Visitors flock to docks for Tall Ships Festival

Visitors photographing ships in Gloucester docks
Six different tall ships are docked in Gloucester this weekend [BBC]

Thousands of people have visited Gloucester's historic docks for the return of the Tall Ships Festival.

The bi-annual event celebrates the city's maritime history and is now Gloucester's biggest cultural event.

This year, six tall ships made the journey up the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal to Britain's most inland docks.

The three-day event, produced by Gloucester City Council and on until Monday, also features a variety of bands playing on different stages.

Creative director Robin Camp told the BBC the event had been "fantastic" so far.

"We've had brilliant weather, and the crowds have been coming in.

"The ships are always the star of the show, but we wanted to make sure there was an offer for the whole family, so we wanted to bring some incredible music to the site too.

"It's busy enough that there's a great atmosphere, but not so busy that people are feeling jammed in," he said.

Sailing ship travelling along a canal with a church in the background
The Phoenix, which featured in the Ridley Scott film Napoleon, made its way along the canal [PA]

Earlier this week, the tall ships made their way slowly up Gloucester and Sharpness Canal.

The skipper of the Spirit of Falmouth, Paul Miller, said the journey in was "excellent".

He said: "We got in the canal and it was stunning.

"We're a very deep vessel and the canal is not that deep, so the water was a challenge, but it was fantastic to see people out along the canal waving us in."

People dressed up in Victorian style clothing
Some visitors have dressed up in their maritime finest [BBC]

The skipper of the the 118-year-old ketch Irene, Ieuan Finniear, said it was a difficult journey in to Gloucester.

He said: "It's like trying to drive a truck through a car park - we don't want to scratch anyone else's boats while everyone is watching.

"It was a long journey to get here, but seeing everyone coming down the canal was great fun. "

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