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Watch: Narrowboat blazes trail with first trip on stretch of canal in 60 years

Oswestry | News | Published:

To boldly go – a narrowboat has travelled along a stretch of the Montgomery Canal for the first time in more than 60 years.

The trip boat Heulwen 2 charted new waters as it gingerly made its way between Belan Locks and Refail, a stretch of the canal between Welshpool and Oswestry, with the Canal and Rivers Trust's tug following to ensure it did not get stuck.

The successful five-mile journey means that public trips can go ahead from Welshpool to Berriew at Easter and beyond.

It is the latest venture in the campaign to reopen a 12-mile section of the canal, centred around Welshpool to boost the economy of the town.

The 200-year-old canal which runs for 33 miles from the Llangollen Canal to Newtown via Welshpool and Llanymynech, fell into disuse in 1936 and was finally abandoned in 1944.

Mayor of Welshpool Malcolm Douglas joins the crew on the historic trip

Welshpool Mayor, Councillor Malcolm Douglass was one of those on the boat on Tuesday, which is run by the Heulwen Trust which provides trips for elderly people and those with disabilities.

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The mayor is helping to coordinate a series of initiatives taking place to restore the waterway, from a Heritage Lottery Fund project which could see the restoration of a dry section of canal, to working with university students and also adopting a section of canal. It is clear that the restoration of the Montgomery Canal will bring huge benefits to the people of Welshpool and it's important that we all work together to remove the obstacles to its development.

"Since my involvement with the canal we have managed to get the weeds and rushes cut between Berriew and Pool Quay," he said.

Mr Pat Ward, from the Heulwen Trust, who was also on board, said he was delighted that the trip was a success.

"We got as far as the Horeshoes Pub and then went onto Refail with the tug boat in case it ran into problems.We take elderly and disabled people on trip much of they year round but now we can run public trips from Welshpool from Easter.

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"This will not only raise funds for the trust to maintain our two boats and perhaps buy a third but it will also raise awareness of the scheme to reopen the stretch of canal."

Mayor of Welshpool Malcolm Douglas joins the crew on the historic trip

The Heulwen Trust is a charity which aims to bring enjoyment and pleasure to disabled children and adults.

It does this by offering scenic canal boat trips through the Welsh countryside.

To date, more than 45,000 people with disabilities have enjoyed free daily trips.

The Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust, has also organised a host of events on the canal over the next year starting with a St David's Day walk from Four Crosses on March 1.

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