PEOPLE are being asked to help replace missing milestones along the Lancaster Canal and to take part in a summer photo competition to celebrate the Lancaster Canal's bicentenary this year.

The Lancaster Canal Trust, made up of volunteers, and the Canal and River Trust, which looks after 2,000 miles of waterways, have teamed up to reinstate 24 missing mileposts between Preston and Kendal.

They will be handmade by north Lancashire stonemason Alan Ward as part of a school education project.

People are being asked to sponsor a milepost by giving up to £200 to fabricate and install each mile marker, or to help by volunteering their time.

Andrea Barrett, partnerships and external relationships manager at the Canal and River Trust, said it was "important" to put back the heritage and "leave a lasting legacy".

Meanwhile, amateur snappers have until October 31, 2019 to capture on camera what the Lancaster Canal means to them by entering a free photo competition.

Andrea said: "Whether you have a stunning shot of a kingfisher catching his dinner, the perfect photo of people on a boat trip or an image that highlights the canal’s important history, we want to see it.”

To enter, visit or you can share pictures on Instagram or Twitter with #Lanc200.

Photos will be featured in pop-up galleries to showcase the best entries throughout the year.

Further celebrations planned this year include:

l dozens of trail boats taking part in the Inland Waterways Trailboat Festival from June 1 to 3 at Crooklands

l wildlife and bat walks between May and September where you can learn how to identify trees, birds, bugs, pond life, bats and more

l a family-friendly bicentenary community festival on June 23 in Lancaster

l an exhibition called Barging Past at Lancaster Maritime Museum, now open until August 31

l and a specially commissioned piece of art at the Kendal Torchlight Carnival on Friday, September 27.

For more details about these events and the photo competition, see

If you would like to sponsor a milestone, email

This year marks two centuries since the main line of the Lancaster Canal was completed.

The impetus for the canal came around 1770 from merchants of Lancaster seeking a link to the coal deposits around West Houghton and to the markets of Manchester to the south and Kendal in the north.

Engineer Robert Whitworth surveyed a route for the canal in 1772 but it was another 20 years before a route, surveyed by engineer John Rennie, was agreed upon.

The Act of Parliament "for making and maintaining a navigable Canal from Kirkby Kendal in the county of Westmorland to West Houghton" was obtained in 1792.

Construction started immediately under chief engineer John Rennie, with the first contract let for 18 miles between Borwick and Ellel Grange, followed by the length between Galgate and Garstang and for the southern section between Bark Hill (Wigan) and Nightingales (Chorley).

The canal between Preston and Tewitfield was opened in November 1797 and the southern section in 1803. The southern section was linked temporarily to the northern section by a tram line in 1804 until such time that an aqueduct across the River Ribble could be built.

In the event, the cost of building the aqueduct and the 27 or so locks required to raise the canal up to Walton Summit proved prohibitive and so the two sections were never linked by canal. The temporary solution lasted until 1864 when the southern section was leased to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

From 1805 the route north from Tewitfield to Kendal was reviewed but construction only began in 1813 under company engineer Thomas Fletcher and later William Crosley Junior. It was completed in 1819 with the opening date set for June 18, the fourth anniversary of the victory at Waterloo. The Westmorland Gazette wrote: "The 18th June was a glorious day for Old England. – The 18th of June will be a proud day for Kendal.”

The celebrations began at 7am when a procession of boats carrying the mayor of Lancaster and the Lancaster and Kendal Canal Committees left Lancaster. A similar procession left Kendal just before 10am, the two meeting at Crooklands at lunchtime. The two processions joined forces and returned to Kendal, arriving at about 5pm.

Throughout the day there were canons firing, flags and bands of music and the canal was lined with "numberless" spectators.