Vixen in the Valley of Lights

Horseboat Vixen was horsedrawn by Bilbo Baggins from the Rochdale Canal Summit to Todmorden over two days on Nov 12 and 13. An overnight stop was made at Walsden by the famous Grandma Pollards Fish & Chips and Pie Shop. A member of the crew had to go ahead cutting saplings down before the arrival of the boat as they have not been removed in recent years and we had struggled with these saplings in August when travelling up the locks to the Summit. They varied from 5 to 15 feet tall.

Vixen then took part in the arts event of the Valley of Lights which was funded by Calderdale Council. It was devised as a celebratory event after the flooding in the valley during the summer months which did substantial damage to homes and businesses. The event was linked to the annual Christmas lights switch-on but was on a much larger scale to show residents and visitors that the valley towns were up and running again, ready for trade for Christmas.

The Horseboating Society was honoured to be involved as only 4 boats took part, but HBS did not receive any funding so it was decided to work closely with the Rochdale Canal Society and take motor tows from Todmorden to Hebden Bridge to Mytholmroyd, sharing crew together. At each of the 3 towns, Vixen had a display on her roof of home-made paper lanterns of a horse pulling a boat, lit up with LED wire and lights. Inside she had window displays of stars, snowflakes and rocking horses. The other boats were decorated with inflatables made by the arts group Space Cadets. Our hand-made lanterns were admired by many people who visited the boat displays. The lanterns were on display on Vixen on Saturday Nov 24th at Todmorden, Thursday Nov 29th at Hebden Bridge and Saturday Dec 1st at Mytholmroyd.

Vixen will be moored in Hebden Bridge again for the winter. A horseboating passenger boat business ran here from 1987 to 2004 and Vixen was brought to the Rochdale Canal in 2010 to be used for occasional passenger work to continue horseboating activity on this canal.

Maria on the Peak Forest Canal

Light display on Vixen at Mytholmroyd. Photo: David Ormerod, Bronte Boats

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