Buzzing atmosphere for the bicentenary!
People at Granary Wharf cheering off the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society’s work boat The Kennet, the big reveal of The Tetley’s commissioned mural, a BBQ at Oddy Locks and community projects along the towpath to please the crowds! All in all, Saturday 15th October was a successful day celebrating the huge milestone that is the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society turning two hundred years old…and here’s how our day went!
We arrived at Granary Wharf, just in time to hear the steel band building up the atmosphere for the crowd waving off the Kennett as it commenced its over 150 miles journey all the way to Liverpool. Re-creating the first ever canal journey, this was the main event of the weekend, with the rest of the celebrations adding to the atmosphere and entertain the crowds as they walked along the canal. We headed to the top of the first bridge out of Granary Wharf, where most of the crowd had set up camp to watch the work boat pass through from a height!
After a lot of waving, applauding and cheering, the crowds at Granary Wharf followed the Kennet to the first lock, where they soon overtook the boat. What followed was a lovely ramble down the canal, where we took in the yarn-bombing which was wrapped around mooring posts and lampposts along the way. The workboat was followed by a small flotilla of kayaks and barges, joining the boat until Kirkstall, where we’re sure they sunk a couple of well-deserved pints!
We met an even larger crowd who had pitched up at Oddy Locks, and here the atmosphere really was thriving. An old horse drawn boat complete with a strapping horse, people dressed up and bunting strung all the way along the lock! We quickly grabbed a burger from the barbecue outside The Stables café (all profits of this went to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal Society) and continued on to see the flyposted gallery further along the towpath.
And what a sight it was! A wall covered with huge black and white photographs of the people who live and work on the canal. Led by Mark Wheelwright, a team of young photographers created the gallery before the weekend of Leeds Waterfront Festival, and for the bicentenary they were stuck up where the photographs’ journey had started. We met people that recognised some of the faces on the wall, and it shown what a sense of community the canal is becoming.
After watching the Kennet float off to Liverpool, walking briskly along the canal while taking in all of the wonderful creative projects for the entertainment of the community and having a well-earned burger along the way, we’re sure everyone else will agree that it was a successful weekend which commemorated this amazing milestone! Here’s to the next 200 years!