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End of an Era

End of an Era
 
And so it was, amidst cake munching and toast giving that the lift bridge at the BCLM was ceremoniously lifted, 'Swallow' slipped her moorings to glide beneath it to great cheers and horn blowing from the museum volunteers and visitors, sending her off to Ellesmere Port where her new owners would take custody of her.
 
(Many thanks to all the museum staff, volunteers and visitors  that made our stay at the museum so memorable over the years, special mention of Becky and Dave who arranged the farewell).
 
Robert and I set off to Wolverhampton to meet skipper and owner (at least for a few more days) David Lowe who was arriving by train.
At the top of the 21 locks as arranged were friends Heather and Gordon and Dave Newell to help us down the locks, as we had arrived early we continued down the locks and owner David caught up with us part way down bringing another friend and volunteer John Smallwood (some of his photos are reproduced here).
 
Heather and Gordon travelled with us to Autherley Junction where they bid us goodbye, John departed at Brewood and Dave Newell stayed with us to Wheaton Aston, where Becky from the BCLM lives and who came out to wave us on.
 
Robert, David and I (3 men and a boat) continued our journey, we planned to reach Nantwich by Wednesday lunchtime as Robert was leaving us there to catch a train home. We managed to make the deadline thanks to Terry Gurd's help with locks at Tyrley and  together with CRT volunteers Derek and Allen at Audlem.
 
We saw Robert to his train and then there were two!
 
Strange noises from the alternator developed to a loud screech shortly after. Removing the belt drive silenced that and allowed us to reach 'The Cheshire Cat' by Thursday morning where 2 more volunteers and friends Jim and Jason joined us. David rang local engineer and long time friend Chas Hardern who came out to us. While we had lunch in 'The Cheshire Cat' Chas supplied and fitted a new alternator which meant that we lost no time at all on the trip (well done Chas).
 
Jason and Jim had to leave us at the end of Thursday. David and I continued to Ellesmere Port on Friday without further problems.
 
So you can see that 'Swallow' has many friends (those mentioned are but a few), without whose help it would have been more difficult to attend so many events.
 
Many thanks to everyone who have helped to make the voyages of 'Swallow' possible over so many years. Special thanks to our welsh support boat, you know who you are.
 
And so we come to Easter Sunday 2019 :- 
 
Excitement as the champagne flowed with good wishes for Tony and Sarah Seddon and family as they take custody of 'Swallow'.
 
Mixed emotions for David and myself as 'Swallow' sails out of Ellesmere Port without us.
 
 
Not so much the end of an era, more the start of a new one
 
Bon Voyage 'Swallow'
 
 
Admin Snippet:-
 
(probably my last)
 

Thank You David
 
 
 
 
END OF AN ERA

 
 
It was with mixed emotions that I handed over the keys of ‘Swallow’ to her new owners on Easter Sunday at Ellesmere Port.  It’s been a great privilege, pleasure (and, at times, an adventure!) to have been involved with ‘Swallow’ for some twenty years (from 1999, then as owner from December 2001). 
 
‘Swallow’ has travelled over much of the UK’s interconnected inland waterway system:  from the Leeds & Liverpool, Rochdale and Chesterfield canals in the north to the Kennet & Avon, and Lee Navigation in the south, including the tidal waters of the Rivers Thames, Mersey and Trent, and the Manchester Ship Canal.   We’ve had immense pleasure in welcoming visitors, young and old, to ‘Swallow’ whether at major events or on trips or just tied up somewhere.  It’s been great to see some of the youngsters who boated with us go on to own a boat of their own or just become canal enthusiasts, thus helping to ensure a future for the waterways. 
 
None of this would have been possible without the enthusiastic support of many friends, too numerous to mention other than ‘Chief Engineer’  Steve, famous for his breakfasts (and stories!).  Steve had taken ‘Swallow’ into his own heart and done so much to keep her active, not just on the longer trips but also very much around his beloved Black Country.   Thanks too to the Black Country Living Museum for readily providing a secure and safe mooring each winter. 
 
For my part I own another historic narrow boat,  ‘Apollo’,  which is nearing the end of a very long restoration, and which will now need my time and attention, and while sad to part with ‘Swallow’ (for this reason)  I am sure her new owners, Tony and Sarah Seddon and daughters,  will be ideal custodians (for that is what we are) of ‘Swallow’ as they have all the necessary skills and enthusiasm. I am sure we will continue to see (and enjoy) ‘Swallow’ as she continues to attend events and gatherings, based, most appropriately, where she was built – at Yarwoods Basin on the River Weaver, Northwich.

 
 
 
DAVID LOWE
 
Easter 2019
 

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