2015 IWA Canal Festival at Crooklands
Thursday 28th May
On a day of sunshine and showers, boats are starting to assemble on the Northern Reaches of the Lancaster canal alongside the Westmorland show ground, which from Saturday through to Monday is hosting a Country Fest event with the annual IWA Trailboat festival running alongside it.
One boat that arrived today travelled through the night to get here from Carmarthen. Others got up early and travelled from Somerset. Another bunch were already on the main Lancaster canal, having cruised it from end to end over the last ten days and only had a short trip up the motorway after getting up early this morning at Garstang, and recovering at Bridge House marina.
The well organised Lancashire Canal Trust team had issued clear launching instructions due to limited parking on the slipway and boat crews didn’t have wait long at the temporary car and trailer park at the show site before being told to proceed to launch at the slipway.
Twenty seven boats are expected to arrive at the event over the next two days.
The launch crew have had a busy day with well over half the boats expected at the event arriving during the day, and there is another day still to go before the event is officially opened on Saturday.
Friday 29th May
We woke after a night of rain to some blue sky and the birds singing. Eight boats due in today and another one tomorrow. Some going out for a day in their cars visiting the local area. Plenty of time to put up bunting, and have time to pass the time of day with other boaters and friends we haven’t seen since last year.
The day steadily improved, weather wise. A few showers early on giving way to to longer and longer periods of sun. The wind was still breezy with a chill to it. Not what people from Southern climes expect at the end of May!
The showground became busy with people and firms arriving to set up their stalls.
The first event for boaters due at 6pm, a dry stone walling explanation. On site the national dry stone walling association have their national office, and on the edge of the showground site they have example walls from all over the country. We were given an interesting talk about the geology of the area (due to glaciers apparently) and the effect it has had on how walls are built with the rock left lying about.
As the day closed, bunting is being erected and people are settling down to the odd glass of refreshment and nibbles or their evening meals. It all kicks off tomorrow at 9.30am as the event opens.
Saturday 30th May
The sun is out! The flags are out! And at 9.30 the boaters assembled at the Lancaster Canal Trust marquee so that the Mayor of Lancaster, councillor Jon Barry, opened the 2015 IWA Trailboat Festival. Being that the event is running, literally and practically alongside the Country Fest event, there is a lot going on!
A good day had by many. With people coming up to have a cruise on the LCT trip boat Water Witch.
At 6pm WBOC members assembled in the food theatre on the showground site for their AGM. Led by our chairman John Parker, the previously published agenda was swiftly followed to its conclusion. The minutes will be published to members in due course.
Points of note:
- Membership fee to rise from £8 to £10 due to rising postal and printing costs.
- The officers and committee members were re-elected en-bloc and unopposed.
- The top trophy was awarded to Helen Huish for her outstanding work on the award winning Club magazine over 15 years.
- The bottom trophy was awarded to a self nominating member who had a forgetful moment regarding his trailer. He was not at the AGM as he is cruising in his boat in France at the moment.
The meeting closed at 6.30 pm.
On site, as the evening progressed, the visitors, campers and boaters were entertained by a good local band in the beer marquee.
Sunday 31st May
A very wet cool night had by all as it rained as predicted from 10pm till 9am. Hopefully it will now dry up and will not affect the arrival of visitors or the running of the illuminated procession this evening.
9.45am and the latest news is that blue sky and sun has appeared. Things are looking up!
The Country Fest event that the IWA Trailboat ran alongside closed around 4pm and the stall holders quickly packed up and left site. They were lucky today with the weather, despite a stiff cool breeze, the rain held off until the evening brought heavy showers. The event was not so busy today but still had a lot going on.
The illuminated procession went ahead as planned at around 9.45pm with a number of local people applauding the considerable number of boats taking part.
A boaters day tomorrow with a guided walk to Hincaster tunnel although the forecast is not good.
Monday 1st June
A blustery but dry morning with the boaters awards ceremony due at 10am. Those who didn’t take down lights and bunting last night, are busy removing it now ahead of forecast unseasonal wet and windy weather. One boat has already headed for the slipway with another due to go. Most are due out tomorrow.
Well the awards were presented as scheduled and a full list will be given here once we return from cruising.
The awards ceremony concluded with votes of thanks from different interested parties to various groups of people or organisations.
Following the awards ceremony many boats followed the dignitaries on the LCT trip boat to the end of the navigable section nearest Hincaster tunnel for a photo opportunity. Many took the opportunity to inspect the newly restored section, which unfortunately was not available to cruise but was partially in water and had some canoes on it. They then continued to walk to see Hincaster tunnel.
Unfortunately at this point the weather turned and many boaters returned to seek shelter away from trees, down nearer the slipway.
Finally the boaters that attended would like to that this opportunity to thank all on the LCT organising committee for a job well done in putting on a great event.
The event has now finished and so other than a tidy up, and awards information to be added, this blog will not be updated again from on site.
Thank you for reading.