Celebrating the waterways at Leigh's canal festival

Visitors at last years Leigh Canal Festival waiting to try out canoeing
Visitors at last years Leigh Canal Festival waiting to try out canoeing
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Leigh will once again host a spectacular celebration of the borough’s waterways, with organisers hoping this year will be bigger and better than ever.

The Leigh Canal Festival is back for a fourth year but it has outgrown its previous venue at The Waterside Inn and will instead be based at Leigh Miners on Twist Lane.

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The waterway will be filled with boats of every size and description, with both modern and historic vessels on site.

Visitors will be able to see traders’ boats and a veteran museum vessel which previously carried coal from Bickershaw Colliery.

The borough’s canal enthusiasts are also being asked to again support the event by bringing their own vessels to the weekend event.

Organisers, though, will be hoping the weather is kinder for this year’s enlarged festival than the rain-hit 2017 edition.

Festival-goers will also be able to take to the waterways themselves as the popular free canoeing try-outs are back and the well-known Kittiwake vessel from the borough takes people on longer trips up and down the canal.

The vessel is also doing evening cruises to give people a different view of Leigh later on in the day.

The 12-seater water taxi which was a highlight of last year’s canal festival also returns to Leigh running a free ferry service from the Waterside Inn and Pennington View Marina to the event.

There will also be a fun fair and 30 stalls on shore for people to browse as well as displays of canal-related arts and crafts and food and drink.

The Miners Welfare building will be open for refreshment and the club is also arranging rugby league matches during the weekend, including a demonstration of the fast-growing women’s game.

The festival headquarters will also host a special music event on the Saturday night with a number of local bands taking to the stage for free.

Organisers are also ensuring there will be things to do if the elements are not kind.

Peter Rowlinson, from the festival organising committee, said: “It is expected that this will be a popular event with the added bonus of a fun fair and undercover facilities in case the weather is mixed.”

The canal festival will run again this year thanks to the efforts of the Canal and Rivers Trust, the body which looks after the country’s waterways, and a green crew which has improved an area of land between the Leigh Miners sports club and the canal.

That has enabled the site to be opened up for both boats and public access.

A number of Leigh businesses and community organisations have also sponsored the event.

The Leigh Canal Festival is on Saturday, September 15 and Sunday, September 16, starting at 10am each day.