On Saturday 19th October, 17 Lengthsmen and their guests had a very pleasant trip on the JP2. Although we dodged the showers before and after, we were blessed with fine weather for the afternoon. We set off from Colt Hill Wharf at 14.30 and, as we made our sedate passage up to King John’s Castle, were treated to golden nuggets of local knowledge and history from Roger Cansdale. There was plenty of time for me to circulate and chat to every one and I was rather shocked to discover that many Lengthsmen, some of whom have lived in the area for a long time, had never been on the canal before. BCA Manager Fiona Shipp, (below, centre) joined us and had a lively “Q & A” time throughout the journey.
As the boat turned in the winding hole at the limit of navigation the 37 passengers had three options. The most energetic had 30 minutes to walk on towards the Greywell Tunnel, admiring the crystal clear undisturbed water of the canal above the limit of navigation and also of the River Whitewater as it passes under the canal. A gentler option was to explore the ruins of the castle, while a few who opted for no exercise stayed on board as the boat turned.
The conversations were many and varied on the way back to the wharf. A lot was learned, new friendships formed and old ones re-kindled. All to soon we were back alongside the wharf. Our new boat got a big communal ‘thumbs up’ and after the obligatory group photo for propaganda purposes many of us decamped to The Waterwitch, where the conversations continued aided by sustenance.
I suppose by nature, being a Lengthsman is a solitary pursuit and we don’t meet as a group very often. However, when we do, it is a very enjoyable and valuable exercise. I think we should do another trip next year and explore in the other direction.
Many thanks to all who helped make it such a successful day out (and to raise £210 for the society).
Mike Gordon, Senior Lengthsman