Over the Spring Bank holiday weekend The Boating Association celebrated its 70th year. I find it hard to imagine what the waterways around the Rivers Trent and Ouse were like after second world war. The years that followed saw a few men who could see the bigger picture to promote and improve the waterways we so love today. A personal thank you goes out to those few.
With the sun shining on the Friday, I like so many set off to the steps behind Nottingham County Hall near Trent Bridge to see the fruits of 18 months of planning come together. I have to admit, as Trent Bridge came into sight and through the centre arch I could see the Newark Heritage Barge ‘Leicester Trader’ moored up with the ex-BWB tug Friar Tuck alongside, I felt a sense of relief. The marquee was also in place and was to take centre stage for our events.
There were around 20 boats already moored on the steps and most were here for our Rally. Over the next 24 hours these numbers were more than doubled.
Saturday morning got off to a good start with Registration opening and skippers signing up to the events. At 12 midday prompt, with the sounding of the air horn, I declared the 70th Anniversary Rally open.
The interest slowly grew at our arena area and our first competition was underway. A massive thanks to Isobel (10) who stepped up and entered the Children’s Rowing competition. This in turn got a few more children interested and we were off.
Soon we were going down the bank and lady after lady got involved with the Rowing event followed by the men, oh my goodness how competitive did that get.
We calmed things down a little with the Children’s Lifebelt throwing but as soon as the adults got up the competition got fierce.
The afternoon’s activities were bought to an end with the inter-club 1 man dinghy relay! Two teams of 4, Derby Motor Boat Club verses The Boating Association, once round the course, a quick change over x3 how hard could it possibly be? Firstly the drop into the dinghies was about a foot, the dinghies weren’t overly inflated and then there was the current and wind. A fabulous spectacle to end the first day of activities.
For the evening we had brought in a DJ by the name of Richard Stevenson who amongst other things ran a very entertaining quiz. We best not mention what he did to Owen’s loo! We finished off with a good old dancing session.
Sunday’s activities were all to be held on the river and we started off with a 40 foot narrowboat competing in the obstacle course. Unfortunately, for Leadham Astray it rained non-stop, however, this didn’t dampen their spirits or that of the crowd that were now all taking shelter in the marquee.
With around 12 boats taking part in around 4 events each, the day was very quickly used up.
As well as competing for trophies that have got a lot of history attached to them, there is a more serious side to the boat handling activities as it allows you to put your boat through its paces in a safe environment and, hopefully, should you need these skills later, you will be more confident to perform them. My personal favourite that we encourage is the crew boat handling awareness, where we encourage the crew to skipper the boat when they wouldn’t normally.
It was off into the marquee for the prize giving in the evening and the conclusion of the Rally with a boat knowledge quiz and yet more dancing.
This is the first TBA Rally that has been held under my watch and I, like so many who got involved, had such a wonderful time. As ever, a massive thanks to the Committee and everyone else who took part, either as a competitor or a helping hand.
Thank you all.
The Boating Association