It could not have been better. The Woking Canal Festival lived up to all that we hoped for and more, thanks to the presence of many historic narrow boats and boaters who really enjoyed their visit to the Canal, a really good turnout on the Festival site on both days, some excellent organisation and of course such wonderful weather. It was indeed a fitting celebration of the 25 years since the re-opening of the Basingstoke Canal since its restoration, and also of the 50th anniversary of the formation of both the Basingstoke Canal Society and of the Historic Narrow Boat Club, our guests at the event.
The feedback we have received from the public about the Festival so far has been resoundingly positive. Some examples of this can be found here.
Thanks go to all those who volunteered or were involved in the organisation of the weekend, including both Society and Historic Narrow Boat Club members. Those who deserve particular recognition for the huge amount of work they have done in making the event such a success are Phil Prettyman, chairman of HNBC, event project manager Dick King in particular for the vast quantity of paperwork that had to be produced, and site manager Peter Harman, who was responsible for the site layout, site equipment, entertainment, stall holders and much more.
We also thank Woking Borough Council for hosting us on the Brookhouse Common site and for their financial and other support over the last year or so, and also the Basingstoke Canal Authority whose staff have pulled out many stops to ensure the smooth passage of many more boats than usual on the Canal – not least with the rapid repair of an upper gate at Lock 15 which was accidently lifted off its mountings.
Further updates will follow, but here is a taste of what took place (click for a slide-show).
Here is a short clip of Clover and its distinctive-sounding semi-diesel Bolinder engine. The boat dates from 1935 and, though not original, the engine is of the type that would have been installed when it was built.
More photos of the event can be found on the BCA Facebook page.