Weekend on 'The Whistling Swan'

Posted by   Sandra on    September 25, 2014

 Looking up the Caen Hill flight of locks

Jill Jeffs, the County Outdoor Activities Adviser, who was in charge of organising the weekend:

"What a weekend we had! Fantastic weather, lots of laughs, fantastic food and two new Power-cruising licences achieved.  Twelve Guiders and friends completed nineteen miles, seventy locks, twelve swing bridges and one turning point to travel from Hilperton in Wiltshire to Devizes and back. 

The crew

Setting off on Friday, we arrived at Sells Green to moor overnight and collected two of our crew who arrived after their day’s work.  The next day our motley crew set off at seven o’clock to tackle the Caen Hill flight.  Some had never been on a narrow boat before so others who were more experienced led the way, though all had a chance to learn.

Mandy training a novice helmsman

Cilla as ‘lock master’ soon had her team of eight harnessed and in full working order. As the locks are ‘doubles’ we were joined by another boat and ‘buttied up’ to ascend to Devizes.

Entering a lock

We made good time and arrived in Devizes at three o’clock, breakfast and lunch being eaten on the run. We cruised on past the Devizes marina to turn around at the designated turning point (a special place is needed to turn a 70 foot boat) and moored up and had a couple of hours in the town. All were in bed by ten for an early start on the Sunday to do the descent.  We cruised until dark and managed to do all but the last two hours of the return journey.

It wasn't all hard work

Three of the crew were dropped off as they had to work on Monday morning and the rest of us went to bed even earlier….tired but triumphant!

It could only happen at a Guide event that twelve people could set off as individuals, some experienced but mostly novices, and return after two days as a professional crew!!!!

Well done to Mandy Greenaway and Sarah Semmens on achieving their licences and thank you to everyone who came and crewed for them and made it a brilliant and really enjoyable voyage."

Sarah and Mandy gained their Powerboat Licences

And many thanks to Jill for organising the event:

Jill winding up the paddles