – 4.30 pm: Annual General Meeting.
Download: Agenda.


Horseboat Maria, Guidebridge to Huddersfield and return. 45 miles, and 148 locks
•   Monday April 16: Guidebridge to Heyrod
•   Tuesday April 17: Heyrod to Uppermill
•   Sunday April 22: Uppermill to Diggle, then legging Standedge Tunnel (3.25 miles), with the annual HBS St.George & the Dragon play at Tunnel End, Standedge Visitor Centre. The dragon boat will emerge from the tunnel. Can St.George and his horse save the trembling villagers? Followed by The Leggers’ Supper (anybody is welcome but all must book in). (more details later)
NOTE CLASH OF DATES: Maria at Standedge, Elland at Saltaire on Sunday April 22.
•   May 13: HBS Event Day, “Horses at Work at Standedge, 18th to 21st century”
Harnessing demos explaining the work of packhorses, wagon horses, and boathorses followed by horseboating to Marsden then to West Slaithwaite as a demonstration.

Other dates tba: horseboating to Huddersfield, and return to Standedge then Ashton and Guidebridge.


Horseboat Elland, Leeds to Liverpool:
Note, it is believed to be about 60 years (over half a century!) since a horse-drawn boat travelled between Leeds and Wigan. The Horseboating Society did travel from Wigan to Liverpool in 2007 when Queenie pulled Maria to attend the World Canals Conference.

•   Wed April 18: Royal Armouries, Leeds to Armley Mill
Horse at Armley Mill Museum, boat at Aire Valley Marina just beyond. Supper at Jaipur Indian restaurant nearby (which comes recommended).
•   Thurs April 19: Armley Mill to Rodley/Pudsey
•   Friday April 20: Rodley/Pudsey to Saltaire
•   Sat April 21 and Sun April 22: at the Saltaire World Heritage Site Celebrations
NOTE CLASH OF DATES: Maria at Standedge, Elland at Saltaire on Sunday April 22.
•   Mon April 23: Saltaire to Apperley Bridge on St.George’s Day, St.George and the Dragon play
•   Friday April 27: Apperley Bridge to Saltaire
•   Sat April 28: Saltaire to Bingley Five-Rise Locks (one of the Seven Wonders of the Waterways)
•   Sun April 29 – Wed May 2: some movements around the Bingley Five-Rise Locks
•   Wed May 2 – Fri May 4: Bingley towards Skipton
•   May 4 – 7: Skipton Waterways Festival

•   Mon May 14: Skipton to Gargrave
•   Tue May 15: Gargrave to East Marton
•   Fri May 25: East Marton to Greenberfield to Foulridge

Horseboat Maria, Huddersfield Narrow Canal:
•   Thurs May 31: West Slaithwaite to Marsden


Horseboat Elland, Leeds to Liverpool:
•   Thurs June 7: Foulridge Tunnel, legging Foulridge Tunnel, horse over top of tunnel
(More crew and leggers needed!)
•   Fri June 8: Foulridge to Oliver Ings bridge and Reedley Marina before Burnley
•   Sun June 10: Oliver Ings to Burnley Embankment, and Weavers Triangle, to Hapton
•   Mon June 11: Hapton to Church Kirk
•   Tues June 12: Church Kirk to Blackburn (Thwaites Brewery workhorses)
•   Wed June 13: Blackburn to Riley Green
•   Thurs June 14: Riley Green to bottom of Johnson’s Hill Locks
•   Tues June 19: bottom of Johnson’s Hill Locks to Haigh Hall area
•   Thurs June 21: down Wigan Locks (21 + 2) to Crooke
•   Fri June 22: Crooke to Burscough Bridge

Canal Heritage Weekend, Burscough:
•   Sat June 23: Elland, Burscough, Canal Heritage Weekend, public visits to boat
•   Sun June 24: Elland, Burscough, Canal Heritage Weekend, horseboating demos
•   Mon June 25: Elland, Burscough, Canal Heritage Education Days, school visits to horse and boat.


 •   July 6,7, 8: Festival of the Working Horse, Eastern Counties Showground, Peterborough.
The HBS is invited to contribute to the event. See
The Festival will be held in the ‘British Festival of the Working Horse Village’, organised by The British Horse Loggers (BHL), as part of the East of England Show at Peterborough
Quote from BHL website: “His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, has formally agreed to become the Patron of the British Festival of the Working Horse.”

