Cheese boat gets cheese fly out of pickle!

On Monday 31st July, after a very successful weekend at the Audlem Festival of Transport, the restored S U fly-boat Saturn set off bound for the Ellesmere Festival on August 12th and 13th. She was under tow by ex Cowburn and Cowpar motorboat Swan and Mary Gibby at the helm was looking forward to revisiting the Welsh Cut which  had last travelled in 2014.

Fly boat SaturnAll went well as far as Hurleston when, to the dismay of all present, Swan could not get fully into the notoriously narrow bottom lock. An attempt was made to reverse Swan into the lock, something which other narrowboats had found effective in the past, but this also was unsuccessful. Thus Swan became the latest victim of no longer being able to navigate the Welsh, and had to abandon Saturn. CRT were informed and later, after other other traditional narrowboats were also unable to enter the bottom lock, the lock was closed for a morning to allow an inspection to investigate the continuing movement of the lock chamber walls.

Saturn was duly bowhauled up the Hurleston flight and moored at the top while the crew pondered their options. The first option considered was seeing if Saturn’s usual Llangollen tug, Greenman, could make an emergency run down from Ellesmere to collect her, but this would not going to be be possible for about a week.

Then Saturn had an amazing stroke of good fortune. Just as the crew were about to close up Saturn for the day who should be passing but modern day cheese boat SQII of the Borders Cheese Carrying Company run by Adrian Pye and Sue Cameron who were bound for Chirk. After a chat with Adrian & Sue it transpired that they were very keen to take on the towing of Saturn and take us all the way to Ellesmere. An unusual feature of SQII is that it is propelled by an electric motor which makes for almost silent running, not unlike the wonderful experience of being horse drawn!

Saturn under tow

After an overnight stop at Wrenbury Saturn arrived safely in Ellesmere early on Tuesday evening, the trip having been happily enjoyed by all. So could this be a first, a cheese boat pulling a cheese fly out of a pickle!

Thank you Adrian and Sue, who we are pleased to report have now become Saturn Society members!

Thanks to Bob Jervis and the Shropshire Union Fly-Boat Restoration Society for this report and photos.

All materials and images © Canal Junction Ltd. Dalton House, 35 Chester St, Wrexham LL13 8AH. No unauthorised reproduction.

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