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Canal Triathlon return praised

Created on 09/09/2021 @ 10:02


Participants from across the UK joined local entrants to take part in the Montgomery Canal Triathlon at the weekend organised by the Friends of the Montgomery Canal.

With an age range from under 10 to over 80 years of age, the 28-mile event’s return has been hailed as a huge success after it missed out last year due to Covid-19.

The event started at the new and unfinished ‘Severn Space – Gofod Hafren’, under development by Newtown’s new community trust Open Newtown.

Local MP Craig Williams, an enthusiastic supporter of the canal, started the entrants off with the assistance of Newtown Mayor Richard Williams.

From Newtown participants cycled 12 miles along the towpath (part of national cycle route 81) to Belan Locks, south of Welshpool. This section involved three crossings of the A483 where the canal was blocked after closure, supervised by volunteer marshals.

At Belan, bicycles were swapped for canoes for a 5½ mile section through Welshpool.

Welshpool Town Lock, the first on the canal to be restored, was by-passed by the more hasty who carried their canoes past the lock; others went through the lock in their canoes, carefully managed by the volunteer team - quite an experience in a small canoe.

The Mayor of Welshpool, Cllr Alison Davies, cheered the canoeists (pictured) through the lock at Welshpool and discussed with Town Council colleagues the opportunities the canal offers the town.

The canoe section finished at Crowther Hall Lock which was the start of the final 9½ miles on foot to the finish at Schoolhouse Bridge, Crickheath, south of Oswestry. This section included two more road crossings at blockages on the A483 and three more at minor roads as well as the border crossing at Llanymynech.

Christine Palin, Chairman of the Friends of the Montgomery Canal said: “Anyone who has planned an event through the months of Covid will know the uncertainty that continues until the event gets under way.

“This year’s Triathlon had to face all that with the addition of a changed format caused by a towpath closure north of this year’s finish, where the volunteers of the Shropshire Union Canal Society are busy restoring a section of derelict canal.

“We had to run the event at a different time of year too, and this meant much effort by the Canal & River Trust and volunteers of its local adoption group to trim the towpath hedge and clear the worst of the weed in the canal itself. Our appreciation and grateful thanks must go to them and to nearly 100 volunteers who helped on the day to keep the triathletes safe and guide them on their way.

“Despite all this, the event was a great success.

“We hope that the recent Powys County Council bid for Levelling Up funds will allow more work on the section to the Powys border and that we shall soon be able to bid for funding for the canal in Shropshire too.

“In the meantime ‘Restore the Montgomery Canal!’ – a joint venture by the Friends of the Montgomery Canal, Inland Waterways Association and Shropshire Union Canal Society – has been working to rebuild Schoolhouse Bridge, the last highway blockage in Shropshire, where the Triathlon finished. Previous Triathlons have enabled the Friends of the Montgomery Canal to make substantial donations to the appeal fund and we are delighted to have received more donations at this year’s event.

The organisers are grateful to Tesco and Morrisons who provided chocolate and cereal bars to help people on their way and to Montgomery Water for essential bottles of water.


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