19th May 2017
A group of canal volunteers arrived back at Shireoaks in the pouring rain having completed an epic journey. They had just completed their second Sponsored Boat Pull.
The Friends of Dawn Rose had set out from Shireoaks Marina on the Chesterfield Canal over three weeks earlier. During this time, Dawn Rose had been pulled by 15 different groups of people to West Stockwith on the River Trent and back. That’s 56 miles and 48 locks.
The first group were the Friends of Woodlands and Coachwood Green, from Shireoaks, and the last were a group of undertakers from Harold Lilleker & Sons from Chesterfield. In between there had been a huge variety of pullers including Scouts, Canal Societies and even Ladies on the Pull from the Retford & Worksop Boat Club.
The journey was split up into 21 legs which varied from less than one mile to four miles and no locks to eight locks. Groups chose which section suited them best – on which day and at what time of day.
Every group paid a fee to the Friends of Dawn Rose and everything else that they raised has gone to their chosen good cause. The total amount has run to several thousand pounds. For most of the time there had been good weather, but the heavens opened on the final day.
For the entire journey, Dawn Rose was accompanied by Python, the Trust’s 88 year old ex-working boat.
Dawn Rose is the only Chesterfield Canal boat in existence. They were built to a unique design dating back to the 1770s. This design scarcely changed in 150 years. All the old boats had rotted away, so a group of volunteers from the Chesterfield Canal Trust built Dawn Rose from scratch. It is 70’ long with no engine. This herculean task took four years because they stuck to the traditional design and only used hand tools. They even made their own 9” nails!
They then set up the Friends of Dawn Rose as a way to support the maintenance, mooring and other costs to keep it afloat. A horse, Knight, is currently in training and it is hoped that it will do some towing demonstrations later this year.
To become a Friend of Dawn Rose, click here.
Leg1, the Friends of Woodlands and Coachwood Green. (Photo by Peter Alliott)
Legs 5 & 6, the crew of Seth Ellis. Dawn and Chris set off. (Photo by Peter Hardy)
Later Georgina and Dawn took over. (Photo by Dawn Bussingham)
Then it was Helen and Chris (again). (Photo by Dawn Bussingham)
No caption needed! (Photo by Dawn Bussingham)
Followed by Peter and Peter. (Photo by Dawn Bussingham)
Leg 17, Dawn Rose in Charlie’s Lock.
Leg 18, the Derby and Sandiacre Canal Trust.
Here you can see the faithful Python in the distance.
The D&SCT even brought their own banner.
The tow rope has to be long to get round corners …..
….. and to get over moored boats.
End of Leg 21; arrival back at Shireoaks.
It was teeming down …..
….. however the indomitable Dawn Rose crew were still smiling!