2013 Boat Rally

21st and 22nd SeptemberThe Whitchurch Boat Gathering was a very enjoyable event. It felt a 'happy' event but that may be because I was happy as the weather was glorious. I thank all the kind people who arranged that for us. Several have claimed responsibility.

The spaces for stalls on the towpath were full up quickly this year and we resorted to shoe horning stalls in on the plan. In the event a couple of stalls didn't show up which gave some breathing space. It can be chaotic when everyone is trying to unload gazebos and get the stalls set up as the entrance to the towpath is restricted. All adds to the fun! Thank you to the people who brought their stalls. It was lovely to see the regulars and nice to see new some new faces. Jigsmith played for us all weekend which is a lovely sound to accompany the buyers and sellers and gongoozlers.

We were very fortunate, thanks to members of the Boat Museum Society, to have NB (Narrow Boat) Ilkeston from the National Waterways Museum Ellesmere Port towed very kindly by NB Canis Major. Fortunately Ilkeston had no problem going down through Hurleston and the less said about coming up, the better. The SUFRP very kindly attended with Saturn ably manned by Bob Jervis and I also glimpsed Sue Yates. I know that all the working boats had a lot of interested visitors.

For the first time, thanks to a few hot and sweaty volunteers, we were able to offer free boat trips and they proved a great hit with the public. Many thanks to Canal and River Trust for the loan of their boat. We also do a 'bridge wind' and provide a donation bucket for grateful boaters to express their relief at not having to wind it themselves. It used to be incredibly stiff but after many visits by CRT it seems much improved.

The dog show was well attended with many dogs sporting rosettes and gnawing balls after the event. It is good that visiting boaters as well as locals enter their dogs for the show. It was a good humoured event with all dogs on their best behaviour. The Best in Show was a red setter called Riley.

The theme for the Best Dressed Boat competition was 'The Romans', Whitchurch once being known as Mediolanum, and was won by nb Plover ably assisted by Iain MacTavish and Clair Butler. Iain had gone to town with a phalanx of Roman oarsmen complete with shields and oars. Only one other boat had joined in with the theme with a huge mosaic of all things Roman which must have taken ages to complete and was excellent as well. The theme ties in very well with the quiz which is held during the boaters social evening and is always enjoyed. I hope our VIP's enjoyed their dawdle along the towpath for the judging.

I am very grateful to everyone; members, locals, boaters, family and friends who helped.

So, that is it for another year. Only the next one to organise now.

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