Ilkeston - Festival of Water
w/e 03 September 2017
All of this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

Festival of Water, Gallows Inn

Question: How do you fit a three day Bank Holiday Festival into about a dozen images? Answer: With difficulty - but hopefully the selection from The Inland Waterway's Festival of Water will give a flavour of the event which was held on the Erewash Canal and adjacent Gallows Inn Playing Field. Aided by three days of really good weather, the people of Ilkeston turned out in force to support the event over the weekend.

Busy Towpath

The Gallows Inn certainly benefited from an increased trade (see title image) but we followed the "To The Boats" sign on the opposite side of Nottingham Road to walk along the towpath where about 120 narrow boats were moored two abreast.

Many of the boats as well as being beautifully painted and decorated were sporting strings of colourful bunting.

There were at least three boats showing "Boaters Christian Fellowship" banners and we were invited on board this one name "Kew". The notice board on the towpath was full of information about this type of boat which was designed for utility with a fibre glass top leading to this type of boat being known as "Blue Tops". The"Kew" was purchased by the present owners in 1964, can sleep up to 10 people and although modified and converted, still maintains its original look as far as possible. The notice on the towpath also advertised a Sunday service of Holy Communion at 8.30am in the Entertainments Marquee and a Songs of Praise at 3.00pm on the cricket pitch.

As we walked along the towpath, snapping merrily away as we passed the boats, a gentleman's head appeared just as I was about to take this one. He then bobbed down when he saw me but put his head up again as I took the photo. The name of the adjacent boat seemed quite apt! We then spent a few minutes talking to him about the assembly and dispersal of all the boats as they obviously couldn't all arrive and leave at the same time. The event ran from Saturday until Monday and as it takes about 15 minutes to pass through the locks it obviously had to be organised like a military operation. He told us he had a slot to leave at 10.15am on Tuesday morning.
Narrow Boats

The distance between Gallows Inn Lock and Hallam Fields Lock is just over three quarters of a mile so as most of the boats were double parked, nose to tail they would have stretched for about a mile and a half. This is the view looking back from Hallam Fields Lock.

As we walked along the line of boats, we noticed several of them had dogs on board but were surprised to see one with a kitten. His name is Button and wearing a harness to keep him from wandering off among the crowd, he seemed quite content to adopt the position of ship's parrot and sit on his owner's shoulder. When we got onto the playing field we found another lady also with an animal around her neck. On a stall with a lot of rescued exotic pets, she was wearing a corn snake. Personally I'd prefer the kitten.
Festival T-Shirts

Another stall had birds of prey on display and another was selling T-Shirts printed with a picture of the Gallows Inn, the Lock and with words to commemorate the Festival of Water in Ilkeston 2017.

There were more stalls and attractions including one selling books, maps and guides, another where you could enrol to learn sign writing, yet another for boat painting and the Waterway Recovery Group had a mini-digger that children could learn to operate. Of course there were many more including a number of food outlets and a bar for the convenience of boaters and the general public alike and while we were there, a boat horse called Shreck was being led round.
Musical Entertainment

Entertainment was provided throughout the weekend in a large marquee with a variety of musical acts and outside there were roundabouts for the children. All in all there was a real carnival atmosphere.

More music was provided by Chucklefoot the One Man Band and in the background you can see a single decker bus next to a double decker - part of a collection of vintage vehicles. If there's one down side to the event it's that next year the Festival will be held in St Neots in Cambridgeshire. Let's hope it's not too long before it returns to Derbyshire and Ilkeston in particular.

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