ULVERSTON’S iconic canal has attracted thousands of visitors every year to its shores where numerous races, events, competitions, and day of summer fun have taken place.

The Westmorland Gazette: ROWING: Historical actor Ian McNicol makes a traditional entrance before leading the celebratory procession in 1996ROWING: Historical actor Ian McNicol makes a traditional entrance before leading the celebratory procession in 1996

The Ulverston charter Festival Raft Race of 1989 attracted dozens of participants, as it was known to every year it took place.

The shores of the canal could be seen lined with spectators as the various teams took their turn paddling down the water.

Every team would dress up their craft and themselves in a jocular theme of their choosing.

The Westmorland Gazette: SAILING: Ulverston Canal Raft RaceSAILING: Ulverston Canal Raft Race

Outfits ranged from pirates, cartoon characters, animals and sometimes anything but clothes themed costumes.

During the times where there were no races, the canal was still known to attract swimmers.

One feature of the canal was the lock gates that ran down the water.

It was not uncommon for swimmers to climb out onto the gates when there were no boats in the area and dive off into the sections of the canal that had taken on the most water in between opening.

In 1996, the Canal celebrated its 200th year.

The Westmorland Gazette: FISHING: Ulverston Canal 200 year celebrationsFISHING: Ulverston Canal 200 year celebrations

The day was marked with the creation of commemorative mugs which celebrated the occasion and acted as an ideal keep sake for those who had been visiting the canal over their life time.

Local resident Dan Birtwistle was one of many who got hold of one of the mugs.

In that same year, an unknown person dressed up as a Bear and sailed around the canal in his own rowing boat.

The celebration was also accompanied by the bringing of banners by the public, including one provided by Dawn Wright.

The Westmorland Gazette: WATCHING: Ulverston Canal 200 year celebrations in 1996WATCHING: Ulverston Canal 200 year celebrations in 1996

The same banner would later find a home in the Hatton Gallery in Newcastle.

The day also included some education for the visitors as Andrea Reeks provided a demonstration on how the canal was covered 200 years ago when it was first opened.

The celebratory procession in 1996 was led by historical actor Ian McNicol.