Canal Boat - - News -

The lit­tle-known and sel­dom-vis­ited Dart­ford Creek played host to the in­au­gu­ral Dart­ford Nau­ti­cal Fes­ti­val on Sun­day 27 May at Dart­ford Lock. Ac­tiv­i­ties cen­tred around the 1899 Thames sail­ing barge

Dec­ima, joined by a flotilla of six nar­row­boats who formed part of the St Pan­cras Cruis­ing Club Five Creeks Cruise, plus kayaks and other small boats.

On land the West Hill Mor­ris Dancers danced from the Huf­flers’ Arms along the river bank, and then in the hold of the sail­ing barge. The af­ter­noon’s mu­si­cal fes­tiv­i­ties con­tin­ued with a sea shanty sung by Jim Radford who as a young sea­man crewed on a tug which helped build the ‘Mul­berry Har­bour’ (partly built in the dry dock on the west bank of Dart­ford Creek) for the Nor­mandy in­va­sion in World War 2. This was fol­lowed by an ex­cel­lent af­ter­noon and evening of folk singers and mu­si­cians from South East Lon­don, en­joyed by many vis­i­tors in­clud­ing the mayor and may­oress of Dart­ford and the leader of Dart­ford Coun­cil, Cllr Jeremy Kite.

The nar­row­boats re­mained at Dart­ford Lock for the re­main­der of the week be­fore con­tin­u­ing to Bark­ing Creek. Dur­ing the week they also vis­ited Cray­ford Creek and gave coun­cil­lors and plan­ning of­fi­cials from Bex­ley coun­cil a tour of the Cray­ford Creek basins and a cruise back to Dart­ford lock.

The event was made pos­si­ble by the hard work of the vol­un­teers of the Dart­ford and Cray­ford Creek Restora­tion Trust who have done much to clear the lock and quay­side at Dart­ford and re­move ob­struc­tions to nav­i­ga­tion. See our restora­tion fea­ture on page 70 for the full story of the Dart­ford and Cray­ford creeks.

Top: En­ter­tain­ment from the deck of barge Dec­ima Above: Six nar­row­boats from the St Pan­cras con­voy spent a week in the dis­used lock af­ter the fes­ti­val

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