THE Wilts and Berks Canal Trust’s Swindon-based pleasure cruiser has gone on a working holiday to Melksham.
Dragonfly has carried visitors along the trust’s restored section of the historic canal since being officially named by the Duchess of Cornwall in 2010.
Yesterday the 12-passenger vessel was carefully lifted from the canal and loaded onto a lorry to begin a journey to the Avon at Melksham.
There she will take part in a river festival to promote the Melksham section of the canal and mark the centenary of the parliamentary Act of Abandonment which closed the Wilts and Berks. The trust is dedicated to restoring the waterway.
Sue Paine, the organisation’s boat manager, said: “This is only the third time she’s been out of the water.
“A couple of years ago she went to Stroud River Festival, and she went to the Mini plant and had a wheelchair lift fitted.
“But the canal at Swindon is her mooring place.”
The Melksham River Festival will be held over the weekend of September 6 and 7, although Dragonfly will be taking passengers on trips between Friday, August 29 and Monday, September 8.
Sue added: “On the weekend of the sixth and seventh the river will be more hectic. There will be canoes, steamboats and wilderness boats.”
Wilderness boats are compact narrowboats which can be towed by a car. These vessels and the steamboat will take part in ‘cruisepasts,’ while the canoeists will stage races and demonstrations.
Dragonfly will be lifted from the water once more on the Wednesday following the festival, ready for the journey back to Swindon and her home stretch of restored canal, which lies between Kingshill to the new Waitrose supermarket.
The trust’s future plans include a landing stage near the store, meaning it will be able to pick up and deposit passengers there.
The trust is in need of volunteer skippers and crew for Dragonfly, and further information can be found on its website – wbct.org.uk