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Boats gather for waterways celebration

Canal boats lining up in Northampton

Boats of all shapes and sizes have been making their way to Northampton this weekend for a major event celebrating the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Northampton canal Arm.

The Arm connected the Grand Union Canal (or Grand Junction as it was then known) to the Nene in Northampton, creating a route to the East Anglian waterways and the Wash by water.

The 200th anniversary event

The Arm replaced an earlier horse drawn railway between Gayton Junction and an unloading point at Far Cotton where a restored historic crane still stands.

The Arm enabled ironstone and limestone to be carried to local blast furnaces, grain and flour to and from mills along the Nene, coal from North Warwickshire and timber from London's Surrey Docks to Northampton.IWA is holding a major waterways event on the river Nene over the August Bank Holiday Weekend in 2015.

The event was opened by actor Timothy West and his wife, Fawlty Towers star Prunella Scales. The couple present a television series on canal boat journeys.

Timothy West and Prunella Scales at the opening ceremony

Here's Wesley Smith's report:

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