Ambitious plans to run commercial cruises on the River Swale this summer have been announced.
A company has approached the Environment Agency seeking a licence to run twice-daily trips from the river near Richmond Station up to Grinton, near Reeth, and back.
Pete McCallister, owner of Celts River Cruises, said he aimed to have everything in place ready to launch the first cruise in early June.
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He said: “I’m aware it is a challenging stretch of river to sail a boat – and the Swale is the fastest, or the second fastest, flowing river in the country, depending on which know-it-all you speak to.
“But I’ve navigated ships through the Malaca straights in south east Asia where there are pirates, sharks and stuff – I think I can manage a piddling little river in the Yorkshire Dales.”
Pete said he was aware there were fast-flowing falls on the stretch of river.
He added: “I’ve not looked at them yet but I’m sure we will be able to sort something out.
“My mate knows a producer on DIY SOS and I’m sure we could knock up a lock to get us up and down.”
Under the plan, a gangway would be built below Station Bridge for passengers to embark and disembark the cruise boat, which would have space for 20 passengers.
“I’ve navigated ships through the Malaca straights in south east Asia where there are pirates, sharks and stuff – I think I can manage a piddling little river in the Yorkshire Dales.” – Pete McCallister, owner of Celts River Cruises.
The boat would have a bar, a hot tub and a small games room with air hockey and those 2p falls machines you get in arcades at the seaside.
The gangway would have a reinforced roof in case animal feed fell from the bridge above.
The plan has the backing of tourism supremo Jeffrey Gough, from Yorkshire is Bloody Great.
He said: “I can’t believe someone hasn’t thought of this before.
“The boat trips on Windermere are alright, but they’re a bit dull after ten minutes – it’s a just a lake init after all and a lake in Cumbria at that.
“As well as taking in the stunning Yorkshire scenery of Swaledale, these trips will be exciting as research by my marketing team suggests the chance of making it up the river alive are about 50/50.”
A spokesman for the council said: “Yeah, we’ve have some plans for something to do with the river.
“We didn’t really look at them but they had some nice pretty pictures on so we said ‘crack on’.”