Preston canal enthusiast has spent six years restoring historic water taxi

A waterways lover has painstakingly restored a unique 15ft boat.

By Stef Hall
Wednesday, 22nd July 2020, 12:30 pm

Colin Ogden, 65, from Elswick, near Preston, has been restoring the vessel, called Whimbrel, for the last six years and has been testing it on the Lancaster Canal.

The unusual craft was built at Shepherd’s boat builders at Bowness-on-Windermere in 1965 as a one-off water taxi.

It has a Venetian style sliding roof, bench seats and is fitted with a 1937 Stuart Turner 1.5 two stroke engine, which Colin has brought back to life.

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Whimbrel is restored

He is now completely fibre-glassing the hull before launching her on the water in memory of his late wife Lynda.

Lynda loved sailing in Whimbrel, but passed away last year, at the age of 60, before the restoration work was completed.

The former plumbing engineer has been an avid campaigner for relinking the 42 miles of the southern canal - from Preston to Tewitfield - with the Northern Reaches that go into Cumbria.

Earlier this year he made history by being the first person to sail a boat up the Lancaster Canal’s Tewitfield Locks since 1968 - though it was a 3ft model narrowboat that made the journey up the historic flight!

Colin Ogden