Ironbridge Coracle Regatta makes a splash on its return

Two years since the last event scores of families turned out to celebrate the return of the Ironbridge Coracle Regatta.

The Ironbridge Coracle Regatta included a host of races and competitions
The Ironbridge Coracle Regatta included a host of races and competitions

The event, a celebration of the Gorge's long association with the historic method of river travel, saw a packed riverside enjoying a raft of competitions – with plenty of capsizing competitors to delight the crowds.

It was a welcome return for the event, which was cancelled last year due to the pandemic.

Amongst the line-up for the day was a series of races – from the fun and the madcap to the serious and competitive, along with a host of stalls, and even a paddling pool for youngsters to get their own taste of piloting a coracle.

Crowds sat on the steps to watch the Ironbridge Coracle Regatta.
Crowds enjoying the Ironbridge Coracle Regatta
Crowds sat on the steps to watch the Ironbridge Coracle Regatta.

Organised by the Ironbridge Coracle Trust along with the Ironbridge Lions and the Ironbridge Rowing Club, the event provided the perfect bank holiday entertainment with plenty of laughs for the spectators.

Marion Blockley, project manager for the Heritage Fund Project with the Ironbridge Coracle Trust, said they had been thrilled with the way the return had gone.

She said: "We were really pleased. It was a really lovely event, just the right number of people, lots of fun, lots of activities, lots of families enjoying themselves. It was just fantastic to get back to it after a two year break."

The Ironbridge Coracle Regatta included a host of races and competitions
Alex Richardson taking part in the Ironbridge Coracle Regatta
The Ironbridge Coracle Regatta included a host of races and competitions

Mrs Blockley also paid tribute to the efforts of those who had helped make the event happen.

She said: "There was a huge volunteer effort from the community and it was just so lovely to have all the different groups coming together offering help and taking on new challenges, because some of us were doing things for the first time.

"We are very grateful particularly to the rowing club and the lions. Local businesses as well, and Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service who very kindly came and filled our paddling pool up for the children."

Ollie Sydenham ends up in the water during the Ironbridge Coracle Regatta
A youngster has a go in a coracle in the paddling pool.
The Ironbridge Coracle Regatta included a host of races and competitions

She added: "It was the busiest I have seen it. The steps were crowded, the stalls did well, we had lots of charities there and they all said they had done well."

One of the most entertaining events of the day was the ‘Fussler Potts’ Community Challenge race.

The competition tasked teams of four going back and forth across the river to retrieve a flat cap, a waist coat and eventually a rabbit – until they were full dressed as a poacher.

The event was named after Fussler Potts, the famous Ironbridge coracler – and poacher.

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