England’s first ever coast to coast canoe project, the Desmond Family Canoe Trail, is inviting canoeists to join in a ‘Santa Splash’ festive paddle along the Leeds & Liverpool Canal in Liverpool on Saturday 10 December and Blackburn on Sunday 11 December.
The event is being organised by the Canal & River Trust, the charity which cares for 2,000 miles of the nation’s canals. Everyone with access to a canoe is invited to join in the Christmas fun. There will also be an opportunity for families and individuals without canoes to take part by booking one of the limited places on a larger boat, provided by the Desmond Trail project team.
The Liverpool Santa Splash starts at the Eldonian Village, Vauxhall, (L3 6LG), and finishes about two miles away at the SAFE Regeneration Centre in Bootle (L20 4AP). The Blackburn event the following day is based at Eanam Wharf, Blackburn (BB1 5BY) and involves a two mile round trip back to Eanam Wharf.
Both festive paddles start at 10.30am. There will be prizes for the best dressed person and best-dressed boat, and free lunchtime refreshments and hot chocolate served at the finish for all entrants.
Greg Brookes, Desmond Family Canoe Trail project manager with the Canal & River Trust, said: “We are encouraging all the canoeists to decorate their boats as well as themselves. Everyone who books in advance will be able to reserve a free Santa outfit.
“This is not a race. People can just come along and have fun or if they want to raise money for charity at the same time that is also fine by us. Children are very welcome but will need to be accompanied by an adult.
“We would love to see a mass of red Santa suits afloat on the canal on both days – that would be a festive sight to brighten even the dullest December weekend!”
The two Santa Splash events form part of a five year project to create The Desmond Family Coast to Coast Canoe Trail across the Pennines. Funded by a £1.3 million grant from the Desmond Foundation, the 160 mile trail starts in Liverpool, follows Britain’s longest canal, the Leeds & Liverpool, links into the Aire & Calder Navigation in Yorkshire and finally reaches the east coast at Goole.
More details of the Santa Splash events in Liverpool and Blackburn are on the Canal & River Trust website at www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/the-desmond-family-canoe-trail/events Twitter @CRTCanoeTrail.
To reserve a place, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07919 691169.