Waterway to spend the next two weeks!

The Horse Boating Society sets off with boat Vixen, pulled by horse Bilbo Baggins on the Calder and Hebble Navigation from Brookfoot, Brighouse,  towards Sowerby Bridge.
The Horse Boating Society sets off with boat Vixen, pulled by horse Bilbo Baggins on the Calder and Hebble Navigation from Brookfoot, Brighouse, towards Sowerby Bridge.

A FORTNIGHT of fun to celebrate a Calderdale waterway gets underway this weekend.

The Rochdale Canal Festival will kick off in Sowerby Bridge on Saturday with canoeing taster sessions, fairground rides and a barbecue.

There will also be the chance to see Rochdale Canal Society narrowboats and a horseboat on the water, and see a lock gate being made.

On Tuesday August 16, passengers can ride on a horse-drawn boat from Sowerby Bridge to Hebden Bridge with the Horseboating Society and its trusty steed Bilbo.

Horseboat cruises are also available from Hebden Bridge to Todmorden market and back on Thursday August 18 and 25, and Stubbing Wharf Cruises is also offering boat trips every day throughout the fortnight.

A lantern-lit towpath walk from Todmorden to Fielden Wharf sets off on Wednesday August 17, with lantern-making workshops held beforehand at Hippodrome Theatre on August 15.

On Saturday August 20, the new landscaped canalside scheme off Lever Street, Todmorden, will be officially opened with Incredible Edible activities like bee houses, seed bombs and origami boats.

The Mytholmroyd Masquerade, a play about the secret lives of canal creatures, will be held the next day. Costume and mask-making sessions led by the Handmade Parade folk will be followed by stilt-walking, giant puppets and a street band.

Walkers can also take a trip down memory lane with a heritage walk on Tuesday August 23, or look to the future on a geocaching adventure – a high-tech treasure hunt using GPS co-ordinates – on Wednesday, August 24.

And Hargreaves Lock Gates, behind Sowerby Bridge WMC, will open its doors to the public on Saturday for the first time.

For full details see www.rochdalecanal.wordpress.com. For details of horseboating trips, email enquiries@horseboating.com.