May 272015


Some of the 25 visiting boats at the Magna Carta Boat Rally, Odiham

Some of the 22 visiting boats at the Magna Carta Boat Rally, Odiham

MagnaCarta KJBy all accounts, the Magna Carta celebrations in Odiham over the Bank Holiday weekend were a resounding success, as was the Boat Rally put on by the Society, which was its contribution to the festivities:




The Basingstoke Canal Society held a very successful boat rally at Colt Hill on 24th May as part of the Magna Carta celebrations in Odiham and North Warnborough. The rally hosted 22 boats from as far afield as Warwickshire and Oxford and several from the R Wey (above right). Three steam-powered boats proved to be a great attraction for the visiting public (below left).


Steam launch “Lady Selsey”, winner of the trophy for Furthest Travelled Trail Boat (60 miles from Selsey)

The programme of events included two bands (one of which came from Sourdeval, Odiham’s twin town in France), a children’s entertainer, Morris dancers and canoe demonstrations by members of the Basingstoke & Deane Canoe Club. The Canal Society’s trip boat, John Pinkerton, provided a regular service to King John’s castle where re-enactments, sword fighting, archery, falconry and other medieval activities were demonstrated. Accessible Boating, a charity which specializes in offering boat trips for disabled people, also provided a service to the castle. A unique ferry, built by Galleon Marine at their boat base at Colt Hill, was available to transport visitors to their ice cream parlour opposite Colt Hill wharf (below right).

Galleon Marine’s floating bridge in action

Galleon Marine’s floating bridge in action

Philip Riley, Chairman of the Basingstoke Canal Society said : “Our boat rally today has shown to a wider public the immense amenity value of the canal in this area. The canal is increasingly being used for a wide range a leisure activities including walking, cycling, canoeing, fishing and the study of the rich ecology of the waterway. Our aim is to show the local authorities who provide much of the funding for the canal that it is a much loved and highly valued asset which should continue to be maintained for the enjoyment of everyone”


For more photos of the event, see the Boat Rally Gallery.

For more about the Odiham Magna Carta celebrations, see the website. Ed.