Saturday, 30 April 2011

Ships that pass in the day
Back in the days before Gecko we had to hire boats to travel the canals in short bursts.
Some of those bursts were more intense than others: I am thinking particularly of the three years we participated in the BCN Marathon Challenge.  This event took place over the weekend of the longest day, in June, and involved cruising for 24 hours in a period of 30 hours. Every mile and every lock negotiated on the BCN in that time earned points based on some esoteric formula designed to encourage the navigation of the least used stretches of the network. Planning the route took longer than cruising it! Plans were lodged beforehand with estimated timings in order that the scrutineers could check your progress and photographic or other evidence of significant points of the route was required. We  joined this appropriately named exercise in boats we hired from Alvechurch Boats on the Worcs & Birmingham Canal. The challenge started at 9am on the Saturday so after picking up the boat on a Friday afternoon we had to get it to our chosen starting point the same evening.  One year this involved cruising right through Birmingham to the top of Wolverhampton 21 locks. That was the year the boat broke down.
However, on the two previous years we acquitted ourselves quite well.  One of the competitors who we encountered was an ex-working boat named Fulbourne.
Since then we have seen Fulbourne wintering in Aylesbury and today at the Little Venice Canalway Cavalcade where we are moored at present.
This was not the only boat to pass us which we recognised.  Limelight Crew also from Aylesbury is here as is John Pattle on his lovely Stewarts & Lloyds tug, Pacific.
Whilst She who must be obeyed was sitting in Hyde Park yesterday celebrating the wedding I took a short stroll and returned to find we had neighbours. Tony & Pauline had recognised Gecko from the BCN Explorer Cruise we shared in 2009 and breasted up Iberia until a space came available for them in the pool. Soon Henry and Lyn added Trinity to the group. Such is our unrivalled social esteem that they both moved off to better moorings smartly leaving us to collect sticky sap  drips from the trees all alone.
nb Iberia on the BCN Explorer Cruise 2009
nb Fulbourne at Canalway Cavalcade 2008

Tug Pacific at Batchworth lock May 2008

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