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29 October 2014
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You are in: Stoke & Staffordshire Features »
2003
Tolkien's Staffordshire canals
Canal Boat
Take it easy... like a Hobbit
One of our community reporters Kimberley Dutfield has noticed something strange on Staffordshire canals... hidden away on our local waterways are strange little creatures with pointy ears...
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Millions of people the world over have been inspired by the works of JR Tolkien and the adventures of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins.

Their journeys to Middle Earth and the dangers and perils they encounter along the way have fuelled the imagination of adults and children alike - and now it seems that canal enthusiasts have been smitten too, and are living out their fantasies on the waterways of Staffordshire.

Tolkien fans are taking part in their own adventures in boats named after Tolkien characters such as Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf or Galadriel, as part of a series of literary themed canal boat holidays being run in Staffordshire.

Enthusiasts on the week-long cruises will hear readings from Tolkien books and indulge in themed competitions.

However, the journey is not through the Stonewain Valley or Firien Wood, but instead sticking to the safer route of the Cauldon and Trent & Mersey canals, from Stone to Cheddleton in North Staffordshire.

Characters from Tolkien's books are already popular with boat owners and we're expecting to be flooded with requests for more.
Wayne Ricket, Customer Services manager for British Waterways
With the release of the two The Lord of the Rings films and the final part due to hit our screens this Christmas, British Waterways are also reporting an increase in boats named Bilbo Baggins and Gandalf on British canals.

But what will be the effect on these intrepid Tolkienites? The British Waterways system might be a million miles from the perils of Middle Earth, but, joining a boat named Bilbo Baggins might just lead to the start of a big adventure...
Kimberly Dutfield
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