Monthly Archives: May 2015

OuseFest 2015

I started a very exciting part time job this week, for the next three months. I’ve joined the team at the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership to organise the OuseFest, a fortnight of events celebrating the Fen landscape and communities. I’m based at Cambridgeshire ACRE in Littleport for the admin side of things, but will be all over the Fens, helping with events and manning stalls.

OuseFest logo - 2 string strap

The event I’m most looking forwards to is the Denver Sluice Festival on  Tuesday July 28th, which I’ll have a big role in organising. It’s the first time that such a festival has been held at Denver, and there will be loads going on, from food stalls to art installations, angling and rowing tasters, theatre and tours of the Denver complex itself. I’m looking forwards to learning exactly what all those sluices do for the Fens and beyond, it should be very interesting!

Denver Sluice Phil Bancroft

Denver Sluice (c) Phil Bancroft

We plan to bring Willow to Denver and I’d love to get lots of boaters to join us there! There are loads of new and improved moorings at Denver so there will be plenty of space, and the Jenyn’s Arms will be open for beer (an essential component of any boaters’ get together). Do get in touch if you’d like to come!


Categories: Daily Life, Out and About, Travels | 3 Comments

Bantam IV at the Cavalcade

Having dropped Bantam IV at Little Venice on Friday night, we went home, returning to spend the weekend in London, staying over Saturday and Sunday nights with my aunt Sue in West Hampstead. My mum was also up for the weekend, so it was a proper family affair!

On Saturday we made our way to Little Venice for lunchtime. We manned the Canal Museum stall, with volunteers Natalie and Tricia until my mum and Sue arrived later on. My mum stayed around and helped us on the stall, proving to be a fine advocate for the canal museum, despite never having been! In the evening we went back to Sue’s for a lovely dinner.

In the morning, we went for a walk on Hampstead Heath, starting at Sue and Dix’s allotment, which has perhaps the best views of any allotment in London, then up to Parliament Hill and back past the ponds.

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James went back to Little Venice in the afternoon, while my mum and I did a bit of charity shopping in the very nice Hampstead shops! Then, after dinner it was time to head back to the canal for the illuminated boats parade! The tug’s battery was flat so we relied on solar fairy lights, but it was a great evening, with a wonderfully celebratory atmosphere, and my mum and I joined James, Natalie and Nick on the tug for the whole thing!

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On Monday morning James had a lie in whilst I went for a walk with my mum and Sue up to the Hill Gardens on the heath, and back via the deer park, where we stopped for ice cream, since it was so sunny!

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In the afternoon I saw my mum on to her bus back to Dorset then went to Paddington to join James and museum manager Martin for the trip back to the museum on the tug. It was less eventful than the trip out, and much damper, but it’s always a treat to do a bit of canal boating!

Categories: Bantam, Out and About | 2 Comments

Bantam IV at the Cavalcade: Journey

We arrived at the Canal Museum earlier today, excited to do a short bit of London boating. The tug was to be used to move a stack of materials and banners for the festival, and two other museum staff, Natalie and Nick wanted to come too.

The adventure started before we’d left the basin at Battlebridge, with a visiting boater, nb Mystic Moon needing help getting into the space the tug had vacated. James helped by pushing the stern around. It turns out that Sue also blogs about her travels on Mystic Moon. She wrote about it from her point of view here, describing James as her “tug boat hero”!

Then we were off, arriving at at St Pancras lock behind a couple of boats and just before two more heading for the Cavalcade too. We shared with two other narrowboats. At the top we saw a big widebeam and they called out that they had problems with their propellor and could we push them into the lock? Of course we were happy to help!


Below the next lock we picked something up on the blades, bringing the tug to a standstill. Thankfully another boater helped us get to the bank and James was able to clear the propellor blades with the newly made up cabin shaft which we’d made sure was ready for today’s trip!



It turned out to be a holdall, sadly devoid of £50 notes!

We were soon up the next locks, as we were now sharing with not two but three other boats!



Then it was on through Regent’s Park and the Maida tunnel, to arrive in Little Venice!



Finding our spot was tricky as we were wedged in between two large boats, but we found enough space after a bit of shuffling! Now we’re back home but looking forward to the weekend!


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