As our narrowboat is in the yard having major engine work carried out on her 1956 Lister SR3 we were at a bit of a loose weekend so we decided to jump in the car and head off to the Canal Festival at Rickmansworth. I did not really know what to expect from this one as a few we have been to have been little more than car boot sales with a few boats moored up for good measure. This one was different, very different.
When we arrived in Rickmansworth it absolutely poured down with rain – not a great start but as we were directed into a field to park the car the sun broke through. After a little bit of puddle dodging along the walk to the festival we were pleasantly surprised as this one looked epic. The deal was that you paid £3 for car parking and then a ‘voluntary’ £2 donation so it cost us as a couple £8 (we gave a fiver) which was well worth it as this festival really was quite a big one.
There was the odd bric-a-brac (car boot) stall but there was also a plethora of arts and crafts stalls, canal related stalls and lots of weird and wonderful food on offer. Of course there was also the obligatory beer tent offering a wide variety of ales and a main stage if live music is you thing. We love food and beer (what boater doesn’t?) so we indulged in some Thai food and washed down with some Timothy Taylors.
The one slight criticism, and it is only slight was that we had no idea where the actual canal was as from the direction we came in there was nothing telling us where to go after we had visited all the stalls which were situated away from the canal. Google maps to the rescue. Of course the main attraction for us was the boats and once we had found our way onto the tow path we were in our element. It was a great turnout of working and private boats and we were kept entertained by the working boat ‘tug-of-war’ competition although I am not sure I would like to put my engine through that!
Apart from the odd heavy downpour we really enjoyed this Canal Festival and it’s definitely one we will be watching out for next year, perhaps we will even potter down the Grand Union Canal aboard Hannah the Narrowboat!