We look forward to seeing you onboard

Electra Community Cruises 2023

As a community boat, Electra’s brief is to develop cruising opportunities to suit the needs of the diverse population of Milton Keynes. So as well as public trips and private charters, Electra is developing three community programmes, to give enjoyable waterway experiences to more people.

Schools Programme 2024: try a free trip on Electra!

A trip on Electra provides a rich learning experience across many areas of the curriculum, as the two case studies below demonstrate.

Electra is offering one-hour educational trips for primary schools on a choice of 24 days in summer term 2024. Trips take 12 people (10 pupils, 1 teacher, 1 adult supervisor) plus volunteer Electra Skipper and Cabin Host who can answer questions on the day. Electra’s Schools Programme is led by Heather Freeman, a retired primary school headteacher, who adapts cruise plans and supporting materials to meet the curriculum needs of each school. Trips are provided at cost (£50 per trip), and 3 or 4 trips per day can be run, depending on location and the logistics of getting pupils to and from the boat. So, for example, a class of 30 children plus adults would need three separate trips (12 people per trip). A two form entry school would typically opt for two days’ of trips.

A free taster trip for you and your colleague!

Join us on Schools Open Morning on Saturday 07 October 10.00-13.00 to find out what Electra can do to help your children in so many areas of your curriculum.  These free taster trips are from Campbell Wharf, MK9 4BG, with three free short trips on board Electra at 10.15, 11.00, and 11.45. Take the chance to talk with Heather and our Schools Team.

Book your place now for you and a colleague. Click here. 

2023 case studies

Giffard Park Primary School booked five trips for the whole of Year 4 which combined a towpath walk with a focused ‘spotter sheet’, an introduction to battery technology as part of their science topic on electricity, looking out for wildlife, and locating the canal and the trip on maps. Pupils also had a booklet to jot down their impressions on the day, to support a writing project back in school.

Drayton Park Primary School booked two trips for KS2 pupils with a focus on sustainability and innovation. They explored Electra’s pioneering use of all-electric power from batteries and solar panels; found out about the historic innovation of canal and lock building in Fenny Stratford; and encountered wildlife, assisted by the almost silent nature of cruising.

Schools Programme Cruise Dates 2024

Tuesdays & Wednesdays starting either at Great Linford or Campbell Wharf in Campbell Park:

April 30 – 01 May

May: 07-08, 14-15, 21-22

June: 04-05, 11-12

Thursdays & Fridays from either Campbell Wharf in Campbell Park or Fenny Stratford:

May: 02-03, 09-10, 16-17, 23-24

June: 06-07, 13-14

Sponsored cruises

Electra serves wide range of guests, including people with disabilities, who come from all local MK postcodes. However, it’s clear that guests do not yet reflect the whole MK population, and that we need to do more to raise awareness and remove barriers of access. Our initial research suggests that barriers can include finance, illness, disability, mental health issues, lack of access, lack of awareness, and cultural barriers relating to use of open space. By offering free or part-funded cruises to groups who will benefit we can start to overcome these barriers and provide enjoyable waterway experiences for all.

So far we’ve arranged 17 Sponsored Cruises, with funding from a range of sources including the Postcode Lottery Trust, MK Ward Councillors, John Lewis and Waitrose, and Canal & River Trust. Sponsored groups include young people with learning needs, elderly sheltered housing residents with dementia, refugees, stroke survivors, and foster carers.

Our aim is to be able to fund 40 cruises each season. We run an ongoing Appeal Fund – find out more here – and we also invite donations through our online ticketing system. If you would like to become a sponsor or find out how to access a cruise, please contact us at electra@bmkwaterway.org

Special Events in Partnership

We enjoy working with other local organisations to encourage more people to get out and about, on and beside the canal. We run special events and attend local festivals. We’re always looking for new opportunities – please contact us at electra@bmkwaterway.org if you’d like to invite us to work with you.

For example, in 2022 ….

Walk & Glide Weekend (September 2022)

Walk and Glide

In partnership with the Parks Trust we ran our second Walk & Glide Weekend. Eight different three-hour walk/cruise options enabled people to explore more of Milton Keynes’ waterside parkland, and experience the peacefulness of gliding along the canal on an electric boat. The walks, led by Parks Trust volunteers, had stops at points of interest, such as the new Gyosei Art Trail sculptures, or medieval fishponds and ‘ridge and furrow’ farmland. Electra volunteers gave walkers a warm welcome on board, with refreshments available from the Galley Bar.

Heritage Weekend at Great Linford Manor Park (September 2022)

Heritage Weekend GLMP
(Photo Credit: Adrian Court)

Electra ran fully-booked cruises to and from the Heritage Open Days Weekend at Great Linford Manor, plus two return cruises from the Park to New Bradwell. Park visitors enjoyed popping on board to see the facilities Electra can offer, find out about our cruises – and to take a ‘look under the bonnet’ at our bank of batteries as a fully-electric boat. We gave our first-ever two short talks about the history – and the future – of canals in Milton Keynes on board Electra These were warmly welcomed, so we’ll plan to do more in other venues.

Fenny Stratford Canal Festival (August 2022)

Fenny Festival

Electra ran 8 fully-booked short cruises at the wonderful 2022 Fenny Stratford Canal Festival organised by volunteers in the Inland Waterways Association MK Branch. Overnight mooring and charging were kindly arranged by Willowbridge Marina. It was a great opportunity to meet potential new volunteers and let people know about our cruises. The weather was lovely, the other stalls were a great source of coffee, cake and ice-cream. We donated two Gift Vouchers as raffle prizes and look forward to hosting the lucky winners. And we’ll definitely be back for the whole weekend in 2023!

Little Legs Walk One Way (WOW) Cruises in partnership with the Canal & River Trust (school holidays 2022)

Little Legs 3 Post Bench

We encouraged families to get out and about on their local canal, with a short cruise on Electra to or from the local landmark Three Post Bench, and a short walk led by Canal & River Trust volunteers.