Photos: Olympic Park boat tours launch

By Rob Virtue on August 11, 2014 10:28 AM |

olympicboattours3.jpg

Trundling along a riverbed-lined waterway with coots and cormorants nearby you could be anywhere in the countryside.

But this is the heart of industrial east London. The canal in the Olympic Park are being re-used for the first time since pre-Games with tours now taking you along the route.

And a Games legacy has meant this strip of water is totally regenerated and encouraging some fantastic wildlife.

East Ender Josephine Roberts takes the trips. At their launch last week she said: "I remember when you couldn't get around here. There was old factories and everyone threw their rubbish in the water. But it's now all been cleared and there are lots of wildlife."

olympicboattours800.jpg

It's quite easy to spot a kingfisher, a heron or swans on a tour. Also present are cormorants and a family of coots.

The trips, run by Lee and Stort Boats, take you for a waterside view of the famous arenas, including the Aquatics Centre and the Olympic Stadium with Josephine offering insightful knowledge, such as there taking 19,000 liters of paint to cover the Orbit and 32,000 bolts to keep it in place.

olympicboattours8002.jpg

They are due to run until the end of August but more such trips are likely in the future.

Mark Sillitoe, managing director at Lee and Stort Boats, said: "It's a visitor attraction to experience the rejuvenated waters of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and see the diversity of the river.

"At one end we've got built up regeneration and at the other we have wildlife - there's a real cross-section.

olympicboattours8003.jpg

"We give tourists and locals an idea of what's happening and what will be happening in the Olympic Park

The Canal and River Trust take over the water from the London Legacy Development Corporation at the end of the year. Work is being looked at to reopen locks to allow trips to wider areas of the park in the future.

"We will see a lot more activity on this water," said Mark.

olympicboattours8004.jpg

Trips, which are run in coordination with the London Legacy Development Corporation, take 45 minutes each and cost £8 for adults and £4 for children. Tickets can be bought from the pontoon near the Aquatics Centre.

For more information go to QueenElizabethOlympicPark.co.uk.

The Wharf The Wharf

Read The Wharf's

E-Editions