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Flotilla explores Olympic Park waterways for first time

Up to 40 boats from the St Pancras Cruising Club and the Inland Waterways Association took to the waters Up to 40 boats from the St Pancras Cruising Club and the Inland Waterways Association took to the waters

Thursday, May 15, 2014
8:00 AM

Boats took to the waters of the Olympic Park for the first time since David Beckham’s Bond-esque entrance at the London 2012 Games opening ceremony.

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Boats cruise Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in a one-off preview off the revived waterwaysBoats cruise Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in a one-off preview off the revived waterways

The one-off preview day offered the chance for members of the St Pancras Cruising Club and the Inland Waterways Association to lead their 40-strong flotilla along the park’s 6km of waterways on Saturday, May 10.

According to a spokesman for the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), which took charge of the rivers in 2012, the long term plan is to have them play host to activities “from recreational boating and tour boat trips to canoeing and rowing”.

Though there was no indication when they would open permanently, though if there was enough demand another preview could be organised, she said.

Once a key transport network for the industries that lined the river, the decline of canal freight after the Second World War together with a build up of silt saw the rivers become virtually un-navigable until they were closed altogether.

Sights include the ArcelorMittal Orbit and the Olympic stadiumSights include the ArcelorMittal Orbit and the Olympic stadium

They were finally given a new lease of life by the Olympic Delivery Authority working together with the Canal and River Trust who created new river walls and towpaths, repaired disused locks, dredged channels and helped improve wildlife habitats.

Footballer David Beckham was seen carrying the Olympic torch to the stadium at the start of the London 2012 Games opening ceremony.

Anyone interested in cruising Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park should email waterways@queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk to register their interest.

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