Graeme Bridge has been the Chairman of the oldest cruising club on the canal – The Bridgewater Motor Boat Club – for almost 25 years and is passionate about the canal and the pleasure it brings to boating enthusiasts. It has around 100 members and is going as strong today as when it was formed in 1951.
“There has been a lot of change over the years, particularly in terms of the Bridgewater Way, but the scenery has pretty much stayed the same. The Runcorn stretch is a real green oasis and you wouldn’t believe that you’re in the heart of an industrial northern town. As a group, we’re looking forward to the reopening of Runcorn Locks, which will mean we can continue through to the Manchester Ship Canal and reach the River Weaver within a couple of hours.
“There’s a great community spirit among all five of the Bridgewater Boat Clubs. Since 1962, each club has taken it in turns to hold a huge event – The Federation of Bridgewater Cruising Clubs’ Rally – it’s an annual highlight and a great social occasion for us all where we can meet with old friends and have a weekend of fun and entertainment.
“Our canal is the only privately-owned canal in the UK and we have never felt under threat of losing it – which is reassuring, when cruising along it has never been so popular. Our canal is much more than a man-made waterway – it’s a linear village with a community at its heart.”