Stroud on Water gave the people of Stroud and Gloucestershire a taste of canal life last weekend. Professor Mark Horton of BBC TV's Coast, pictured below, opened the festival last Saturday.
He said: "To see the Cotswold Canals Trust grow like it has and achieve this is wonderful. It's a real honour to be asked to open the festival."
The event celebrated 40 years of The Cotswold Canals Trust, The Inland Waterways National Trailboat Festival and of course The Diamond Jubilee.
Music, poetry & dance… and so much more!
A flavour of Glastonbury was evident with three stages offering a diverse choice of entertainment – folk, rock, poetry and dance.
Trade stands added interest and the children's entertainment was reported to have been exceptional.
Estimates indicate that some 10,000 people attended the event over the three days. The festival bar was popular and kept serving to the last cask.
The grand finale on Monday evening was a fireworks display timed to perfection with patriotic music.
Canal is the star
Star of the show seems to have been the canal itself.
Forty boats were brought to Stroud on trailers and launched into the canal.
Hundreds of people thronged the towpath and many boarded trip boats for a journey along the newly recovered stretch.
CCT Boats Manager Rob Burgon commented, “So many people worked together to get the show on the road, professionals and volunteers alike.
"It was a close run thing… the last obstruction was moved on Friday and Perseverance was commandeered to assist with the clearance of some tree branches.
“The trips went very well. We made lots of people very happy and the boat crews really enjoyed it too.”
Festival visitor Roger Urwin later emailed organisers to say “Congratulations on providing a fantastic weekend's activities.
"I managed to get there for Saturday and Monday and had a really good time. You put on an excellent range of attractions with friendly helpful staff at a lovely location.
"I especially enjoyed watching my pizza being prepared from scratch – a lovely little production line – friendly and efficient."
Gerry Luff travelled from Guildford to recapture some memories of the canal.
"Yesterday, Sunday, I did something that I previously thought impossible. We travelled down to Stroud on Water and there boarded a boat that took us down the canal past Ebley Mill to the old Children’s Home where we turned round and cruised back under Hilly Orchard Bridge to Dudbridge Wharf and what used to be home."
John Laverick, Chairman of the Wilts & Berks Canal Trust, commented “It really was pleasing to see so many people, including lots of families, enjoying their canal – all down to the efforts of CCT over the years. Your teams seemed to have coped very well with what the weather threw at the site on Sunday. Seeing 'work in progress' along the waterway was rated highly by many people with whom I spoke. Good luck with the ongoing phases of restoration.”
Click here, or on the icon below, to watch SCTV's 'An afternoon at Stroud on Water'
A final word from 'The Management'
The qualities displayed by the Cotswold Canals Trust & Waterways Recovery Group volunteers in putting on this event in such challenging conditions were exemplary… they just kept on going… just like the Duracell bunnies!