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Thursday, 5 April 2012

Get a taste of boating history at 'The Port'

BOATERS setting out from Norbury should give serious thought to travelling to the very Northern end of the Shropshire Union, at Ellesmere Port.

Once through Chester you are heading towards the Manchester Ship Canal and the southern bank of the Mersey Estuary and there sits the fascinating National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port, a spectacular celebration of narrowboat culture.

If you hurry this month you will see it at its best as the Easter Boat Gathering 2012 will attract around fifty boats from across the canal network are expected at the four day event, which runs from 6 April.

FMC Minnow at Adderley returning from the Port in 2007.

Again this year, the traditional fun and games will be joined by a Sea Shanty festival and three days of musical entertainment (April 6-8) and evening concerts.

During the first three days of the gathering, shanty singers from across Europe will be performing their atmospheric songs among the museum's historic dock buildings and renowned boat collection.

Family fun is guaranteed with children's crafts and music workshops, plus costumed characters bringing Porters Row to life.

Shanty singers will be showing youngsters how to perform traditional songs and highlighting some of the more gruesome aspects of life at sea. Add with old fashioned games around the museum, and there is plenty for all the family.

Museum marketing manager Oliver Briscoe said: "We're excited by the plans for the Easter Boat Gathering this year with a real emphasis on music and family fun. It's a great chance to showcase the heritage and tradition of the canals to the general public in a great setting."

Other events across the festival include demonstrations of traditional crafts, lectures, book stalls, lock demonstrations, battle of the tugs, and a tour of the museum's Heritage Boatyard. The full programme is available on the museum website at .

However, whether you make it for Easter or not, the museum is well worth visiting as it sits where the wide and narrow canals and rivers meet the sea. Here you can see the vessels that plied the Ship Canal and the River Weaver as well as the narrowboats that carried cargoes inland.

It is a fascinating insight into the past and the lost opportunities of our waterways.

For more news take a look at our e-magazine Norbury News at

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