What a surprise!

Published: Tuesday, 28 May 2019

IT WAS way back in 2012 that we last visited Crick Boat Show.

Crick 2Seven years ago, having been rather disappointed with the 'same every year' appearance of the show, believing it had lost its appeal, we stopped going.

Improved tremendously

How wrong that was, and what a surprise, for the show has improved tremendously over the years with more stands, more boats and many other attractions to really make it the leading show of its kind in the country.

It was Monday, the last day of the event, that we attended and received the surprise, starting with the car park seemingly going on for ever, that was previously just the field off the road, now taking up that was the caravan park in bygone years, and even further, and around 10.30am it was filling rapidly.

BoatsMuch more professional feel

Entering the showground it was quickly realised that it had been extended and had a much more professional feel to it than when we last attended, with those missing from those past shows well made up by newcomers, giving a wide variety of interest.

As the main organisers Waterway World had already given a comprehensive list of the many exhibitors and activities at the show, and no doubt will feature the show itself in its future issue, so we are just going to give a few narrowboatworld impressions of what we saw and who we met in the short time we were present.

The boats

First, it has to be the boats, for after all it is a boat show, and from the first picture shown above taken in 2012 to the one taken on Monday, below it can be seen that there were certainly more boats, for in addition to those on the water there were still more throughout the the ground.

BoatsOtherThe vast difference from the past that in those days it was only narrowboats that were on display, but these have been completely taken over by wide beams, as can be seen. The picture on the right shows the row of them with white roofs.

One whole section was taken up with one builder—Collingwood, who we have to admit we had never heard off—displaying  wide beam after wide beam, of varied and unusual designs, with all of them having queues to inspect.

Do they realise?

No doubt driven by the urge for living on the water, the wider build giving so much more space and at the fraction of the cost of bricks and mortar. But one wonders if those many, taken up with the much telling of the 'well-being' of being by water really realise what it entails to actually live on a boat on it?

RodFor as we all are aware, some people take to it but others really do not, as perhaps shown by the many nearly new ones on the various sales jetties of many marinas.

Onboard facilities

Those wide beam boats are seen for their many onboard facilities, but many would-be live-aboards soon realise that cold winters can be a problem, depending where you are moored and we wonder how many seeing the advantage of a real flush toilet realise what is actually entailed.

Which brings us to our own marina of Sawley, part of the British Waterways Marinas group and its stand at the show, pictured above, with our long known associate Rod Grant—both of us being there knocking on 20 yearsobviously telling of its advantages, the knowledge of which he must have gained over so many years.

WhiteMillsWhite Mills Marina

Having a standing invitation to visit White Mills Marina on the Nene, we were pleased to see it had a stand at the show so took the opportunity to meet its people there, and being told the 141 berths marina is nearly full, helped by its regular Open Days, with one coming up on Sunday 23rd June.

Though only opened at Earls Barton in 2016, it has made great progress with more boater facilities including a boathouse that is open six days a week and includes a café, toilets, showers and disabled facilities.

The picture shows some of the staff from the marina, including ' a rather shy young thing'!

Waterways World

As we had the invitation from Waterways World, we of course had to call at its stand, and to Thomas's delight there was his old mate Andrew Denny, one of its editors, so between them they put the waterways to rights—which is a great problem these days!

Andrew DennyJan told of our problem in finding somewhere to cruise without a stoppage, telling Andrew we had plumbed for the Shroppie it being better looked after by the Shropshire Union Canal Society.

Andrew thought that the Macclesfield could be re-opened at last, and Thomas complained that it seems CaRT is no longer listing all its stoppages. So a great time was had by all at the expense of poor CART!

One thing however that Andrew was rather coy about was when rotten Thomas mentioned that circulation figures of Waterways World from a very healthy 16,612 in early 2008 had plummeted to 8,803 in early 2016 according to the Audit Bureau of Circulation and were now not even listed, so wanted to know what is was now.

Mind you it does have a internet presence so has joined the 'opposition'!

TowpathTalkTowpath Talk

Towpath Talk, another publication that now does both, was being rather neglected by the public, with one solitary fella giving away its 'hard copy' publication for free. with alas not many takers when we passed, even we refusing.

However, full marks for trying, and at least the fella was pleasant and courteous.

The internet publication of the title has had a few complaints recently for nearly all of its contents being Press Releases from Cart and the like, one calling it the 'Cart Courier'.

It has to have lots of regular contributors to succeed these days, that can only be built up over many years of existence.

AnglianDark and dismal

Though most exhibitors realised that their stands had to be welcoming, there was one waterways society that certainly did not, with a very a dark interior that alas was not very welcoming at all.

Two fellas sat down in corners that were anything but pleasant and courteous, showing absolutely no interest in the passing public whatsoever.

Number one rule

Perhaps they  should have taken a leaf out of Towpath Talk book and at least been welcoming to people instead of sat inside hiding and most likely chatting amongst themselves—the number one rule that you must not do when representing a society, or representing anything for that matter.

EnginesOne thing that is always at Crick Show is boat engines, but this time there was a noticeable additionelectric ones.

Clearing diesel engines

What with the London mayor intent upon clearing all the diesel engine boats from the capital's waters comes the need for an alternative, with the only one being electric.

How on earth it will be implemented is not known, though there are such as short run charity boats already in existence, but how to provide power for such as a broad beam, never mind a 15 tons narrowboat is anybody's guess.

And getting the power in the first place for a cruising boat hopefully will not rely on such as CaRT providing power points, for the solar panels on the roof cannot be relied on too much either, and there will be no using the diesel engine to charge the batteriesthere isn't one!

EatingGood for food

There is one thing about Crick Show, it does well for food, with not only a very good food court, with all variety of eats, but others scattered about the ground.

The food court itself has a very large area of tables and chairs provided, and was situated on solid flooring, for gone it seems are the days when all was just grass, with even the walkways now covered.

So the lesson of muddy walkways has been solved since we last visited, and what a difference it makes, as we well remember the rain of that past year, and the stumbling around the sodden walkways, that is now really a thing of the past.


But we must remember the purpose of the event is for the exhibitors to sell, and those selling outdoor clothes are a particular attraction, with the one in the picture doing quite well out of us.

Of course there is music, but this is of no interest to us, so no comments, for like many others we treat Crick as a boat show, for that is obviously what it is.

So there you are, Crick Show at its 20th year, and so it survives, and may it for many years to come.