WILTS & BERKS CANAL
(A brief report with pictures.)
Just a brief report, and some pictures (just click the thumbnail for the full size image).
The Festival was a huge success, with several thousands of people attending. I have not yet heard of anyone not enjoying themselves. Tony Mason, of AWCC, tells me that there were around 50 powered craft (many of them Wilderness boats) on the water. We also had coracles, canoes and peddle power boats. Attractions such as hot air balloons, and the helicopter rides were very popular.
The weather was exceedingly kind, ranging from brilliant hot summer conditions to the warm overcast that we are more used to. No serious rain till just after the official closure on Monday when we had a really heavy downpour.....to remind us of what could have been.
David Bellamy opened the festival. He also took to the water on the peddle power boats and stayed late into Saturday afternoon.
IWA National Chairman, Audrey Smith, spent the weekend with us and we are exceedingly grateful for her support. Her home branch is hosting next year's TBF so we hope we've set them a good example.
A really special visitor on two days was John Gould (boatman and waterways campaigner), our vice-president. Although having some difficulty walking he was on the water on Monday in the trip boat "Pioneer" and took the helm for a trip down the canal, even assisting in towing back a broken down motor boat. But John is not a person living in the past, just before leaving he was up in the helicopter inspecting the festival and Wootton Bassett from the air.
The Wilts & Berks Canal is now firmly on the map, no longer the K&A's little sister.
Finally a BIG THANK YOU to everybody who worked so hard organising the event and running it over the weekend, and to everybody who visited us, to all the boaters, exhibitors, caterers etc.. the list is endless....THANK YOU.
So here are a few pictures (not in any particular sequence) to remind you of the weekend if you were there, or show you what you missed if you wasn't
All pictures are copyright © D G & B A Small (May 1998)
WOOTTON BASSETT in WILTSHIRE