Poet Paddle: a hundred mile trip

Here comes the summer centrepiece of Nancy’s Canal Laureateship: a week long, 100 mile kayak trip along the new Desmond Family Canoe Trail.

Managed by the Canal and River Trust, the Desmond Family Canoe Trail is the longest of its kind in the UK, spanning over 160 miles from Liverpool to Goole. Along its length, a range of arts and social action projects take place, designed to get young people enjoying the water in their canoes, kayaks and paddleboards.

Nancy starts her journey on Wednesday 18 July in Liverpool. Over the next seven days, she visits Aintree, Parbold, Wigan, Blackburn and the locks and swing bridges in between till she arrives in Leeds for a celebratory reading at the end of her trip. En route, her role is to report – in poetry – on the people and projects she discovers.

Here’s where Nancy will be during the week…

Tuesday 17 July – Leeds

Wednesday 18 July – Liverpool, Aintree

  • Nancy starts her journey from Eldonian Village Stanley Docks 

Thursday 19 July – Aintree, Heaton’s Bridge, Parbold

  • A day of paddling

Friday 20 July – Parbold, Wigan, Botany Bay

  • Clearing the decks – a group litter-pick in and around Wigan Pier from 11.30am – 1pm

Saturday 21 July – Botany Bay, Blackburn

  • Nancy paddles into Eanam Wharf a group of local waterway users

 Sunday 22 July – Todmorden

  • A rest day  and a quick excursion over the hills to visit  a different canal – the Rochdale Canal

Monday 23 July – Burnley, Sandy Gate, Reedly Marina, Foulridge

  • A meeting with groups from Super Slow Way and Desmond Family Canoe Trail arts projects

Tuesday 24 July – Foulridge, Bingley

  • A day of paddling in the company of Jasper Winn, the Canal and River Trust’s Writer in Residence

Wednesday 25 July – Bingley, Leeds

  • Meeting lock keepers to talk about canalside wellbeing 
  • A reading in Leeds – details tbc

Thursday 26 July – Leeds to York (by train)

There are also plans for towpath interviews with other writers, the creation of a canal poetry print, and a new crowdsourced poem built from the observations of the people Nancy meets.

With a waterproof camera strapped to the front of her kayak, and her phone safely stowed in a plastic bag, Nancy will tweet as she goes. For the latest swan stats and towpath pics, follow along at @canalpoetry #poetpaddle #artsonthewaterways