Easter gathering heralds start of boat season

THE annual Easter Boat Gathering will return to the National Waterways Museum at Ellesmere Port from Friday, April 19 to Monday, April 22, it has been announced.

George Boyle cleans a kettle for his boat Badger at last year’s Easter Boat Gathering at the National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port.

For the last 41 years the colourful spectacle of the Easter Boat Gathering has marked the official start of the boating season and the 42ndevent, run by the Canal & River Trust, will continue this grand tradition.

Tens of boats will moor up across the museum’s seven-acre site and while boaters catch up on news museum visitors can stroll along the waterside, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy a rare chance to get up close to beautiful historic vessels, lovingly restored by dedicated owners. 

Music is an integral part of canal heritage and plays a major part in the long weekend, with some of the finest folk artists already confirmed.

Radio 2 Folk Award winners Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar will headline Saturday night and throughout the weekend the museum welcomes back Phil Underwood, who draws on the waterways’ rich musical heritage for his inspiration.

The Shropshire Boatmen will tell waterways stories in song, while Graham Bellinger returns with his wide repertoire of tales in tune. They will be joined by The Old Firm, The Hungry Horse Folk Club, The Raven Folk Club and family favourite David Gibbs. 

The Easter Boat Gathering will also be packed with inspirational workshops, tours and museum activities for all ages. 

Booking can be made through the website: www.canalrivertrust.org.ukMuseum annual passes are £9.75 for adults, £8.50 for concessions and £6 for 6-15 year olds. They offer unlimited visits for 12 months. Under-fives are free and other tickets are available.