Rutland Water festival hopes to be success

Crowds flocked to enjoy the opening day of the National Watersports Festival as it was held on Rutland Water for the first time.

The festival is staged across this weekend to offer taster sessions in water sports for people of all abilities.

It is the first time that the event has been held in Rutland after spending ten-years on the south coast.

Businesses and sports groups from across the country are at the reservoir to support the event.

Visitors will be able to explore Rutland Water from a new angle as scuba diving is allowed there for the first time.

Organiser Allan Cross, 53, said: “It was time to move the festival somewhere new.

“We needed a location that was more suitable to allow people to try out sports.

“We also needed somewhere central in the country and Rutland Water ticks all of the boxes.

“We hope this weekend will be a success and that people will come.

“We are looking to stay here and to expand the festival in the future.

“It’s not just about the experts at the festival and we hope that people will try their hand at the sports.”

Kayaking, scuba diving, windsurfing and stand up paddle boards are all on offer to visitors to Rutland Water this weekend.

Anglian Water, which runs the reservoir, and The Grainstore Brewery are sponsoring the weekend.

Will Kirstein, park manager at Rutland Water, said: “We have quite a good history of sports events at Rutland Water.

“People can try the sports on offer and they might end up really getting into them.

“There is the potential to grow the festival and we hope to have it at Rutland Water for the years to come.”

He added: “Scuba diving is not something that we want at the reservoir all of the time but we are happy to offer people the opportunity to try it this weekend.

“Anyone can have a go. People do not need to be experts.”

He added that if enough interest is shown then a scuba diving club could be based at Rutland Water.

An aerial acrobatic display featuring lights and fireworks will take place when it gets dark on Saturday night.

A day ticket costs £7.50 and includes parking, a taster session, launch fee and entry to the trade area. Under-16s get free entry.

Taster scuba dives can be booked in advance for £15 at www.diverutland.com.

Live music is to be held over the event with The Houndogs performing on Saturday night.

Party night tickets are £15. They can be pre-booked online from www.grainstorebrewery.com or bought on the door.