AROUND 7,000 visitors – including some famous canal enthusiasts – lined the towpaths for this year’s annual Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally.
The rally was formally opened by Ivor Caplan, Chairman of the Inland Waterways Association, who steered the narrowboat Panther into the marina from the Grand Union Canal.
Actor couple Timothy West and Prunella Scales steered respectively the 1936 narrowboats the Nuneaton and Brighton.
A plaque was unveiled in memory of Aubrey Berriman, the shipwright to the wooden butty Raymond which was built in Braunston in 1958, who died earlier this year aged 93.
Eleven members of the the Guild of Waterways Artists exhibited their works in their own marquee. There was also a trade marquee shared with a number of canal societies, and other exhibitors such as the RNLI and the local Air Ambulance, who were given free space.
Other attractions included performances by the canal-travelling Alarum Theatre, Theatre in the Dock, The Boat Doctors, Mortimer’s Morris Dancers, and live music in the Dry Dock beer tent – while children were entertained by Professor Diamond’s Punch and Judy Show.
Tim Coghlan of Braunston Marina said: “For me, what was most pleasing was the number of boats that came which had never been before, and the comments from so many owners that it is events like this which inspire them to restore and maintain their boats – such an important living and moving part of our canal heritage.
“Each year I hear the same gratifying story, which makes organizing the Rally so worthwhile.”
The Braunston Historic Narrowboat Rally will return to Braunston Marina will be hosting the event again next year on the last weekend in June.