True to their word, and despite some unhelpful weather, the Basingstoke Canal Authority achieved re-opening of all the locks in time for Easter. Unfortunately at Dogmersfield, just east of Odiham, a landslip on 25th March means that the westernmost couple of miles of the restored canal remain isolated for the time being.
The planned gathering of boats to cruise the length of the canal was slightly smaller than expected owing to strong flow on the Thames, which prevented some intended participant boats from getting any nearer to the canal than Brentford. Fifteen boats completed the full cruise along the length of the canal, to celebrate the re-opening for the first time in five years. Following the substantial investment from Surrey and Hampshire County Councils, with more money to follow (a total of £4 million is being spent), the Basingstoke Canal is now is the best shape it has been for many years. This follows sustained lobbying and volunteer work parties by Basingstoke (formerly Surrey & Hants) Canal Society, IWA , WRG volunteers, and local boat clubs. The Easter flotilla of boats was led by Kathryn Dodington, Commodore of Byfleet Boat Club, IWA and Basingstoke Canal Society member. The canal remains open whilst water supplies last, and it is incumbent of boaters to show the Councils that their investment has been worthwhile by paying a visit. Further work is being undertaken at Deepcut Flight, and after the Easter holidays this will not fully reopen until 22nd April. (Photo by Martin Leech).
View more photos of the Basingstoke Canal reopening Easter cruise 2013