While the annual Transport Festival in Audlem has always attracted a superb range of vehicles on four and two wheels (and more in some instances) as well as air displays by the likes of Dakotas and Spitfires, the canal has remained something of a Festival backwater. This has been surprising given Audlem's renowned role in the canal network with the Shropshire Union so important historically to the village.
This year's Transport Festival on Sunday rectifies the situation with a display of fascinating narrow boats moored in the village centre. So, rather than keeping entirely to the playing field where the vehicles will be displayed all afternoon, you can also wander down to the Wharf. As well as an array of boats, the refreshments available at the Bridge Inn (now fully open with its new conservatory and patio area), the Shroppie Fly and the Mill will make it a pleasant detour.
Amongst the boats that have already arrived in Audlem for the Festival is Hyperion, a Grand Union Company Star class boat built by Harland & Woolf at Woolwich in the 1930s. Thea is a conversion from a boat built at Northwich, also in the 1930s, while regular visitors to Audlem Wharf who saw the opening of the Weaver Way in June will be delighted to hear that Saturn, the famous and beautifully restored 'Shroppie Fly' boat, is once again in Audlem this weekend for the Festival.
The narrow boats and the Wharf all add up to an extra reason to be in Audlem this Sunday for one of the finest Festivals of Transport you'll find anywhere. The canal's moorings are already lined with narrow boats, many of whose owners say they have travelled to Audlem for the Transport Festival.
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