Thousands expected in Skiptonfor the Tour de France Waterway Festival

Craven Herald: WATER WHEELS: Ian Clark from Pennine Cruises on his Tour de Cut bike, pedalling along the Leeds to Liverpool Canal. WATER WHEELS: Ian Clark from Pennine Cruises on his Tour de Cut bike, pedalling along the Leeds to Liverpool Canal.

Thousands of visitors are expected in Skipton this bank holiday for the Tour de France Waterway Festival.

The hugely popular 13th annual festival will run from Saturday to Monday and will see boaters from across the country descending on the town with their Tour-themed decorated boats.

In addition to the boats, there will be plenty for families to see, including live bands, morris dancing, craft stalls, birds of prey and children’s rides.

Children will be able to take part in a cycling themed treasure hunt and there will be the return of the exciting raft race.

To give people an idea, Ian Clarke of organisers Pennine Cruisers, has designed and built a pedalo raft, which will be on show over the weekend.

Also making a reappearance on Sunday is the ever popular illuminated boat cruise, from Horse Close Bridge to the canal basin.

New for this year will be a caving experience where people can experience caving, without actually going underground.

And following last year’s event, when a park and ride was run for the first time, it will once again be offered – this year from Homeloan Management Ltd (HML) car park on Gargrave Road.

The park and ride will be free, and will run from 10am to 5.30pm. People will be transported into the town on vintage buses.

“We will have various entertainments each day of the festival, along with many stalls to keep people busy,” said Leanne Kendall, one of the organisers. “There will also be some new items added, and something we are all excited about is a new artificial cave unit which will allow people to experience caving in a controlled environment.”

Sunday’s raft race will be open to all over-18s and there will be a cash prize for the winners.

Owners will be competing for the titles of best-dressed boat, best illuminated boat and best-dressed to the theme.

Entertainment on Saturday will include music from the Accrington Pipe Band, Four Hundred Roses, and Jive Express.

On Sunday, the line-up includes Bloxed Beats, Furness Morris, Skipton Brass Band and Jen Armstrong.

And on Bank Holiday Monday, there will be a steel band, Midlife, Briggate Morris Dancers and The Boutiques and Brooke Phipps.

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