Crinan Canal festival ready for launch

Having fun during a 2019 adventure on the Crinan Canal. 51_a35AutismOnTheWater04

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With perfect timing to coincide with World Autism Awareness Week, a special event has been announced on the Crinan Canal.

Autism on the Water, a charity founded by Oban man Murray MacDonald, is planning a life-changing weekend on the iconic canal for people with autism.

The Autism on the Water Crinan Canal Festival is open to people on the autistic spectrum of all ages and will include a transit of the beautiful nine-mile Crinan Canal on new yacht Confidence from Ardrishaig to Crinan and back again, to be held over the weekend of May 22/23.

The event will be run with Covid safety precautions in place and is, of course, subject to ongoing pandemic guidance.

Autism on the Water aims to raise awareness of the condition, but is also designed to give young people on the autism spectrum the experience of sailing.

Murray firmly believes that sailing can benefit autistic people in many ways – boosting their confidence, enhancing problem-solving skills and improving social skills.

Murray thanked the charity’s supporters, trustees, volunteers and sponsors, adding: ‘The charity has built up a great relationship with the Scottish Canals team, most notably Helen Cunningham and Donna Mallan, who I must thank for all their support and help in the organisation of this event.

‘In addition, I would like to thank all the communities within the Crinan Canal, the volunteers who are giving their time to help us run this event, to Pam and her team at Argyll Backpackers for reserving accommodation and particularly to Alan and Maggie Moore, who are joining us in supplying an additional boat for this event.

‘The pandemic has caused severe disruption across the world for everyone. However, with the vaccine rollout and also the recent announcement from the first minister regarding the easing of restrictions as well as guidance from RYA Scotland – this has enabled us to plan and run the Crinan Canal event but with a variety of changes from our original plans earlier last year before lockdown.

‘The changes have been made to ensure we comply with as much of the Covid safety precautions as possible to ensure the safety of all those taking part – nevertheless, we aim to ensure this experience is as enjoyable, fun and safe as possible and fingers crossed that we get good weather to finally bring you the long-awaited Autism on the Water Crinan Canal Festival.’

Places on the trip are going fast, and more information, along with a booking form, can be found on the Autism on the Water Facebook page.

All forms must be returned by email to no later than Friday April 30.