FIFTY years of enjoying the open waters of Embsay Reservoir were celebrated at the weekend by Craven Sailing Club.

The club welcomed back former members to enjoy a party which had been organised by Barrie Jones, of Skipton.

A cake was both iced and cut by commodore Steven Hiley and longest sailign member Ian Kenedy.

Guests were able to see how the club was progressing and see the changes from the early days of the club which was founded in 1969 without any facilities for sailors beyond the magnificent setting of the reservoir at Embsay.

On Sunday they could enjoy the warmth of the clubhouse and the produce of the galley. When the club started boats had to be dragged to the shore, there was nowhere to shower, no electricity and even the primitive ‘Elsan’ toilet blew away on one occasion.

Current members enjoy a full racing and social calendar, comfortable facilities in the small, friendly, family club and are looking forward to the next 50 years on the water.

Embsay Reservoir supplies water to the north and west of Skipton.

It was built by Skipton Urban District Council to service the needs of a rapidly rising population in the area.

Sanctioned by the Skipton Water and Improvement Act of 1904, forty acres of Embsay pasture were compulsorily purchased from the Duke of Devonshire in 1905, and work started almost immediately with the engineering contract being awarded to the specialist company, Messrs G H Hill and Sons.

The construction contract at the amount of £47,164 went to Harold Arnold and Son, of Doncaster.

During construction of the reservoir, engineers and 150 of the 200 navvy workers employed were accommodated in the Whitfield Syke cotton-mill on the north side of the reservoir.