After maybe 5 years of trying to arrange a trip on a canal boat, finally the Giles Group members managed it! For the April 2017 monthly outing, on Bank Holiday Monday at Easter, the canal boat and the Minibus schedules coincided, and 17 Giles members travelled by car and Minibus to Hungerford, for a 2 hour sunny afternoon trip along the Kennet and Avon canal.
The boat was the ‘Rose of Hungerford’, a purpose built wide-beamed trip boat sailing from Hungerford Wharf. The Rose has sliding picture windows for warm days, but is fully enclosed. A refreshment bar serves hot and cold drinks, and is also fully licensed! There is also a toilet on board, and apparently there is a lift arrangement to get wheelchairs on board: some power complications meant this was not working, so undaunted out old ladies climbed in using the standard steps, which was quite an achievement for many.
However the cruise towards Newbury was very enjoyable, and peaceful, past many not too disgruntled fishermen, and through two locks. The view from the front was very interesting, and was actually where the Queen had sat for her journey up some bits of the canal to celebrate its re-opening, maybe only around 50 years ago.
Diann threw herself into the spirit of the adventure, and helped with opening the sluices round the locks. This was OK until a slight hiccup, when the crank handle somehow was fixed on the valve the wrong way round, which took two burly boatmen and a metal lever to get it off.
Nevertheless we all came home safely after a nice cruise and then a Minibus ride…. a selection of pictures from the day are below.