24 February 2021

Over 25 years ago, Harry Watts was first introduced to the world of WRG. A colleague at the BBC, Eddie Jones, eventually persuaded him to get out digging.

After a trip to the Wey and Arun Canal – followed in quick succession by IWA’s Chester National Festival 1995 and a Montgomery Canal Camp – he was hooked. Harry never looked back.

WRG stalwart

After years of digging, Harry started attending WRG Committee meetings to find out how to get a bit more involved. Somewhere along the way (perhaps in the pub), he got his arm twisted to join the WRG Board.

In more recent years, Harry has been involved in planning and running Canal Camps. He has trained many volunteers to operate excavators, dumpers and the iconic WRG vans.

Scotland’s whisky island

10 years ago, WRG Director Harry was invited along by Mike and Jude Palmer on their now annual pilgrimage to the Scottish Island of Islay.

‘Scotland’s whisky island’ obviously left its mark on Harry, who struck upon an idea to buy a cask of whisky to donate to WRG. He hoped that we would think big and use the barrel to create a one-off, WRG whisky.

Restoration whisky

True to Harry’s wishes, Restoration is now on sale.

The whisky comes from Bruichladdich Distillery and has been maturing in a Rivesaltes Hogshead Cask. Bruichladdich is a self-styled progressive Hebridean Distiller dedicated to producing world-class whisky in the most sustainable way they can. It has been bottled at 10 years old at a strength of 62.7%.

There are only 278 bottles of this lovingly crafted whisky available. All funds raised from the sale of the whisky will go straight back to the work of WRG, making sure that restoration continues for the future.

To 50 years of digging

We can think of no better way to celebrate WRG’s 50th and IWA’s 75th anniversaries this year than by raising a glass to the spirit of restoration.