Canals Could Be New Way To New Year's Fitness

Volunteers are being sought to join a nationwide team of lock keepers to ensure the canals of England and Wales are flowing smoothly.

The Canal & River Trust is searching for recruits to look after the waterways by helping boaters through locks, welcoming visitors and keeping designated stretches neat and tidy.

Last year more than 480 people volunteered for this position across 2,000 miles of inland waterways looked after by the trust.

This year, there are more than 80 locations where people can volunteer to help, including 33 sites which are new for 2015.

Some of the opportunities are at:

  • Braunston (Northants)
  • Buckby (Northants)
  • Marsworth (Bucks)
  • Soulbury (Bucks)
  • Stoke Bruene (Northants)
  • Watford (Herts)    

Phil Arm, 63, has been a volunteer lock keeper for the past two-and-a-half years and said:

"I would recommend the role to anyone. It can be hard, physical exercise at times, opening and closing the lock gates, but that's what I like about it. It's great to chat with people and give advice on the best places to go and talk about the history of the local area and how the locks work."

Edd Moss, national volunteering manager at the Canal & River Trust, added:

"Volunteer lock keepers really are the friendly faces of the canals and boaters and visitors on the towpath love them. The role involves talking to boaters, helping them through locks. Their local knowledge can really help people get the most out of their visit by pointing out the best stopping points, canalside pubs and hidden gems along the way.

The volunteers play a vital role in keeping customers happy and also help to keep local waterways in good working order so their efforts really are invaluable. Anyone can get involved; the role's open to people of all ages as long as they are reasonably fit and healthy and enjoy meeting new people."

To find out more about becoming a volunteer lock keeper, visit www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/volunteer.

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