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  • Writer's pictureNEMM

Volunteers to launch river boat trips after taking delivery of new boat

Volunteers from the Melton & Oakham Waterways Society (MOWS) have taken delivery of their first trip boat which will soon be operating regular cruises around the Melton Ring and along the local rivers.

It is the first narrowboat on the Eye or Wreake in more than 20 years.

With room for 12 passengers, the 30ft boat is designed for operating sightseeing trips with roll-up side windows making it ideal for the summer months.

A sight the volunteers will be proud of. Delivery of their new boat thanks to a generous member. Photo: Suppled.

The boat has previously operated from a marina at Burton on Trent operating cruises along the Trent & Mersey Canal. When it became available, MOWS was able to purchase it thanks to an interest-free loan on very generous terms from a long time supporter of the Society.

The boat was lowered into the water at Eye Kettleby on Thursday and then sailed to the MOWS river maintenance compound opposite Egerton Park.

Final details of its operating base are now being discussed and will be announced in due course.

Before the boat can enter service a provide a unique view of Melton from the water, there will be some dredging work on shallow stretches of the Melton Ring and also some overhanging branches to be cut back.

The first narrowboat to touch the water in 20 years is delivered near Sysonby. Photo: Supplied

It is hoped that the coming months will see, not only the trip boat becoming a familiar site in Melton, but also rowing boats. MOWS now has 7 rowing boats which will be hired out from the same base as the trip boat.

The introduction of the boats is part of the society's efforts to enable more people to appreciate the local rivers which they believe is an under-appreciated attraction. They also have the potential to attract more visitors to the town.

The boat cruises on its first voyage towards its temporary base. Photo: MOWS

Operating from 1797 to 1877, the Melton Mowbray Navigation followed the course of the Rivers Wreake and Eye from the River Soar near Syston to a cargo basin where the Melton Council office now stand.

The basin was also the start of the 16-mile Oakham canal. The Boat Inn was then a quayside pub.

Horse-drawn barges would bring Derbyshire coal into a basin and agricultural produce, wood and manure would be taken in the opposite direction for export to the rest of the country.

During their voyage, the barges would pass through 12 locks, which controlled the flow of water, and 10 still exist today.

Melton & Oakham Waterways Society is a charity formed in 1997 with the aim of restoring the Navigation so that vessels can once again sail into the heart of Melton Mowbray.

More details on the river tours will be announced shortly.

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