The Quay Waterman’s Association (QWA) was formed by a group of local fishermen and boat enthusiasts with the aim to preserve and restore the Connah’s Quay dock area and to bring people to the river to enjoy it and appreciate its past as well a ensuring that the River Dee, or Afon Dyfrdwy as it is known in Welsh, remains a working viable river where men and women alike can earn a living and where children can play safely whilst learning valuable skills that will help them progress and earn a living from the same river as their parents and grandparents have done for years.
Two brand new wheelchair accessible boats are going to play a key role in this. The Coulam Wheelyboat were designed and developed by The Wheelyboat Trust, a small national charity dedicated to providing mobility impaired people with access to waterborne activities.
The specially designed boats, which offer safe and easy access for the disabled, young and old, were the Association’s first choice. Reaching speeds of over 30mph, the Wheelyboats are being used on trips for schools, photography groups, birdwatchers and any other interested individuals or groups. On offer are 20 minute ‘taster’ trips, 90 minute longer trips upstream to Chester Weir and individually tailored charters. Later the operation will include trips downstream into the estuary where passengers can experience the tranquillity of an internationally important bird reserve and relive ancient battles as they cruise past Flint castle.
Honouring the area’s rich maritime heritage, the boats are named ‘Kathleen’ and ‘May’ after the famous three-masted topsail schooner of that name which was built in Connah’s Quay.
The Association had already secured a £192,000 grant from the Big Lottery’s Coastal Communities Fund in July 2015 to fund the refurbishment of a disused sea cadets’ building into the new Kathleen and May Community Centre. The Centre will aim to keep alive the history of the area with a permanent heritage exhibition envisaged.
- Kathleen and May Heritage Centre
- Dock Road
- Connah’s Quay
- CH5 4DS