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Sea Scout Log

Canal Cruise 2003

From KD1, Stourport Mid Severn and 5th Worcester Sea Scout Troops were mustered a few older and more experienced scouts for a 5 day cruise up the cut. Not much Sea up there, but plenty of Nautical Skills were learnt and put to the test.

Sparks, a converted BCN 70 foot Dreadnought whose hull was built in the 1890's, carried us with remarkably few mishaps. From her base in Stourport she was steered and navigated by each scout in turn around tight bends, through bridge holes and tunnels and up the many locks via Kidderminster and Kinver to Wolverhampton.

To reach the summit there's 21 locks within 3 miles. For planning purposes we're to allow 15 minutes per lock, 5 hours? But our crew were in fine form by then, 2 hours 5 minutes, 10 locks per hour! Just as well there was a pit stop at the top. There Sparks was filmed for 20 minutes for a BBC2 series on painted flowers, so some of you may see us on the box when it's shown sometime in 2004.

Our overnight moorings included some exotic spots: Pratt's Wharf where our dinghy rowing was tested, Swindon Village just beyond the Chippy, the Black Country Living Museum where all the scouts tried legging the boat, Merry Hell for the cinema and finally, once down through most of the locks, a quiet night in Kinver. Which only left a trip to the baths in Kidderminster to clean us up before returning home, much needed.

Seven Power Coxswain badges, 4 Nautical Skills Awards, 3 Basic Nautical Skills, the myriad of skills which lead to each. All of the scouts buzzing and a turning point for more than one. We'll just have a weekend of Pulling Awards this year, maybe two with the demand that's shown.

Activities Week 2002

Four days of thoroughly enjoyable wet water activities were held on Powell's Pool, Sutton Coldfield, for "scouts" (10 to 18 years) from 1st Kidderminster (KD1) and 5th Worcester Sea Scout Groups last August. Fortunately, apart from when the squall took a Rover into the golf course - well, apart from the tree getting in the way of the mast - we were blessed with warm muggy weather which was good for learning to sail and how to take charge of a pulling boat. Most of the Ventures had a go with the Avon too, figure of eight around the buoys, at speed!

John Barnett, our County Sailing Advisor, came on our last day to assess their sailing certificates which includes being able to row a dinghy. The six younger scouts (10 & 11 years) hadn't been taught that, but they certainly rowed him ashore in fine style in the Rover - his face was a picture I should have taken, 10 year old Natalie in charge.

For accommodation we had use of The Guardship, courtesy of 3rd Walsall Sea Scouts. They also lent us the two Rovers, one with sails, and an Avon while from Coventry came the two sailing dinghies, a Rib and two sailing instructors. Thanks are due to 3rd Walsall, Antony, Pete, John and Marj - mainly in the galley try as we might. Four days on a Battleship Grey barge anchored in the middle of a park in Birmingham. I didn't want to oversell it (did I mention the flight path?), it was great.


john@waterways.arachsys.com   Tel: 01299 825783 or 07939 000645