Location: Crick boat Show 2018, Grand Union Canal, Leicester Line
Crick boat show, that whirlwind of boats and boat equipment and generally nice things (I love the fudge). I went to Crick boat show 2018 as I have in 2015, 2016 and 2017. It was just as enjoyable this year as in the past three. For those of you that don’t know Crick boat show is the largest canal boat show in the UK (possibly the world). It is always on on the second bank holiday in May, and goes on for three days (Saturday, Sunday and Monday).
After the first year I have not gone for all three days, for me two days is enough. The first day I go around and see everything that is there and buy all the small stuff (towels, fenders and other stuff like that). The second day I know what big stuff (over £50) I want to buy and start to ask the retailers questions about the products and finding out if they are worth the money, and if more than one retailer has the same item I ask stuff like why is yours better.
The festival has been going since the year 2000, it was first arranged by British Waterways, but since 2011 it has been organised by the magazine Waterways World in conjunction with the Canal and River Trust. It is held in one part of Crick marina and the adjoining field. In the water are various new boats that you can tour round (sometimes you have to book, depends on the boat builder), there are the historic narrowboats, and the trip boat (a free trip up and down the canal but you have to book as there are only so many spaces available.
In the field there is the Canal and River Trust marquee, the food and craft marquee, the midland chandlers marquee, another marquee with a variety of sellers, the seminar marquee, and rows of stalls where you can do everything from sponsoring a dog (Dogs Trust stall), to buying new boat fenders, to buying portable solar panels used to charge up phones etc. There is a huge variety and I love looking around all the various stalls. There is also the beer tent which doubles as the entertainment marquee. This is where live acts perform, this year I watched some Irish dancing, which was something new and interesting.
Last year, having missed out on a boat trip because I went to book it too late, I went straight to the tent where you book the boat trip. I got on the second trip of the day. When on the boat I got to talking with a lovely couple who were thinking about buying a canal boat (he was keen, but she needed more persuading). I talked to them about the positives and negatives of having a boat and living on it. I mentioned a lot of things that they had not thought of so I was helpful to them. One of the things that they found most helpful was the suggestion that they take a canal boat holiday in the winter, so they can encounter more of the different seasons before they make the commitment.
After the boat trip I started making my way round the stalls and marquees and picking up a variety of knick-knacks that were useful, pretty or presents for people. I also looked up where the stalls were that I would come back to tomorrow to ask about expensive stuff. My main aim when going to Crick boat show 2018 was to ask about boat batteries and electric engines. My dream is to have an electric engine powering my canal boat. These don’t come cheap. The prices varied from £5000 to £15000 depending who you talked to. I will have to put them on my wish list for the future.
The other thing that I was looking for was a new water pump. My one has started leaking and half the water comes out of the tap when it is turned on and the other half squirts out and runs down the side of the boat until it reaches the engine deck. Not somewhere where you want a load of water as it is a lot of effort to get the water out as the engine takes up most of the space and you have to lean down around the engine from the step above it to get down there.
I got a very good deal on my water pump, it was one of the products with a special show price, more than just the regular show offer of 10% off. I was very pleased with my bargain. I will need to get around to fixing it soon so that I can use my taps again.
On the Sunday I also took a walk along the canal banks, walking along the boat trip route that I took on Saturday and going a bit further, it was a lovely walk and I look forward to boating it soon. I walked as far as a bridge with the Crick Boat Show sign on it. The bridge was interesting because the individual planks had the names of people or organisations on them, presumably they sponsored a plank in the building of the bridge. It was a lovely way to commemorate the people who helped to fund the bridge, better than a plaque or information board.
Here is a picture of me standing on the bridge with a sign advertising Crick boat show 2018
One of the nicest canal related things that I saw was on the stall selling Muddy Waters canal childrens books. Someone had knitted a canal boat and they had it on their stall. The detail was amazing and you could even open a little cupboard in the nose to see what he was carrying.
Here is a picture of the knitted canal boat
All in all, it was a lovely weekend, and I traveled back home on Sunday and beat all the traffic that would be on the roads on the bank holiday Monday. I would definitely recommend if you are interested in canals to go at least once in your life. It is a boat show that is definitely centered around boats, unlike many others where the boats are an add on to the town carnival or fair. Crick boat show 2018 was a success just as much as the previous years I have been.