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All aboard for Hyndburn canal adventures
COMMUNITY groups in Hyndburn are now able to enjoy leisurely cruises down the Leeds-Liverpool Canal after staff were trained to man the decks.
Volunteers at Mercer House in Clayton-le-Moors sent Craig Wellbourne on a training course after they discovered a barge was available for hire from Blackburn.
The 62-foot-long red narrowboat can only be captained by a fully-trained skipper so keen walker and sailor, Craig, who once owned a boat on Windermere, undertook the necessary training. Mercer House sponsored his three-day-long training course using European Social Funding given to it as part of the ‘Growing People’ project.
Craig then used his newly-found skills to train up seven other volunteers as helpers so he has a pool of trained ‘first mates’ ready to take community groups sailing.
One of them was Mercer House’s community development worker, Ally Hodgson, who found the experience ‘very active and very enjoyable’.
She said: “It was the first time I have been sailing on a barge down the canal. We had to learn how to steer under bridges because there’s a lot of them.
“We went almost to Hapton from Eanam Wharf in Blackburn, where the barge is moored.
“We had to stop going through Rishton because it’s full of weeds which got caught in the propellors.”
Any groups in the area can hire the barge, Ally said.
She added: “There are also facilities on board for overnight sleeps so we can even have a weekend away or maybe a two or three day midweek trip.
“It’s like seeing a different bit of town. We live near such beautiful countryside we don’t often see, so that’s another reason for going out on the barge.”
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