Templar's Firs Slipway upgrade, 1996

JA TF slipwayAfter the Open Day in 1995, the next focus was on the 'Pioneer Trail-Boat Rally' on 13-14th July 1996. Craft up to 24 feet in length would need easy access, and this called for a concrete slipway, as seen here in early Spring 1996. The two-wheeled machine in the background is a 'Smalley' excavator, nearing the end of its working life. With just two wheels, it would only limp forward and so it was better if left stationary.

While the slipway was being built, a team worked on a wooden boat that had been left in a farmer's field for some years. Despite its poor condition, it was brought back to life to become the trip-boat for the Wootton Bassett branch, and was named 'Pioneer'. Its first outing was as a float in the town's Carnival procession in May.

Subsequently, boat-trips took place at weekends during the summer.

JA Pioneer at TF 1JA Pioneer at TF 2JA Pioneer at TF 3RonR TF Slipway 1996 from west




The slipway was further upgraded in early 1998, to cater for craft the size of Vic Miller's new Sea-Otter narrowboat 'Nonsuch'.