Men’s Outing – Canal Barge

On Thursday, 27th July, 2017, nine bold men and true from St John’s, took to the high seas, to embark on a sailing adventure. (Well actually, we hired a canal boat for the day, and set off from Skipton). Once we had gone through passport control, and received our canal barge instructions, we set off into the wilds of Yorkshire, heading for Silsden. First at the controls was Roger, shortly followed by Chris. The weather was fine as we surged along at 4 mph, creating a tremendous bow wave, as several Beach Boy types took advantage of the wave to surf along side us. (different species of ducks!!!!). As one would expect Chris and Roger proved to be very good tiller men (or should that be tiller girls?), but could any one else get hold of the tiller, not a chance. This is a beautiful stretch of the canal, all in open countryside, with much wildlife to see (No Peter and Dave G, not the female joggers!!!!) Along the way we met several other parties sailing their own hire barges, some of them in strange positions across the canal

All was going well, when Brian finally took over the tiller, having wrenched Chris’s and Roger’s hands from the tiller, which by now, had become welded to the handle. This is were our adventure started. Brian appeared to view navigation in a different light to everyone else, as we started to sail sideways along the canal. However, we were able to get closer to nature during this spell, as we collected several species of tree and shrub from the river bank, as we sailed through most of them. The several swing bridges along the route were a constant source of entertainment, as there were many near misses as people tried to jump off the barge whilst it was still moving, in an effort to tie the barge up. Roger, who else, detected a slight shuddering, and lack of power in the engine, and insisted on tying up to have a look. Well done Roger. As he opening the propeller shaft up and removed a large agricultural type plastic bag that had become wrapped around the propeller. Wow, we were really travelling now, a full and constant 4mph. Nobody could match us, as we went for overtake after overtake

We finally arrived at Silsden, and found a magnificent pub, with good ale. However, the food department was really busy, and we needed to set sail to get back in time, so we didn’t have time to wait above the hour. The wonderful lady behind the bar, suddenly came out with two trays of sandwiches, pork pies, quiche and the like. We didn’t ask for them, and she didn’t want to take any money for them. Talk about hospitality. However, we could have stayed there for the rest of the day, but time was against us and off we went. On the return journey, everybody had to have a go at the tiller, and again there were some scary moments, but on our return to Skipton we had to back the barge into a small space and a real expert was needed. Well done Chris for guiding us in without a hint of a bump. It was off to Wetherspoons in Skipton for a curry and some liquid refreshment

Hope everybody enjoyed it. I can recommend it for a great day out, in lovely scenery. Here’s to the next one

by David Finch