IF YOU were at ABC Boat Hire, Blackwater Meadow in Ellesmere you may have had the opportunity to try canal boating for free.

The Canal and River Trust and Drifters Waterway Holidays were offering people this chance at 19 locations across England and Wales.

Gareth Stephens, National Boating business manager at the Canal and River Trust, said: “We believe that waterways have the power to make a real difference to people’s lives and that spending time by water makes us all healthier and happier.

“Thousands of people already enjoy boating holidays on our beautiful 2,000-mile network of inland waterways, and these free canal boat taster sessions are a great way to know that this sort of holiday is for you, before committing to a weekend or longer break.”

Other locations to experience canal boating for free were Whitchurch Marina and Canal Wharf in Wrexham.

Tim Parker, chairman of Drifters Waterway Holidays, said: “Travelling at just 4mph through peaceful countryside, sleepy villages and vibrant waterside towns and cities, canal boat holidays are often described as ‘the fastest way to slow down.”

Further details about the open day events can be found at www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/trycanalboating or call your local ABC Boat hire marina.