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Silver Propeller Challenge

Explore the far flung reaches of the network

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to visit as many of the nation’s underused waterways as you can by any type of boat, canoe or paddleboard. Why?  You will not only get to visit some stunning, yet quieter, parts of the network, but you’ll also be in with a chance of receiving IWA’s Silver Propeller Challenge plaque.

Whenever you visit a Silver Propeller location, please post your pictures to our UK waterways Flickr group, and tag your images on Twitter, Instagram, Threads, Facebook and other social media with #silverpropeller

Challenge Locations

Boats in Bowling Basin, Forth & Clyde Canal
Moored boats on Snarestone Wharf Ashby Canal.
Nofolk crab boat going through Castle Mills Lock on the River Foss
Kayaks at Lowdwells lock on the Grand Western Canal.
Moored boats and rowers at Exeter basin on the Exeter Ship canal.
Moored boats at the Bridgwater docks on the Bridgwater and Taunton canal.
Junction bridge at Brockmoor on the Stourbridge Canal.
Narrowboats at South Kyme winding hole on the Sleaford Navigation.
Straddle Warehouse at Sheffield Basin on the Sheffield & Tinsley Canal.
A narrowboat at Ripon Basin on the Ripon Canal.
Campaign cruise at Welches Dam on the Old Bedford River.
Reaching Horseway Lock by dinghy on the Middle Level Navigation.
Boats at Liverpool Docks on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
A boat cruising at Wendover Arm on the Grand Union Canal.
A boat festival at Slough Arm on the Grand Union Canal.
Boats at Saul Junction on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.
A boat leaving Langley Mill Basin on the Erewash Canal
Alveston Weir in Warwickshire on the River Avon.
Springfield Basin, Chelmer & Blackwater Navigation

Taking part

Getting involved couldn’t be simpler.

Visit 20 different places on our list, take a photograph of you and your mode of transport (any type of boat, canoe or paddleboard) at each location, and save all your photos to submit once you’re done. Just ensure your pictures make the location easy to identify.

Everyone who completes the challenge will receive a Silver Propeller Challenge plaque to attach to their vessel. The challenge opened on 1st January 2018 and covers all visits from that date onwards – your snaps from the 1980s won’t be counted! We want to see evidence of these waterways being used today.

Please use this form to send us your challenge submission:

Silver Propeller Challenge Aims

There are over 100,000 boats registered on the inland waterways of England, Scotland and Wales, and in 2016 more than 672,000 people enjoyed the pastime of inland boating. IWA’s aim is to see those boats and people spread out across all of our wonderful canals and rivers. Most parts of our waterways are vibrant, busy places enjoyed by millions of people every year but there are still many locations where you would be lucky to see even one boat in a week, let alone in a day. Gongoozling is a favoured pastime of many walkers and cyclists, but if there are no boats, whole sections of waterways will lose their charm and appeal for everyone. This challenge aims to encourage our members and others to visit and use those places that aren’t reached as often as others.

ready, set, cruise

The places to visit fall into three categories:

  • Cruise it or lose it – These are places on waterways which see very few visiting boats and are located in many instances at the end of a waterway. We’re looking to encourage visits along the entire length of these canals and rivers.  Some of these waterways can have as few as one boat a month using them!  Let’s change that now.
  • Knocking on the door – These locations are where navigable waterways meet restoration works, proposed link projects and currently unnavigable sections. It’s hoped that in the future we will be able to remove these spots from the challenge as they become increasingly used.
  • More please – or maybe moor please – These places are on restored sections of canals. We want to support the restorations by encouraging waterway users to get afloat and experience first-hand all that’s being achieved.

While none of the ‘cruise it or lose it’ waterways are under threat at the moment, we would be hard pressed to defend them on usage grounds alone if they were to be threatened by a major development, such as a new motorway, or lack of funding to keep them open.