The Montgomery Canal will be busy on Saturday 7 May when about 140 visitors take part in the annual Montgomery Canal Triathlon organised by the Friends of the Montgomery Canal.

Most of the bookings are for the whole Triathlon though some entrants will only join in one or two of the three sections:

  • 12 miles cycling from Newtown to Belan
  • 5½ miles by canoe through Welshpool to Pool Quay
  • and 9½ miles on foot to the finish at Crickheath.

Organisers are warning that the towpath will be busy on the cycling and walking sections and at two locks the canoeists will be negotiating, and that cyclists and walkers will be crossing roads where the canal is blocked.

Anyone completing all three sections will be awarded a unique, locally produced, slate medallion printed in gold colour, for two sections the medallion is printed in a silver colour, and one section receives a medallion with bronze printing.

Christine Palin, Chairman of the Friends of the Montgomery Canal said, “The Montgomery Canal Triathlon is known for its friendliness both by athletes and by the families who take part for fun. We go to great lengths to provide facilities for people taking part – with canoe hire, return transport and nearly a hundred volunteer stewards – and they tell us our event is one of the best from that point of view.

“This year’s event, our tenth anniversary Triathlon, is back to normal after the interruptions of the last couple of years and repeats last year’s course to finish at Crickheath near Oswestry. At about 27 miles we call it a Marathon Triathlon.

“While many entrants come from Wales and Shropshire, others are coming from the West Midlands, Scotland, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Wiltshire, Yorkshire, West London, Liverpool, France and Australia. I am not sure that the entrants from France and Australia are coming specially for the event though!

“The Triathlon is the biggest event on the Montgomery Canal and shows all that this special canal has to offer, as well as the terrific border country it runs through. Those taking part will see the unnavigable canal from Newtown to Berriew, the reopened section through Welshpool to Arddleen, the highway blockages obstructing the section north from Arddleen and the dry section from Llanymynech through Pant to the finish.

“The exciting thing is that thanks to a Government grant of nearly £15 million we expect work to start soon on the section south of Llanymynech and on Schoolhouse Bridge at Crickheath, the last road blockage in Shropshire, where the event finishes.

“As well as showing off the canal and our border countryside, the Triathlon is a great fund-raiser for future restoration. The emphasis this year is on Schoolhouse Bridge, which is the subject of our latest fund-raising appeal supported by Timothy West and Prunella Scales where each £1 we raise is being matched by an anonymous supporter. The appeal has already drawn a great deal of support from across the country and is already over a quarter of the way to its target. We are always keen to collect more donations through our website”