Duck Race postponed as river levels rise

People gather to watch the Knaresborough Duck Race
People gather to watch the Knaresborough Duck Race

Disappointed duck race organisers in Knaresborough have been forced to call off tomorrow’s event as river levels continue to rise.

Safety fears have been raised as water levels at the River Nidd, already two feet higher than normal, creep higher and higher.

The annual duck race, which draws great crowds up to 800 strong, will now take place this Sunday, January 6, rather than on New Year’s Day.

Jonathan Corcoran, duck race organiser and cricket club secretary, said: “It’s disappointing because it’s always been on New Year’s Day. And it’s disappointing when so many people have put so much effort in.

“But we have to be careful, we simply cannot run an unsafe race. The river is just too high. “

The Knaresborough Duck Race, which has run on New Year’s Day for 13 years, has become something of a town tradition.

Organisers, raising money for the Knaresborough Cricket Club Juniors and Henshaws Society for the Blind, release 4,000 plastic ducks into the river with the first 10 to cross the finish line winning cash prizes.

“The river is already two feet higher than it should be and we’ve been told it’s going to peak at lunchtime tomorrow, right in the middle of the race,” said Mr Corcoran. “It just wouldn’t be safe for us to carry on.

“But it’s such a tradition now that we can’t just cancel it. The race will go ahead as normal on Sunday, and we hope lots of people will still come and support us.”

The Duck Race will begin at 1.30pm on Sunday. Ducks will be raced from High Bridge down to Marigold’s Cafe, each duck is £1 to enter.

Tickets for a duck can be bought on site on the day, or in advance from Knaresborough Cricket Club or Marigold’s Cafe. Tickets already purchased for tomorrow’s race will now be valid for Sunday’s event.