Horseboat Maria, Huddersfield Narrow Canal:
•   Tue July 10: Legging Standedge Tunnel, then horeboating Maria Diggle to Uppermill or Roaches.
(Help needed! Call Sue on 07711 121056.)
•   Wed July 11: Uppermill or Roaches to Guide Bridge.


Sun Aug 5

Horses at Work event at The National Waterways Museum, Ellesmere Port to include am & pm: boathorse harnessing demo and horseboating demo to the winding hole and return (1 mile each way) using horseboat Gifford. Plus other working horses with vehicles etc.

Horseboat Elland, Leeds and Liverpool Canal, to Liverpool:
Crew and supporters are invited and needed on the following dates:
•   Sat August 11: Burscough to the Ship Inn, Haskayne; six miles, no locks
•   Sun August 12: Haskayne to Melling, Bridge 10. (Overnight grazing at a farm which used to keep bargehorses.)
•   Mon August 13: Melling, Bridge 10 to Litherland. Overnight stop at CRT maintenance depot. (Visit Aintree en route?)
•   Tues August 14: From Litherland, down Stanley Locks horse-drawn, motor tow on Liverpool Link, horse tow attempt at Pier Head in front of the Three Graces, boat moored in Salthouse Dock.
•   Tues August 21: Salthouse Dock to Burscough under motor tow (25 miles, 2 + 4 locks)
•   Wed August 22: Complete the motor tow journey to Burscough if not finished on 21st August.

Can you help with the journey to Liverpool?
Please contact Sue Day to offer yourself on any dates you can. 01457-834863, 07711-121-056
Accommodation: most crew come out each day to the boat but there is some basic camping accommodation on Elland and crew are welcome to stay on board by arrangement.
Food: bring a packed lunch and drink. Optional pub meal in the evening after boating.

Aug 16 – 24

Horseboat Vixen, Rochdale Canal Festival, passenger trips – Hebden Bridge to Sowerby Bridge, then Sowerby Bridge in various stages to The Summit.

Horseboating Sowerby Bridge to Hebden Bridge
Crew and supporters are invited and needed on the following dates:
•   Thursday August 16: Hebden Bridge to Sowerby Bridge (where the canal relay will start)
•   Saturday August 18: Festival Launch at Sowerby Bridge
•   Saturday August 18: Sowerby Bridge to Mytholmroyd with invited guests. Start at 2 pm.
•   Sunday August 19: Mytholmroyd to Stubbing Wharf pub, Hebden Bridge. Start at 10 am.
•   Monday August 20: Stubbing Wharf, Hebden Bridge to Fielding Wharf, Todmorden
•   Tuesday August 21: – no horseboating
•   Wednesday August 22: Todmorden to Walsden area. Poetry readings on the horseboat.
•   Thursday August 23: Walsden area to the Summit. Poetry readings on the horseboat.
•   Friday August 24: horseboating on the Summit. Public trips.

Booking a horse-drawn passenger boat trip
On all these dates Aug 16-24 as listed above (except for Saturday Aug 18), passengers can pay for a trip on the horse-drawn boat. Therefore some HBS members who are not able to crew might like to support the horse-drawn boat and enjoy a trip on the Rochdale Canal. Only 12 passengers can (legally) travel on the boat so do book to avoid disappointment if you wish to be a passenger.
Please note all trips are one way only, with the exception of Friday Aug 24, so you must make your own return travel or pick-up arrangements.
Also note that the trip on Sunday Aug 19 is very hard for the boat crew with many moored boats to negotiate past, so that the boat is likely to be poled rather than horse-drawn on some of it if the towing line cannot be passed over boats.
For further info on times and start/finish points, contact Sue Day: 01457-834863, 07711-121-056
Cost : £10/person/trip


September 7 – 9

Burnley Canal Communities Festival, horseboating demos over Embankment


Saturday and Sunday, September 22 and 23, no canal

Heavy Horse Autumn Working Event at the Chiltern Open Air Museum, Gorelands Lane, Chalfont St. Giles, Buckinghamshire, HP8 4AB
Activities: cultivation, timber extraction, carting etc.

