Recently, I was at a networking meeting where a variety of community groups had a 3-minute pitch to tell each other about their projects. I was intrigued by Sue Day, The chair of the Horse Boating Society; a charity whose aim is to keep the heritage and culture of this original form of canal boat use alive, was asking for volunteers. Sue was bringing her boat to Saltaire in April for the World Heritage weekend. I spoke to her later at the bar:
“It’s the first time for 60 years that a horse drawn boat has travelled on the Leeds - Liverpool canal. There are only 5 horse boats operating in this country and the others are commercial operations.”
I arranged to meet her to find out how we could get involved. The boat stood alone on the moorings at Thwaite Mills, Leeds on the mighty Aire and Calder navigation.
"I need a boat to tow me to Leeds because the towpath has disappeared in places. The tow path on the canal also needs saplings cutting back so that the rope does not get snagged. I need someone to set the locks and bridges. I need guides to warn people of a horse on the towpath."
A call to Alan at David Young Community Academy revealed a strange response. “This could link into various aspects of our pupils school work", and the horse boat project begun...