Page last updated at 04:57 GMT, Friday, 7 May 2010 05:57 UK

104-year-old boat begins tour of Llangollen Canal

Saturn being pulled along the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, near Wrexham, in 2005
Saturn is the only existing example of a horse-drawn Shropshire Union fly-boat in the world

A 104-year-old horse-drawn boat is beginning an eight-day tour of the World Heritage site between Wrexham and Denbighshire on the Llangollen Canal.

The fly-boat, called Saturn, will cruise the 11-mile (18km) from Llangollen to Chirk, educating pupils about the history of British waterways.

The project also aims to strengthen links between communities along the World Heritage Site.

The Pontcysyllte Aqueduct was given World Heritage status in 2009.

Saturn is the only existing example of a horse-drawn Shropshire Union fly-boat in the world.

According to British Waterways, the term fly-boat is derived from the Dutch vlieboot, a boat with a "shallow enough draught to be able to navigate all waterways".


Saturn was a cheese fly, built primarily for the fast carriage of cheese from towns in Cheshire and Shropshire to major markets in places like Manchester.

It was constructed in 1906 for the Shropshire Union Canal Carrying Company at Tower Wharf, Chester, where a boatyard still operates.

Restored under a partnership between the Shropshire Union Fly-boat Restoration Society and British Waterways, it travels UK waterways trying to promote the history and heritage of waterways.

The visit is part of the Pontcysyllte & Llangollen Canal Project, a two-year scheme aimed at strengthening links between the 10 communities along the World Heritage Site corridor.

Community project officer Piers Warburton said: "Our commitment to World Heritage status brings tangible benefits to communities living along the 11 mile World Heritage site corridor.

"Our programme of heritage, environmental and history awareness sessions are equipping local people with practical skill sets which increase their understanding of this popular visitor destination."

Social evenings and barbecues will be held on the canal bank throughout the trip.

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