31st May  2011

The dedicated band of members who restore and crew our Historic Working Boat, Python, is taking her on a long tour this summer.

Python at Gringley Top Lock

Having worked their way through Shireoaks Middle and Stret Locks on 23rd and 27th May with the help of British Waterways, they officially set off on 30th May. They will leave West Stockwith to go onto the River Trent on 1st June heading for Newark. After cruising through Nottingham, they will go up the River Soar, the Leicester section of the Grand Union Canal and finally the Grand Union Main Line to Stoke Bruerne. They will be at Stoke Bruerne for the Gala Weekend on 11th and 12th June, which will be well worth a visit.

They will then go back up the Grand Union to Braunston, where they will take part in the Historic Working Boat Rally along with Python’s sister boat, Panther, which belongs to the Coventry Canal Society. This takes place on 25th and 26th June and is another must-see event.

The next stage will see them going via the North Oxford and Coventry Canals to Alvecote Marina. Here they will appear at the Alvecote Festival on 9th and 10th July.

Undaunted, they will continue up the Coventry and then onto the Trent & Mersey Canal where they will head for Shobnall Fields, Burton-upon-Trent for the Inland Waterways Association’s National Festival from 29th to 31st July.  Here they will be joined by our promotional trailer, the James Brindley. This is the biggest canal event of the year, so go if you possibly can.

Python approaching Drakeholes

It will then be homeward bound, so they will continue along the Trent & Mersey to the River Trent, finally arriving back at West Stockwith on 4th August.

Can’t wait to get home? You must be joking! There will be time for a Canal Clean-up at Retford on 8th August before finally arriving back at Python’s mooring at Shireoaks on 11th August, 81 days after setting off.

I am sure that you will agree that this is a pretty fine tour, doing the Trust proud. The logistics of moving crew and cars around would tax a Nobel Laureate, but Pete Ramsell takes it in his stride. The whole crew – Pete, Tom Flewitt, Richard Allsopp, Arthur Naylor, Maurice Marsden, Michael Edwards, Robin Stonebridge – deserve our hearty thanks, as does Mick Cheshire who will shadow them all the way with his boat Phoenix, accompanied by Branson Easy.

Python approaching Man Face bridge at Wiseton.