London Boat Show, Leicester Line reopens, Ely mooring victory, Norfolk canal rewatered, and watch out Hollywood!
INLAND Waterways craft made a welcome return to the London Boat Show after several years’ absence, with an inland feature concentrating on holiday hire, and centred around a mock-up lock and a canal pub serving real ale to show visitors.
Although the duration of the show at East London’s ExCeL has been halved to just five days, exhibitors told Canal Boat that they preferred the shorter format (from the point of view of staff cover) and were seeing plenty of interest from visitors. Canal holiday hire was represented by ABC and Napton Narrowboats, the Fens by Fox Narrowboats, overseas waterways by Cruise Ireland and France Afloat, and the Broads and Thames by Richardsons, Kris Cruisers and Hobbs.
Meanwhile in the ‘lock’, a Broads cruiser and historic narrowboat tug Sandbach represented the old and new on the waterways. Aqueduct Marina joined forces with Aintree Narrowboats (exhibiting their ingenious Beetle mini-narrowboat - with several confirmed orders for new boats at the show), while the Inland Waterways Association (who flew the flag for inland waterways alone at the last few shows) and a late entry from the Canal & River Trust completed the inland display.
The new five-day format is set to be repeated next year, on 9-13 January. Chair of British Marine Inland Boating Russell Chase said that the inland boating exhibitors were “already talking about working together again” following the level of interest seen this year.
Plenty of interest in the hireboats Sandbach, with the Lock Keeper’s Inn behind