News Desk
Awayday on the Basingstoke Canal

Hamble Square, 0845 for 0900 start. Spot the picnic bags in the sunshine. Coliseum Coaches, Dean at the wheel. 0910 and we were off after the usual "hands up anyone who isn't here" from one of the Committee Members. Safe hands, then.

Dean deposited us soon after 1000 at Colt Hill Wharf in Odiham where our numbers were swelled by a dozen own-steam crew-members. We were 50 mixed Mercury Gardens Residents and R Srn YC Members, some falling into both camps for a cruise on John Pinkerton II on the Basingstoke Canal.

All aboard (bit of a squeeze) for the expected safety talk, this one being a Channel Ferry-cum-Ryan Air drill. We got the picture. Don't get your fingers trapped in a bridge, and beware of fish hooks caught in overhanging branches. Think of the paperwork.

Very quietly (the boat, not the gossipy crew) we set off in an easterly direction (towards London, we were told by, possibly, the Navigator) to make the most of what little water was left in the canal after a long hot summer. What bliss, to glide gently through the green water under the green trees beside the lush green towpath. I noticed no green-faced passengers. We took it in turns nicely in the forward cockpit and the steering cockpit aft, although with four crew we were not allowed to play, in a nautical sense. The bar provided for simple needs: coffee, wine and a brand of bottled beer called Tea.



A brief informative lecture (not enough jokes for some of the naughty boys among us) was delivered about John Pinkerton, the 1970s restorer of the canal which had been built in only six years to boost trade between Hampshire and London. Opened in 1794, the canal failed to compete with the newly-built railway and became derelict within the next century, to be rescued following its purchase by Hampshire and Surrey County Councils and the efforts of a largely volunteer workforce led by Mr Pinkerton.



The verdant margins revealed occasional visual treasures: the Dogmersfield luxury narrow boat; some picturesque houses with delightful grounds; Winchfield House, and all too soon we reached our turning point at the Barley Mow Bridge at Winchfield. Most of the company elected to hop ashore to stretch their legs while the John Pinkerton II went on to the winding place to turn before sweeping us up on the way back.



Picnics were consumed during the return voyage and we enjoyed the same visual treats but from a different view point as we glided westward back to Colt Hill Wharf. The gentle pace, it seems, was necessitated by the shallow water, but even so, we could see the canal-effect as swans paddled furiously to overcome the stream displaced as we passed by. With an hour to spare after landing, we could sample the Waterwitch Pub, or the welcome shade of the trees by the Wharf. And no need to wash off the salt stains.



Embarked once again on the coach, Dean whisked us home to Hamble with perfect timing, before the rush hour and the threatened thunder storm. Perhaps the canal is not quite so short of water after Thursday night's deluge.

Thank you Ann for finding a new place to take us, complete with adventure and sunshine thrown in. Look out for another trip next spring when winter rain will have filled the canal and we can go westward to Odiham Castle.



Report: Lindy Chamberlain  Images Maggie Widdop


 Tell A Friend  Share on Facebook
  
 701 Times
 Back To Listing

/Portals/0/EasyDNNRotator/3992/Gallery/088A0002.jpg J/80 Nationals

J/80 Nationals

/Portals/0/EasyDNNRotator/3992/Gallery/IMG_00091.JPG J/80 Nationals Day 1

J/80 Nationals Day 1

/Portals/0/EasyDNNRotator/3992/Gallery/1rsrnyc17june47611.jpg Harken June Regatta

Harken June Regatta

/Portals/0/EasyDNNRotator/3992/Gallery/J70_Euros_0011111.jpg J/70 Euros - Day 4

J/70 Euros - Day 4

Click to scroll previous 2017 Galleries
Our Commodore Karen Henderson-Williams was recently interviewed by Sasha Twining on BBC Radio Solent's H20 slot.
Karen was asked about her childhood and how she got into sailing with her parents, how she progressed from dinghies into keel boats and about her role in helping to develop youth sailing at the Club. She explained her current role as well as her stewardship of the Royal Southern as only the second lady Commodore in the Club's 179 year history. Karen also discussed her aims and objectives for the Club going forward. It's a great listen, and we hope you enjoy it.

The 'Southern' Latest


Member Club
International Council
of Yacht Clubs

Founder Member
Solent Cruising
Racing Association

RYA Training Centre
Accredited Club
RYA Champion Club
Recognising clubs
with a commitment
to youth sailing
Royal Southern Yacht Club Rope Walk Hamble Southampton SO31 4HB       Contact & Maps
Royal Southern Yacht Club is a trading name of Royal Southern Yacht Club Ltd Registered in England Reg: 05372495