Stallion makes historic 128-mile horse-boating journey

Bilbo Baggins and Sue Day. The video above shows Bilbo Baggins and Day on a trip in 2009.
Bilbo Baggins and Sue Day. The video above shows Bilbo Baggins and Day on a trip in 2009.

A cob stallion named Bilbo Baggins has made history, towing the first horse-drawn canal boat from Leeds to Liverpool in 68 years.

The 128-mile journey took Bilbo Baggins five months, as he pulled the historic 150-year-old 60-foot Yorkshire narrow boat Elland.

Horse Boating Society chairwoman Sue Day, who travelled on board, told the BBC that horse-boating was now incredibly rare.

“There are only five of us in Britain with horse-drawn boats,” she said. “People just love to see a horse-drawn boat come through their locality.

“We are trying to preserve and promote horse boating and keep the skills and traditions going.”

Day said Bilbo Baggins was fine after the journey, as they had taken the journey “very easy”.

The arrival of the horse-drawn boat gave locals a unique glimpse into the past, when working horses were a part of everyday life at Liverpool’s docks.

World Heritage Officer John Hinchliffe said: “Horses were a common sight on our waterfront from the 18th century, right through to the 1960s. They maintained the vital link between the docks and the rest of the city and were instrumental in placing Liverpool as one of the world’s most prominent and prosperous ports.

“This visit, the first of its kind at our canal link, will help to give meaning to some of the historic structures on our waterfront.”

Bilbo and Elland embarked on the journey from Leeds canal on World Heritage Day, April 18, heading to Saltaire’s World Heritage Site, before moving on to Skipton, Blackburn and Burscough as their journey unfolded.

They left Litherland on August 13 and travelled down Stanley Locks before completing their journey the following day.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend