Whaley Bridge’s 14th Water Weekend (W3) broke all records. For the first time, not a drop of rain fell on the event, as three dry, warm and sunny days brought out the crowds.
The number of passengers on the free boat trips broke a four-year record, as 1,600 people enjoyed a short canal cruise. That’s equivalent to one person in five of Whaley Bridge’s population!
It could have been more, if one of the three hired boats had not broken down on the Sunday. The 12 passengers on the Rachael had to be put ashore on the towpath when the boat’s engine stopped, putting it out of action for the rest of the day. Rick Heys, former head at Whaley Bridge primary school and ‘commodore’ for the boat trips, promised everyone with a ticket that they would get a trip. The other two boats sailed on until after the scheduled end of the event.
Other records went, too. The crowds, impossible to measure in the open canal basin area, were the biggest organisers could remember. They gave generously to collection buckets. Treasurer Eveline Hughes said: “Thanks to everyone. This helps to ensure next year’s event. We’ve already booked many of the attractions for 2014.”
Traffic, especially on Saturday, was very heavy, with gridlock for a while near Tesco.
Music plays a big part in W3. The number of performing bands and acts over the weekend was also a record. There were 11 groups at the acoustic evening in the Mechanics’ Institute, which launched W3 2013.
See 2013 picture round up, below.