After a 16-year absence, rowing boats return to Otley and the River Wharfe this week thanks to the launch of Otley Boats… and the Yorkshire’s Best Adventures team were the first to put them through their paces.
It may have taken 16 years to get rowing boats back on the River Wharfe in Otley – but it’s been worth the wait.
We headed down to Wharfemeadows Park in the West Yorkshire market town to try the new boats ahead of anyone else – and all we can say is wow! Otley’s pretty as it is… and it’s even prettier from the river.
Otley Boats, owned and operated by local businessman Chris Thornton, offers rowing boats and pedaloes for hourly use on a stretch of the river between Otley Weir and Wharfebank Mills.
The launch sees the return of the popular pastime for the first time since the last boat hire operation closed following the 2001 Foot and Mouth crisis.
Support from local organisations, including Otley Town Council, Otley BID, Leeds City Council and the Environment Agency, as well as local ward councillors at Leeds City Council, was crucial to the boats’ return.
Otley Boats will be open daily in the school holidays and on weekends and bank holidays thereafter from 10am to 6pm every day (last hire at 5pm). Each boat will seat 5 passengers. Fares are £7/hour/person (6-16 year olds £4/hour and under 6s are free).