A regional daily has pushed the boat out to become a part of the area’s tourism landscape.
The Shropshire Star has donated its name to a passenger narrowboat offering pleasure cruises for visitors along the Shropshire Union Canal.
The newly-refurbished 70ft narrowboat, named in honour of both the newspaper and the canal, is the first trip boat to operate from Norbury Junction, near Newport, for almost 15 years.
It was officially named in a ceremony as part of Norbury’s bank holiday canal festival earlier this month, and has now started offering the passenger trips.
The Star’s assistant editor Carl Jones said: “We are proud to be associated with such a living emblem of the county’s history.”
Tom Graham, manager of sister company MNA Magazines, joined the boat’s skipper Mal Edwards and the manager of Norbury Wharf Ltd David Ray in donning a flat cap and sprinkling traditional ale over the boat as part of the ceremony.
The 42-seater Shropshire Star will operate as a public trip boat every Sunday during the coming season, from May through to November, and will also be available for hire by groups and societies.
Mr Ray said: “In a way this is a successor to the many working narrowboats which used this stretch of canal and, as there are a lot of superstitions about renaming boats, we decided it might be a good idea to pay tribute to those old boatmen.
“Caps were the headgear of many working men and most boatmen earned a beer at the end of their long working days, so we devised a little ceremony that acknowledged the past and allowed us to look to the future.”