Saturday, 28 June 2008

Braunston Historic Boat Rally

Back from a very enjoyable day at the Braunston Historic Boat Rally. There must have been sixty or seventy boats, most of which took part in the parade. They were moored three, four, or even five abreast on the towpath outside the marina.

The parade itself seemed to be a complete shambles. The boats went down to the junction to turn, then came back, into the marina through the main bridge, and back out via the exit at the far end. Dover, which moors just inside the marina so did things in a slightly different order, slipped her moorings at just after 11am. I saw her arriving back three hours later!

There were also a few everyday boaters who got caught up in the pandemonium (although they surely can't have the excuse that they didn't know it was on. The rally takes place on the same weekend each year). One boat, called Riverdancer, arrived shortly after the first few historic boats had set off, and decided to wind in the marina entrace. The stretch between the marina and the junction was chaos, with historic boats (including some motor and butty pairs) heading in both directions. So Riverdancer decided to pull in. When I walked past about half an hour later, the owners were asking if the parade could be halted so they could get going again! They didn't like being moored where they were, as these big boats kept bumping them.

After lunch, I walked up the locks to the tunnel, and went to see if I could find the top of one of the tunnel air shafts. The "chimney" above ground wasn't as tall as I was expecting -- certainly not as tall as the ones at Blisworth.

On the way back down, I met a fellow OwnerShips boat, Sandpiper, who lent me a windlass so I could help them down the locks. At the fourth lock, a tiny single handed boat left its moorings to join us. Then Sandpiper seemed to be over-heating so they stopped to carry out some checks. I borrowed another windlass to help the woman on the small boat. When I got to the bottom lock, I found Kevin and Vicky Blick sitting on the balance beam eating ice creams. Kevin is the former editor of Canal Boat magazine, and I met him and Vicky at Crick in May.

I'll post some photos of some of the boats tomorrow (although in the meantime they're on flickr).


Nb Yarwood said...

Lovely photo's Adam. Looks like you had a good day.
(ps.Debdale has just slipped to 9 months on my link?)
NB Caxton

S said...

Oooh lovely. That's whetted my appetite - I'm just about to leave.