Montgomery Canal Triathlon made a successful return on Saturday with more than 100 entrants from across the British mainland.
The triathlon, run by the Friends of the Montgomery Canal, started at Newtown’s new Riverside Venue, which is being built by Open Newtown.
The 117 entrants, aged between under 10 and over 80 years, were sent on their way by MP Craig Williams, an enthusiastic supporter of the canal and Newtown’s Mayor Councillor Richard Williams. Some had travelled more than 200 miles to participate.
From Newtown, participants cycled 12 miles along the canal towpath to Belan Locks, south of Welshpool. This section involved three supervised crossings of the A483, where the canal was blocked after closure.
At Belan, bicycles were swapped for canoes for a five-and-a-half mile section through Welshpool. Welshpool Town Lock, the first on the canal to be restored, was bypassed by those who carried their canoes past the lock. Others went through the lock in their canoes, carefully managed by the volunteer team.
Mayor of Welshpool, Councillor Allison Davies cheered the canoeists through the lock and highlighted the opportunities the canal offers.
The canoe section finished at Crowther Hall Lock which was the start of the final nine-and-a-half 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, Friends of the Montgomery Canal chairman, said: “The event was a great success. Entrants were most appreciative of the organisation, telling us that all our volunteers had been so friendly and helpful. There was praise for the area the canal runs through, with many telling us they are now looking forward to the next triathlon.
“On their journey participants could see restored canal, blocked bridges and a derelict section which has to be rewatered.
“We hope that the recent Powys County Council bid for Levelling Up funds will allow more work on the section to the county 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 reconstruction of Schoolhouse Bridge is planned for next year. To keep the cost down, volunteers will be used where possible and we are delighted to have had offers of help from triathlon entrants. We are always keen to hear from anyone who would like to volunteer.
“Rebuilding the bridge in a matter of months will make it one of the most exciting projects in the years of Montgomery Canal restoration. The finished bridge will show the efforts of those volunteers and open the way to reopen the canal to the Welsh border.”
Michael Limbrey, Montgomery Waterway Restoration Trust’s chairman, congratulated the Friends of the Montgomery Canal on the management of the event.
“This is recognised by the fact that so many gave the event top marks and want to come again,” he said.
The organisers thanked Tesco and Morrisons who provided chocolate and cereal bars to help people on their way and to Montgomery Water for essential bottles of water.
Cyclists are brief at the start of the triathlon in Newtown.
Welshpool’s Mayor Cllr Alison Davies talks to canoeists in Welshpool.
Celebrating the finish of the triathlon.
>> More information about Montgomery Canal on Visit Mid Wales
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