Boats galore at Langley Mill for rally spectacular

Thousands of folk lined the banks of the Erewash Canal as part of a spectacular bank holiday boat rally at Langley Mill.

More than 100 narrowboats from around the country flocked to Langley Mill basin as part of an event to mark the 40th anniversary of the restoration of the site.

The Erewash Canal Preservation and Development Association (ECPDA), which celebrates its 45th anniversary this year also, last ran the rally in 2008.

Vice-chairman John Nixey said: “It was an excellent weekend - we certainly had difficulties setting up on Friday because of the weather - but then we had a beautiful sunny few days.

“It was just about spreading the word really - as well as all the festivities such as a beer tent and food stalls, we must have had about six or seven thousand people down there over the weekend - it’s about letting people know what is right on their doorstep.”

Proceedings were started by the Holymoorside Brass Band, performing from atop two narrowboats, watched by the new mayor of Amber Valley Angela Ward.

A host of trade stalls - both on the boats and on the canal bank – also gave folk plenty to see and do over the three days, from listening to storytelling to indulging in tea and biscuits aboard the Friends of Cromford Canal narrowboat.

Numerous canal associations from around the country also came to promote their causes.

Mr Nixey said the event also aimed to celebrate the work such volunteer groups do.

He said: “It’s all about heritage – we don’t like to see anything go in the same way the railways did in some respects.

“The canal system did get into disrepair - but it’s having a resurgence thanks to volunteer groups across the country.”

The basin, constructed between 1779 and 1796 formed the junction of the Cromford, Nottingham and Erewash canal systems, and was once a hub for Langley Mill’s industrial transport until 1952.

The volunteer-run ECPDA was instrumental in re-opening the derelict basin in 1973 and a dedicated team of between 20 and 30 still regularly maintain the 11-mile stretch of canal, which runs as far as Trent Lock near Long Eaton.

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