Summer Reunion 2017

Sunday 11th June 2017
Wey & Arun Canal
I am clearly biased, but as the current OCA President I have to say that the whole day was excellent. Great company, superb weather and a very pleasant Sunday lunch to finish.

Everyone was able to arrive on time at the canal centre in Loxwood for our 2 hour canal trip, a good start. It was great to see Brian Adams sporting his old school cap!
I had booked the Zachariah Keppel which is suitable for a maximum of 27 people! Derek Sturt kindly managed the booking activity, even on his holiday abroad, and after some fortunate late adjustments to the bookings we filled the boat exactly!

Our trip took us along the early established part of the canal, arguably the more picturesque section. We passed, through Brewhurst Lock (which shows the change in canal water level required to accommodate the Loxwood road bridge), under Brewhurst Lane bridge, through Baldwin’s Knob Lock then under Barnsill bridge to our turning point at the slipway at Roger Dimmick Lane.
Longer trips can continue over the Drungewick Aqueduct.
The trip was incident free, but we were all relaxed anyway as our OCA members included an Ex-Royal Naval Commodore, Paul Herington!

During the return journey the crew kindly gave us a talk about the history of the canal, at Baldwin’s Knob Lock. They also took a picture for us. This lock is a recently memorable place for me , more of that later!
On return, we drove up the road through Loxwood to the Sir Roger Tichborne pub at Alfold Bars. They had kindly laid out two long tables for us and most enjoyed the Sunday Roasts on offer.
All in all, a very agreeable day.

On another occasion a canal trip in the opposite direction under the Loxwood road might be interesting, showing some more recent lock completions and the famous Devil’s Hole Lock. This lock was officially opened by Colonel Paul Rutherford of the Canadian Army on account of the fact that during their time at Dunsfold Aerodrome in WW2 they had used the original lock for demolition practise!!!

Now back to Baldwin’s Knob Lock. I suspect what I am about to tell you represents an unexpected devotion to duty by any OCA president!!

The Tuesday before the trip was a very windy day and on the Wednesday I turned up as usual for my volunteering activities with the Mid Week Working Party (MWWP) at Dunsfold. On arrival I was diverted to Loxwood, as it had been reported there was a tree in the canal. One of the more interesting challenges for MWWP volunteers.

No one was sure where this tree was, but a dog walker, seeing me with my saw and loppers in hand, directed me to Baldwin’s Knob Lock. The tree was blocking the canal just before the lock. Fortunately, a little later, two more colleagues followed with a chain saw and winch. I had cleared the tow path and we cleared the canal by midday, but because of the precarious nature of another part of the tree we were obliged to fell that into the canal and start all over again. We got it all cleared by about 4.00pm. I left that afternoon hoping there would be no further problems between then and our planned Sunday trip!!

Watch this space for the 2018 Summer Reunion details.

David Picknell, President OCA.