Puffing a-Wey 2021 gets the go ahead! w/e 9,10,11 July
SBA members will be delighted that the National Trust has approved initial plans for Puffing a-Wey to be held once again at Dapdune Wharf in central Guildford on the weekend 9th, 10th and 11th July.
This is a very exciting prospect since in this SBA 50th anniversary year there may not be as many steaming get-together opportunities as usual because of understandable Covid insecurities. However, in July, the National Trust is very generously offering us the opportunity to use their facilities (they actually own this navigation!) and even to camp on site as before, if we so wish. Furthermore, this rally is effectively a free one – a rare gift these days – the only charge being for the barbecue.
For those who don’t know it, Dapdune Wharf is a NT property, well-hidden behind the town’s cricket ground. It’s a little bit of rural riverside in the midst of busy Guildford. A lovely place, it was historically the administrative and boatbuilding centre when the Wey and Godalming Navigations were privately owned commercial waterways.
Are you a currently boatless SBA member? If so, would this linked event also appeal to you?
On Thursday 8th, we also have permission to mount a special day at Stoke Lock for people who want to explore steamboating: called ‘Get Your Feet Wet’ there will be three or four boats in attendance and some informed owners. Those who choose to come will pay a nominal sum (we’re suggesting £15) for a hands-on day that runs from basic description (‘how it works’) to ‘how to operate it’ from launch through flash-up to steaming on the river and haul out. We will be putting the word out on the steam networks and will impose a maximum take up of, say 20. It may not attract anyone at all, but it’ll be fascinating to see what happens!
Look out for the separate SBA event listing for further details and registration: first come first served!
There are, of course Covid-safe modifications we’ve had to make for ‘Get Your Feet Wet’ and the main event.
Outline programme for Puffing a-Wey
Friday – is Launch Day at Dapdune – with time, if you wish, for a bit of a steam up or down the river.
It’s important to be aware that only on Friday (9th) can we launch at Dapdune, when we have the full run of the boatyard and slip for the day. If you want to be at the event but can’t launch on Friday, it’s absolutely fine to arrive on Saturday but because canoes and other non-SBA people are using the Dapdune slip on that day Saturday arrivals must launch and store trailers at Stoke Lock (pictured left) in North Guildford. This is hardly a disadvantage as it’s only a short run up river to Dapdune (no locks) and the slip at Stoke also has a dead straight approach, is perfectly graded and ideal for bigger boats anyway.
Friday evening eating: we fend for ourselves. We’re slap in the middle of Guildford which has some great eating places.
Saturday: event day at Dapdune
The main day: we are asked to pootle around in the Dapdune and central Guildford area so we can be seen and provide atmosphere for visitors to the centre. This is a very small price to pay for the free facilities we are enjoying care of the NT. We won’t be permitted to take random visitors aboard, so our main role is simply to be ‘around’ and be seen while enjoying ourselves and the company of each other.
Saturday evening eating: We will have a barbecue at Dapdune – SBA and friends only this year, hopefully next year we will be fully back to normal and be able to meet up with NT volunteers as in previous years. Nevertheless, we’re rather hoping we will have the company of the acoustic bluegrass band ‘Grinch Mountain’ with us, as in 2019.
Sunday: go for a cruise to Godalming… if you wish!
Sunday is a free day to enjoy the river and haul out when you wish. If you want to, you can stay over until Monday and leave then.
Puffing a-Wey is a shared NT/SBA event so as we work up more detailed plans with our NT colleagues, we will share them with you.
So please register for the event so that Ian Bucknall and Mark Rudall will be able to share more details with you.