Monday September 24, Leeds & Liverpool Canal

Legging Foulridge Tunnel on the centenary day of when Buttercup, a brown cow, fell in the canal and swam through Foulridge Tunnel (nearly one mile) to be revived with brandy at the Foulridge end of the tunnel. Buttercup will be on board the boat, once rescued from having to swim!
Possible horseboating to the Anchor Inn, Salterforth.
Crew needed. Info from Sue Day 01457 834863, mobile 07711 121 056, email
Expected times for tunnel: entering from Barrowford end approx. 2.45 pm, exit from Foulridge end approx 3.30 pm.

Saturday and Sunday September 29 and 30, Dudley No.1 Canal

Dudley’s Parkhead Festival, back after a 4 year break, usually bi-annual.
Dudley No 1 Canal, Holly Hall Rd, Parkhead, DY2 0TT
Large event, free admission, 10am-5pm
See info from 01384-236275

Horse-drawn boat demos at the top lock, demonstrating the use of the ground-level pulley wheel to send the boat out of the lock while the boathorse walks in the opposite direction along the lock-side.
Previously demonstrated by Jayne Bradley, HBS Midlands rep, with her Clydesdale horse Prince.
This year to be done by Jane Muntz-Torres by arrangement with Jayne Bradley. Jane acted as crew on the HBS journey in 2008 to the IWA National at Autherley Junction, Wolverhampton. Jane keeps Shires and cobs in the Midlands.


Saturday October 13, Leeds & Liverpool Canal

* date changed *
Bingley Five Rise Project Launch. See poster about the event. (Click to download poster.)
The project has created trails between Bingley and Saltaire, interpretation panels, and a horseboating film between Saltaire and Bingley.
Horseboating demo down the Bingley Five Rise Locks, then horseboating to Saltaire.
Crew needed. Info from Sue Day 01457 834863, mobile 07711 121 056, email

Saturday and Sunday Oct 13 and 14, Ashton Canal (and others)

40th anniversary year of Ashtac, the clean-up attack on the Ashton Canal, with clean-ups on the 3 sections of canal radiating from the Dukinfield Junction at Portland Basin, Ashton under Lyne. Clean-up volunteers are needed.
Overnight accommodation arranged by IWA.
More information: Alison Smedley, IWA Branch Campaign Officer, 01538-385388 or 07779-090915

Sunday October 21, Ashton Canal

Celebration horseboating trip with horseboat Maria from Guidebridge to Portland Basin and nearby to enjoy the local towpaths cleared of sapling growth at the 40th anniversary Ashtac clean-up of Oct 13 & 14.
To be confirmed.
Crew needed. Info from Sue Day 01457 834863, mobile 07711 121 056, email

See our September Newsletter for more information.

Mid/End of October, Grand Western Canal

The Grand Western Canal Visitors Centre in the Tiverton basin will be opening its doors for the first time towards the end of September and it will be officially opened 30 days or so after that.
The Tiverton Canal Company will be keeping the little stone stable as their shop and booking office.

November / December

– Horseboating with Vixen on the Rochdale Canal

Crew are invited & needed for these horseboating days on the Rochdale Canal. Dates: Mon Nov 12, Tues Nov 13, Sunday Nov 25, Fri Nov 30/Sat Dec 1, Sun Dec 2.
Please note that Vixen is quickly got ready for boating and closed up at the end of the day as she has a full steel cabin, with no sheets, having been built in 1990 for passenger work.

 •   Monday November 12:  Lock 37 West Summit to Walsden, below lock 28 (or to Todmorden)
•   Tuesday November 13:  Walsden, below lock 28, to Fielden Wharf, Todmorden
•   Sunday November 25:  Fielden Wharf, Todmorden to Hebden Wharf, Hebden Bridge
•   Friday November 30 OR Saturday December 1:  Hebden Wharf, Hebden Bridge to White Lion pub, Mytholmroyd
•   Saturday December 2:  White Lion pub, Mytholmroyd to Stubbing Wharf, Hebden Bridge
If you are able to help crew the boat, please contact Sue (see top of page).


Maybe return Vixen from Stubbing Wharf to the Summit?

 •   Friday December 21:  Horseboating with Vixen on the Rochdale canal summit?
Annual Summit Walk of the Rochdale Canal on the actual date it was opened in 1804.
If weather conditions allow, the boat may carry passengers during the annual event.
11 am, lock 37, hot mince pies and mulled wine, short Summit walk (with horse and boat), annual lunch in The Summit pub. All welcome.

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