News: Tiverton Canal Co. Will Celebrate its 40th Anniversary in August

News: Tiverton Canal Co. Will Celebrate its 40th Anniversary in August

Date Added: 09/07/2014 @ 11:06am

In August this year Tiverton Canal Co. will celebrate 40 years of the horse-drawn barge Tivertonian operating along the banks of the Grand Western Canal. It’s a special year for us as the Grand Western Canal also marked its 200th birthday during a weekend of bicentenary celebrations in May.

During the past 40 years two families have walked the towpath. In 1974, Tony Stockwell and his wife took the first horse-drawn barge trip with dray horse Ben. Ray and Pat Brind then took up the reins in 1985 and with sons Philip and Ricky and barge horses Duke, Ernie, Gavin, Jim and Prince, to name but a few. Current owners Philip and Jacquie Brind and their children Becky and Tim took the tiller with the horses Taffy, Dandy and Ross in 1986, continuing the tradition.

Today the Tivertonian is one of just four remaining horse-drawn barges in the UK. Staff in traditional costume entertain passengers on horse-drawn barge trips with stories of the canal and the barge horses as they experience a unique and increasingly rare experience.

To mark the 40th anniversary and to commemorate the bicentenary of first horse-drawn tub boat arriving at Tiverton on 25th August 1814, Tiverton Canal Co. and Devon County Council are hosting a joint event of entertainment and celebrations on Bank Holiday Monday 25th August 2014.

Taffy the Welsh Cob (who became famous when a photograph of him pulling Tivertonian won the Countryfile Calendar in 2012) will tow an old tub boat with a cargo of coal/limestone into the canal basin - a sight not seen since the last boat worked in the 1920s.

You can read a full interview with current owner Phil Brind here as he reminisces about the highlights and landmark moments that he and his wife Jacquie and their family have experienced over the last three decades.

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