James Bay: Hold Back the RiveriTunesAmazon

James Bay: Hold Back the RiveriTunesAmazon

Otley boats return to the River Wharfe

Otley boats return to the River Wharfe

Published at 1:51pm 16th August 2017. (Updated at 2:05pm 16th August 2017)

Today sees the official launch of Otley boats on the River Wharfe.

A company based at Wharfemeadows Park will offer rowing boats and pedalos on a stretch of the river between Otley Weir and Wharfebank Mills.

The popular pastime is making a return for the first time since 2001.

The last boat hire operation closed 16 years ago during the Foot and Mouth crisis.

The attraction is said to boost the local economy and give people another reason to visit the market town.

The new boat hire business comes with the support of a number of local organisations, including Otley Town Council, Otley BID, Leeds City Council and the Environment Agency.

Otley Boats

Team GB Olympic rower Ian Lawson was invited to cut the ribbon.

Chris Thornton, owner of the company, says the launch has gone better than he ever hoped: "It's just fabulous, look at everyone who has turned out, all the Councillors, friends, families, public.

"We've got the sun, we've not got too much wind and the water is at a nice level, we couldn't have asked for anything better.

"It's taken five and a half years, but we've got there and we're open.

Alex Sobel, MP for Leeds North West took a trip on the river: "I had a little row on the river and it was a great experience - I'm going to come back and try the pedalos.

"Otley is a great visitor destination but now we've got the bots its becoming a great place for people to come all over Yorkshire to have a great day out. 

"People will come to Otley to come on the boats - but they could stay all day because there's so much to do here."

Otley Boats

The boats will be open all school holidays, bank holidays and weekends.

Prices for the boat hire are as follows:

1 hour hire - £7 adults, 6-16 £4, 5 and under is free.

30 minutes - £4 adults, 6-16 £2, 5 and under is free.