Celebrating the 21st anniversary of the Huddersfield Narrow

Published: Thursday, 28 April 2022

THE Canal & River Trust and the Huddersfield Canal society have joined forces to celebrate the 21st anniversary of the Huddersfeld Narrow Canal.

The early May Bank Holiday on the 2nd of the month will see a host of free activities at the 21st anniversary celebration of the reopening of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, held at Standedge Tunnel and Visitor Centre at Marsden.

NarrowCelebrationAgainst all odds

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal’s rebirth, against all the odds, is one of the outstanding successes of the canal restoration movement. After being derelict for 50 years, it was reopened to boats in 2001, thanks to the efforts of the Huddersfield Canal Society and the local authority and waterways partners, following 27 years of campaigning and a major restoration programme.

There are 74 locks on the canal’s 19 miles including the three and a quarter  miles long Standedge Tunnel, the longest, deepest and highest canal tunnel in the country, and one of the seven ‘wonders of the waterways’.

The Huddersfield Narrow Canal was reopened by His Royal Highness Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, who arrived on the Royal Train at Marsden Station and walked along the towpath to the visitor centre where he unveiled a special commemorative way marker.

Robbie Cummings

Robbie Cumming, star of BBC’s Canal Boat Diaries, will launch the new Marsden e-Shuttle, which will transport passengers between Marsden train station and Standedge Visitor Centre. This all-electric new boat is environmentally friendly and incorporates a wheelchair lift for those with disabilities.

Families will be able to take part in an array of activities, including boat trips into Standedge Tunnel, guided by Canal & River Trust volunteers, at 11am, 12midday, 1.15pm, 2.15pm and 3.30pm.

The Huddersfield Canal Society’s original boat the Marsden Shuttle will be running regular trips between Marsden and the visitor centre. After its launch at 2pm, the new Marsden e-Shuttle will provide short return trips from outside the visitor centre.

standedge entranceGames and music

There will be canal-side games in the gardens of the visitor centre, while those interested in the canal’s heritage are invited to watch some fascinating video footage. The party atmosphere will be enhanced with live music from several local bands and artists, including Diggle Brass Band, while Robbie Cumming will present a DJ set.

 There will also be a bar and street food, including wood-fired pizza, Cypriot cuisine and ice-cream, which can be enjoyed whilst soaking up the celebratory atmosphere. And if all this whets people’s tastebuds to get involved with their local canal, there’s a stall where they can find out about volunteering opportunities.

The event runs from 11am until 5pm with free admission. Parking is available at HD7 6DH. Just a short walk up the towpath or a ride on the Marsden Shuttle boat will get you to the visitor centre.

tunnel aditHistoric waterways protected

Luke Clark, Product and Marketing Lead for Standedge Tunnel for the Canal & River Trust, explains:

“This 21st anniversary of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal’s reopening is not only a celebration, but also a great way to show people the work that we do are doing to ensure our historic waterways are protected and preserved for boaters and the local community to use and enjoy. Being by water has a positive effect on people’s physical and mental wellbeing and events like this are so important in encouraging more people to spend time by the canal.”

The photograph shows the former British Waterways employee, Fred, at an audit in the tunnel who accompanied narrowboatworld—our third venture through. Out first was with the Press before it officially opened in 2002 then in 2003, then the one with Fred in 2011 in the opposite direction, the latter two on our own boat.

Alan Stopher, Chaimanr of Huddersfield Canal Society, related:

“The canal reopening 21 years ago was the result of effective teamwork across a number of organisations, and I’m pleased that the Society is working closely with our partners at the Canal & River Trust to celebrate the efforts of our forebears. This event also looks forward to the future success of the Standedge Visitor Centre as we launch our new electric shuttle boat.”