‘Outram’ outing at Shardlow Inland Port Festival
While we wait to get ‘Outram’ on the Derwent in Derby, we found out that Shardlow was having a water festival on the 11th & 12th September 2021. This looked like a great opportunity for us to have a few trial runs with the boat with passengers.
With ‘Outram’ being mooring in Long Eaton with Paul Barber, who built the boat, we were already within easy reach of the festival. On contacting the organizers, they welcomed us with open arms and gave us a prime site outside the Clock Warehouse. That was it, Plans where formed to get the boat to Shardlow, find skippers and crew for the weekend and get it back.
Not knowing if we would find Canal & River Trust volunteers at the locks, to help us through, we assembled a crew of Mike Snaith, Peter Ball, Harry Tanser (and Friend) and myself to move the boat from Long Eaton to Shardlow on the Friday morning. We need not have panicked, as the lock at Trent Lock was the only lock we had to do ourselves. The trip was down the Erewash on to the River Trent and up to Sawley mechanical lock. Then past Sawley Marina and the flood lock, then back onto the river and on to the Trent & Mersey canal at Derwent Mouth. Overnight moorings had been arranged on the canal in Shardlow, and they kindly allowed us to connect to a power supply to recharge the batteries.
Saturday morning, we moved ‘Outram’ to the Clock Warehouse at 9.00am and immediately people started asking when they could have trips. We set up a gazebo to act as a ticket office, along with banners, posters and leaflets. Skippers sorted out the boat and the water for coffee & teas boiled and the cakes uncovered. This resulted in the first trip being made at 11am. The planned route was through Shardlow, heading back towards Derwent Mouth, and turning at the second Chapel Hill Marina entrance before returning to the Clock Warehouse. Between each trip we recharged the batteries from a power supply from the Heritage Centre.
We managed 4 trips on Saturday with everyone finding out how ‘Outram’ handled and the best ways to turn the boat at the warehouse and the the marina entrances. On ‘Outram’ it is sometime difficult to judge where the bow is from the back of the boat, as the roof stops some 3m short of the bow for the open seating area, and therefore difficult to judge were the bow is. Various bumps and scrapes happened, but as Timothy West said on the TV ‘its a contact sport’?? More paint needed? At the end of the day, we moved ‘Outram’ back to the overnight mooring for a rest and overnight battery top up.
Sunday was a repeat of Saturday with 5 trips from the Clock Warehouse to Chapel Hill Marina, with fare paying passengers and a few DSCT volunteers, who came to check us out. We started at 11am again, with the trip taking 45 > 50 minutes, we ended up with an hourly service. By the 12 o’clock trip, we found that the rest of the afternoon trips were fully booked.
The trips became easier and smoother with the crews getting more use to ‘Outram’. In fact we had one comment that a trip on Sunday afternoon was ‘boring’ as we had not hit anything and the turns were smooth?? Due to low power reading on the batteries after the last trip it was decided to leave ‘Outram’ at the Clock Warehouse overnight to recharge the batteries properly for the return trip to Long Eaton on Monday morning.
The return trip to Long Eaton with a crew of Dave Eley, Tony Hudson and myself was a smooth experience, as we now knew what we were doing?? Unfortunately, the CRT volunteers only helped us through the Sawley Mechanical Lock, so we had to work the locks at Derwent Mouth and Trent Lock. One of the CRT volunteers described ‘Outram’ as a ‘stealth boat’ as they couldn’t hear the engine.
The whole weekend was a great success. Showing the public ‘Outram’ and telling them about our various projects, and the crews finding out what we should do and not do, with ‘Outram’.
A great thank you for all the various volunteers who helped us during the weekend to steer the boat and Maz, Emma, Liz and Linda selling the tickets and manning the sales counter on the boat. Funds taken over the weekend will go towards the work in Derby needed for the mooring platform.
A special thanks to the people of Shardlow for inviting us to the festival, The Clock Warehouse for use of their car park and the residents and boaters that help us out over the weekend with overnight moorings and power supplies.