South West Herts Narrowboat Project

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Villager News title image

Articles in the local Villager News magazine
[written by one of our volunteers].

August 2012

Apologies for missing my deadline last month: a family emergency 'up north' took precedence.

Did you see Little Dick's Folly in the Olympics, acting as a jump in the equestrian cross country? Well, I for one thought it was, but as more horses leapt over the barge, it was clear to read the name 'Suepurr'. Whether LDF or Suepurr it was great to see our heritage represented in the design of the course. Dick's Folly did go down to London in June, acting as the support vessel for the sponsored canoe marathon from our base at Hunton Bridge to Camden, undertaken by Dave Cooper whose efforts have raised funds for the Project and The Pirates Club at Camden Lock.

The New Boat
The plans for the new boat are now well advanced as is the actual construction. In June Starline Marine, the company that refitted Dick's Folly, sent the following message to the committee: "The shell of the boat is complete and the priming and blacking are almost finished. The lining materials, windows and other items are on site ready to be fitted." It is hoped the boat will be in service towards the end of 2012.

Having two boats means in effect, we have a fleet and with a fleet comes the responsibility of names which not only link to the Project but reflect the origin of the individual boat. Our choice of names will come as no surprise.

Pickle's Folly is named in memory of Graham Pickett, whose bequest has made this boat possible. She is 60 feet long and is designed to accommodate a wheelchair user. The rear deck is large enough to accommodate a wheelchair and the hydraulic lift will carry anyone with mobility difficulties into the cabin. The dinette beyond the galley can seat five with space for a wheelchair at the side. The first sleeping cabin is flexible enough to provide bunks for one to four. With one bunk, there is sufficient space for a wheelchair, which can access the wetroom shower and toilet next door. Four fixed berths are in the next cabin, followed by a second wetroom shower and toilet. The forward saloon can seat six around a removable table which can be converted into 2 / 4 berths if required. The galley is equipped with a four burner stove with grill and oven, an electric fridge and hot and cold running water. [See this page for a plan and more details.

A to Z of maintenance to complete.
Continuing unmasking the unsung champions who are the mainstay of the Project and the A to Z of tasks that they do. The growing list can be seen on this page.

A is for Albert's Two, the working boater's term for the two Cassiobury Park locks numbers 75 and 76, which Dick's Folly volunteers regularly open and close.

E is for Engine; a special marine one drives Dick's Folly along the canal.

F is for Fender, which we lost on our first trip out after the refurbishment in 2011, and cost 80 to replace.

G is for Graham Pickett. The Project became the main beneficiary of this local man's estate, which, as well as paying for the refurbishment of Dick's Folly, will allow the Project to lay down a new boat.

H has to be for Harry who has acted as our mascot in the carnival parades and assisted in putting up posters for the ALWAC concerts.

H is also for Hunton Bridge. Our base is found [by road] on Old Mill Lane, and [by canal] we are at the bottom of the river race at Hunton Bridge lock.

M is for Maintenance, whether technical or general cleaning and polishing. All these tasks are undertaken by volunteers.

X is for (E)Xtra Crew, the third volunteer accompanying the two qualified helms persons.

Angi Naylor
Project Volunteer


Dick's Folly narrowboat.


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Registered Charity No. 299973.