Owners of small boats invited to join annual rally

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Canoeists, kayakers and small boat owners have been invited to join a friendly flotilla exploring the River Arun.

The occasion is the annual rally on the waterway between Pulborough and Pallingham Quay organised by Loxwood-based Wey & Arun Canal Trust.

This year’s event is on Sunday May 22 celebrating the long tradition of boats navigating a river which was once part of a route from London to the South Coast.

A record number of craft took part last year, including members of the Trust, enthusiasts from canoe clubs and youth groups in the area and paddlers from as far away as Hampton in Surrey.

“We were delighted with the 2015 turn-out, and we had a colourful array of small craft travelling along the Arun,” said Trust chairman Sally Schupke. “It was a convivial and very pleasant occasion, with participants telling us they had an enjoyable time on the river.”

The Arun is tidal as far as Pallingham Weir and the rally date has been chosen to ensure the tide is high enough for small craft to navigate a picturesque section of the waterway.

The aim is to reach the site of the original junction of the canal with the river and then go on to the Pallingham Quay, the highest navigable point for boats on the Arun. The 18th century Stopham Bridge is another historic feature on the route.

Launching at Pulborough is planned for between 1.30pm and 2pm for small boats which need to use the slipway there.

There will be a break at Pallingham Quay and, if time and water levels permit, participants can also stop for refreshments at the White Hart by Stopham Bridge.

Those who would like to join the rally can book places online at https://weyarun.org.uk/drupal/pulboroughboatrally

They can also request a form by e-mailing rallies@weyandarun.co.uk.

Wey & Arun Canal Trust is restoring the 23-mile canal between Pallingham and Shalford in Surrey.

When it is restored, there will be an inland waterway link from London, via the rivers Wey and Arun, to as far as Littlehampton on the Sussex coast.

The canal is open for use by small boats, canoes and kayaks at Loxwood and at various other points where restoration has taken place.

For more information visit www.weyandarun.co.uk