BOATERS and land-lovers alike were able to enjoy a whole Bank Holiday weekend of festivities as the Saul Waterways Pageant cruised through Gloucester and Sharpness canal.

An estimated 2,000 people visited the event at the junction with the Stroudwater Navigation canal from Saturday to Monday and were spoilt with a a diverse range of interests both on and off the waterways.

Organised by the Inland Waterways Association, activities included boat handling, canoeing, tug of war, Best Boat in Bloom, illuminated boat display, walking, fishing, cycling and Geocaching.

Because the event was held on the larger Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, sailing ships and other larger vessels could attend, as well as 54 visiting colourful canal boats.

The free event was also a chance to celebrate the restoration work taking place on the Cotswold Canal and promote the forthcoming Heritage Lottery bid that the Cotswold Canals Trust is making.

The public were able to catch a glimpse of the recovery work taking place and it must have proved to impressive as 30 signed up to be members of the recovery group.

Visitors also enjoyed artisan food stalls, a real ale bar, an evening of live music as well as a market all day Saturday and Sunday and a boat jumble sale on Monday.

A highlight of the event was a parade of historic RNLI lifeboats, spanning the last sixty years, brought to Saul by lifeboat enthusiast Phil Trotter of Saul Junction boat builders, R W Davis & Sons.

Two beautiful old steam launches and a steam traction engine also made an appearance on Saturday and Sunday.

Pageant spokeswoman Jane Elwell said: “We had two days of good weather followed by a very wet Bank Holiday Monday, but even on Monday the boat jumble drew plenty of bargain hunters despite the rain.

“The bar, run by WRG volunteers, was a focal point throughout and the historic lifeboats were a very popular attraction.

“The occasional stately passage of tall ships returning from filming in Gloucester Docks was an added unexpected attraction.

“Our entertainments programme was a constant stream of modern and traditional music which kept our feet tapping all weekend."