Sunday, 24 June 2012

 Back to Braunston for the day...

This weekend is Braunston's 10th annual working and historic boats rally. Historic and working boats from all over the UK joined the festivities. The rally was held in the marina at Braunston which had more than enough room for all the marquees required for the numerous stalls and of course the beer tent.

The Liliputians made an unexpected reappearance closely followed by the authorities in their 'pursuit'  inflatable kayak.

Their actions were peaceful this time however

...and they were only looking to trade their mini sacks of spuds 

We arrived nice and early, a good couple of hours before the procession, and were able to have an uninterrupted look around.

We were moored down there at the end of April - I am sure the canal was narrower then!

Last of the boats and first of the watchers getting into position. The bridge has seen a lot of traffic since it was installed in 1834
Boats moored four abreast at the marina entrance.

The parade starts with commentary aboard and on the marina bridge

The parade was started in earnest and would be heading from the marina to Braunston turn (under the two bridges) winding there before heading back to the first entrance of the marina, through the marina (at a very tight angle) and back out onto the cut and trying to make their way back to their mooring points - rather them than me. Some of these boats are rather precious as well, from the butty 'Raymond' that has recently been rescued and restored to 'Laplander' a pretty ancient steam powered icebreaker.

Not from the Baltic but from District 4 of the Birmingham Canal Navigation

One of the many British Waterways Boats with the sunny backdrop of the old Braunston windmill. 

The smaller boats had no difficulty navigating the course.

A tight squeeze in some parts, at least they haven't got shiny paint for the trees to scratch.
A boat and butty prepare to leave Braunston marina

With a brisk breeze and a difficult schedule the boat handlers did a fantastic job of holding their positions ready for instructions.

70ft of boat and butty turning on a sixpense

Cargo's of friends, family and buskers!
Wind blowing from left to right made maneuvering tricky

Meanwhile over our shoulders the salvation army band played a selection of chanteys and rousing melodies.

The organisers relented and let the Lilliputians join in 

View from the other end of the marina

Large funnel in the middle of the boat indicating its steam power unit

A closer look at 'Laplander' easily the oldest boat here and probably the oldest iron boat floating today having been built in 1830. Laplander was originally pulled by a team of up to 18 horses with a crew rocking from side to side to crash through the ice.

Unfortunately not able to travel under her own steam today (literally) so being towed by a fellow steamer.

Boats coming from the marina's main entrance slowed the progress down

It looks like bedlam from up on the bridge so it must have been quite daunting from deck height.

We followed the boats at their slow pace back to the horsley bridge into the marina. By now the morning sun had brought out the crowds. Testament to our industrial heritage that the bridge can still cope with the abuse nearly 200 years on   

Boat and butty keeping as much pace as possible coming into the marina. If the propeller isn't spinning fast you loose the 'steer-ability' and 142ft of boat tries to go sideways down a 25ft wide canal. 

Not a problem for experienced crew though.

Three 'Ole sea dogs' singing their chanteys (well two singing and one sleeping)

They really are as long as they look.

This one looks like it is modeled on an Anderson shelter

Easy turning for the smaller boats

A lesson in winding. Bury the bow in the bank and keep her in forward until the wind starts to do its job and swing the back end round

All the boats used the double bridges at Braunston turn to wind, going forward under the right bridge and backing out the left one.

Laplander being pulled back through Braunston turn. A tricky job in the wind and with your steam buddy trying to nudge you backwards

Expertise with the pole is essential to keep the prop from burying itself in the bank

A job well done

A great opportunity to get close to some of the boats in the shelter of the marina

A proliferation of colour 

Deb queuing up at the wrong end of the skip for cheese tasting

Copious amounts of brasso used on the day and lots of traditional knot work on show

Knots not always just for show, a large 'turks head' knot as a button fender on the back of the rudder. 

A few faces that tell a thousand tales

A few faces that tell a thousand tales

A few faces that tell a thousand tales

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