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The Willow Trust Cream Tea Cruise
Saturday 4th August 2018

On a swelteringly hot, sunny August afternoon, what could be better than cruising on a canal, eating delicious food and watching the scenery go by?





That’s exactly what 25 of us did on Saturday 4th August, when we stepped aboard the Willow Trust’s boat ‘Leonard Matchan’, based at Saul Junction on the Gloucester & Sharpness Canal, for their Cream Tea Cruise.






The event had been talked about ever since we first met the Willow Trust last year, as they were the charity to benefit from that year’s Cotswold Caper. Then as the year turned, we were given a choice of dates and 4th August was chosen - who could have foreseen then how hot it would be!




After a brief introduction and safety talk by our skipper, we were off and everyone was grateful for the breeze as we cruised down the canal to Shepherd’s Patch near Slimbridge. In the sunshine, the scenery either side set the scene perfectly, with the Cotswold Hills on one side, the River Severn and Forest of Dean on the other and the glorious Gloucestershire countryside in between. Down at Shepherd’s Patch we even saw some pirates and other nautical figures, who were presumably about to sample the beer at The Tudor Arms.

Several members of our club had aspirations of being a Captain and were duly allowed to take charge of the helm in the wheelhouse, under the watchful eye of the skipper. Some even managed to get us between the abutments of the bridges over the canal without scraping the sides!

Then the serious part of the trip started with a range of plates laid out with all sorts of sandwiches, which just had to be sampled. Teas and coffees were also supplied.




Having just passed the bridge at Shepherd’s Patch, the boat was turned around and we headed back again. Tony managed this delicate operation and several of us were surprised how easily the boat turned in its own length, without using the bow thrusters.








It was then time to feast on the delicious array of cakes and scones brought out with yet more teas and coffees.










All too soon we were back at Saul Junction and it was time to bid farewell to the team that looked after so admirably and gave us all such a wonderful trip.






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