Canoeist cuts the ribbon
Crystal Hulls, a ten year old canoeist & resident of Stroud, cut a ceremonial ribbon and became the first boater for more than 70 years, to pass through the restored Dudbridge Upper Lock on Saturday 7th December.
First craft since 1941
Eighteen kayaks & canoes, paddled by young members of Stroud Canoe Club, made history by navigating through Dudbridge Upper Lock and back again.
Making history under power – silently
Also making history afloat was long time Cotswold Canals Trust member Robert Paget (membership number 57).
Robert, who grew up in the cottage alongside Dudbridge Lower Lock, steered his battery powered inflatable amongst the canoes to make a video record of the first transit. See picture right.
Stroud District Councillor Simon Pickering witnessed the proceedings and applied his energy to assisting SDC's Dave Marshall in pushing on the lock gate balance beam.
Cllr Pickering commented, "It is just brilliant to see boats coming through Dudbridge once more. The whole restoration is great for the people of Stroud, great for the heritage of the area, for the future of the Stroud valleys and for the future of the kids here today."
Low key, but significant, event
Dave Marshall explained the rationale behind the low key, but nonetheless significant opening event…
"We seized the opportunity of the Upper Lock's completion to make this a special day for the young canoeists.
"Some may ask why we did not publicise it in the same way as we did for the recent open days for the lock and hydro scheme.
"With restoration continuing on the lower lock, this remains a work site so we decided on a quiet, low key event".
There and back again…
The canoe club entered the canal at the slipway in Strachans Close. They then paddled speedily to the lock entrance where they gathered in a very organised manner to allow Crystal Hulls to use her safety scissors on the ceremonial ribbon.
The entire flotilla then entered the full lock and positioned themselves in readiness for the descent.
The water level in the lock dropped slowly to allow the bottom gates to open.
The group then paddled off in a westerly direction to Dudbridge Lower lock before turning to retrace their route back up the lock and off along the canal.
The flotilla was through and back again in a relatively short time. The event was covered by BBC Points West TV, BBC Radio Gloucestershire and local newspaper reporters.
LATE NEWS JUST IN
The lockgates for Dudbridge Lower Lock will be fitted tomorrow, Tuesday 10th December starting at 09:00. Good views should be had from Dudbridge Bridge.