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Rickmansworth Boat Show 2018

Start of one round of boat tug of war at Rickmansworth Canal Festival

Location: Rickmansworth boat show, Rickmansworth Aquadrome, Rickmansworth, Grand Union Canal

Rickmansworth boat show has been going for 25 years and 2018 was another enjoyable year (I have not been all 25 times but I have enjoyed every time that I have been). It started in 1993 as a purely canal based festival, it incorporated the aquadrome in the festivities. It was part of the British Waterways “Canal 200” festivals. After the first year it shrank in size but has been steadily growing ever since until in 2018 there was over 20,000 visitors and there were many stalls, and fairground rides as well stages for music and of course boats.

One of the highlights for me was that I managed to find the stall selling what I call my ‘magic bags’ they are a simple over the shoulder bag, but the more stuff that you put in them the more space there seems to be and it is the same size as a large handbag! I was very pleased to get some more (you can never have too many magic bags). They are also very nice designs, very hippy, and there are many designs to choose from.


Here is a picture of a magic bag

After going around the whole of Rickmansworth boat show and doing all my shopping I met my friends Jed and Anna who had with them their baby son Isaac. While we were getting some lunch (and there was a good vegetarian selection as well as the usual burgers and icecreams you normally get at shows like this) we saw the flypast of the Dakota aircraft, it was a spectacular sight flying right above us two or three times.


Here is a picture of Jed, Anna and Isaac (shhh Isaac is asleep)

It was Isaac’s first boat show and when we were down by the canal looking at the boats he was more interested in the boats than having his picture taken (and who would blame him, boats are far more interesting than a lady with a camera).


Here they are by the canal

After lunch we were watching some of the canal boat tug of war. An event that happens every year, boats compete to be the one with the strongest engine. It works by two boats backing up towards each other and then a rope is attached between them and they start their engines going forward and the boat that pulls the other boat over the line is the winner. It is not all about the size of the boat, some smaller boats have more powerful engines and manage to pull the larger boat over the line.

As we continued to walk along the canal we passed several boats selling their wares. I was surprised by how many boats took card payments, it seems that the world is changing. There are so many different crafts that people do. On one boat they were selling fridge magnets and I got one and Anna got one, lovely pictures of the canal and wildlife. Another boat was selling pictures made out of vinyl records, he used a saw to cut a design out and the results were very interesting.

We walked along the canal until we reached Batchworth locks. We had a quick look around the little shop, Anna and Jed especially liked the little models of canal boats that they had for sale. Then we got ice-creams and sat out by the canal and river eating them, enjoying the sunshine and watching Isaac trying to learn how to crawl up a hill.

On our way back we saw a gaggle of goslings with their parents. They were yellow and fluffy and very cute to see. One of the wonders of the canal system. We watched them swim around as a group until they went off down a side stream and out of sight.


Here are the gaggle of goslings and their parents

There were several activities you could take part in or watch, there were Storm Troopers marching around having their picture taken and Morris Dancers dancing during the day. Also there was an area to try out kayaking on the lakes thanks to Batchworth canoeing club. For the more sedate among us there was a trip boat operating along the canal.

We all had a very enjoyable day, the sun was shining and it was just a lovely day, just like the previous Rickmansworth boat show that I went to. This is a good festival for people who enjoy funfairs and county shows, and it has the difference of also having boats on the waterways and the canal and lakes around to add a difference to your normal county fair.

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