2010 Event Reports (click to see 2009 event reports)

2010 was another very good year for Saturn, Saturnís success is very much dependent on all the hard work and time put in by our volunteers. Thank you to everyone for all your help and support.

Initially we hadnít planned on taking Saturn to Ellesmere Port for Easter for several reasons, but mainly because Easter was so early. Then at the last minute John and Sue Yates persuaded us to make the journey, many thanks to all the volunteers who at the 11th hour jumped into action. This involved bringing Saturn up from Aston on the Mongomery, then loading her at Ellesmere. Every winter everything is removed from Saturn, all the equipment from the cabin and hold and all the dummy cargo that helps Saturn look the part, this activity of loading Saturn takes a good half day. Thanks to Tony Lewery and all the volunteers for making this happen and for taking Saturn to Hurleston, John and Sue Yates then picked up the tow with Buckden and took Saturn to Ellesmere Port.

Saturn is always made very welcome at Ellesmere Port and thanks to everyone who took the time to show her off to the public and looked after her. It is extremely important to open and air her cabin, no boat likes to be just shut up and left. From Ellesmere Port Saturn went back to the Llangollen Canal for an intensive week of school visits.

Sue Yates working with Piers Warburton put together a very impressive programme, This started with Saturn being horse-drawn from Llangollen to Chain Bridge and the feeder (the very end of the Llangollen) this was the first time for very many years that a full length craft had been to the very end. The schools visits then started with two days at Llangollen then going on to Trevor and Chirk, this all took a fair amount of organisation which included moving the boats between locations after the school visits had finished. In that week over 200 children visited Saturn , thanks to Sue Yates and Piers for making this possible and to Howard Griffiths for organising the locations and making sure that there was shelter in case it rained. Thanks to everyone who helped with the school visits and all the boat movement, this is a high profile area now that this section of canal is a World Heritage Site and a very good area for Saturn to work. The schools were very positive about their visits to Saturn so we hope to make a return to the area in the near future.

From the Llangollen Saturn had been invited to spend a week at the Lionís Salt Works as part of the Northwich Heritage week, fortunately this was on route to next venue. The Heritage week was not well publicised and it was all very last minute, we did have visitors, but not the numbers we would have expected also not helped by the bad weather. From the Lionís Salt Works Saturn then went to Middlewich, Saturn is a regular at Middlewich and it does work well for her. We did three days of school visits, this was our third year and year on year it has got better, this event was organised by Kerry Fletcher (Middlewich Vision) and Sue Yates. The timing was ideal as Saturn then stays on for the week-end and Middlewich Boat and Folk, as usual Saturn was on Town Wharf for this event with Buckden, Shad, Gifford and Sweden, Town Wharf was the centre of the events so lots of public interest and the weather was on our side.

Saturn never has long to sit about after Middlewich, Buckden and Saturn set off for Chester to attend the Tom Rolt celebrations. Unfortunately this rally was on the same week-end as the Braunston Historic Boat Gathering, but despite that it was a well attended and an enjoyable week-end, Saturn had a good spot and was well supported. It is so good to see so much activity in the Basin at Chester and this end of the Shroppie does deserve more support.

From the time Saturn left the Llangollen Canal, Saturn had many new tow boats, it is always good to give people new experiences and a chance to build up some new skills, thanks to everyone and for the use of their boats for towing. From Chester John and Sue Yates with Buckden took Saturn back to Ellesmere Port for several weeks until Buckden and Saturn went up the Ship Canal and onto the River Weaver for a Volunteer week-end at Anderton. Anderton is another good location for Saturn as she is normally tied immediately below the Lift in full sight of all the visitors. The week-end went well for us with many visitors and on the Sunday we even had queues waiting to see in the cabin, as a whole coach load arrived all at once. It was lucky BW supplied refreshments as we certainly earned them! The real bonus of the week-end was being invited to bring Saturn back for a schools week in June 2011, this is now in the planning stage.

Thea then took Saturn from Anderton to Hurleston, were Arwen took over and took Saturn up for the Maesbury Festival, the high light of this event was horse boating Saturn on the section of the Montgomery Canal from Crofts Mill Lift Bridge to Redwith Bridge. A barrow of boulders was transported on Saturn for the section beyond Redwith Bridge which is at present being restored, although it was a very short trip we had huge amounts of interest with people walking with the boat and horse. The event at Maesbury is only small, but we always have plenty of interest.
Iain and Clair with Plover then took Saturn to Whichurch, thanks to Iain and Clair for acting as tow boat on this leg of the journey. Everyone who attended Whitchurch enjoyed the event, but unfortunately the weather was terrible and there was very little public support. It does make you realise how much time and effort goes into organising these events no matter how small and how dependent they are on public participation to make them succeed. Tony Lewery arrived at Whitchurch to take Saturn up to Trevor with the Greenman.

This was a rather late invitation for Saturn, but we all felt that it was important to attend, so thanks to everyone for volunteering. This was just a one day event as part of the Heritage Site celebrations aimed at the local public, a bonus for Saturn we were paid an attendance fee, which did make it even more worth while. It was a very cold day but fine and sunny, although it wasnít heaving with public it was well attended and as Saturn was the only boat on display there was plenty of interest including a visit from the Mayor. Although it was a lot of volunteer time to take Saturn to Trevor from Whitchurch we all felt it had been worth while.

Saturn then went back to Ellesmere and we had a work party to empty her cabin and hold for winter. Saturn has been tied at Aston on the Montomery all winter and has survived the hard winter, thanks to Tony Lewery for giving her the TLC over this time, keeping her pumped out airing the cabin and lighting the stove.

Thanks to Sue Yates for all her hard work during the year organising all the school events and liaising with the co-ordinators, teachers and schools. Saturn is getting a well earned reputation for her delivery of education and we know the schools enjoy it, they come back for more. But we do need more volunteers.

As you can see 2010 was a very busy year only made possible by all the volunteers, there is already plenty of interest for 2011, if you would like to help whether with education, boating or giving Saturn some TLC. If you know of anyone else that may like to come and help, we will give guidance and training as necessary, please contact myself or one of the committee.



The Shropshire Union Fly Boat Project c/o 7 Rydal Drive, Hale Barns, Altrincham WA15 8TE
email info@saturnflyboat.org.uk