Craning in for Spring!

Despite some recent hard frosts, spring has officially arrived at the marina, with the annual craning in of the cruisers that were stored on land over winter now complete.

Once again MJT Crane Hire Ltd – headed by the ever-reliable Barry Tuckey – was very efficient in getting all the boats back in the water in just a few hours and it’s great to see so many berths occupied once again.

With Covid now more-or-less behind us (fingers crossed!), we’re looking forward to a great season and to welcoming our moorers, regular slipway users and some new faces to Lechlade Marina over the coming months. With a bit of luck, we’ll have plenty of sunny days for you all to enjoy our little part of the Thames at its very best.


Hosting the Electric Boat Association

In mid-September, we were delighted to host a meeting of the Electric Boat Association for two days on the water – a welcome outing for all, after 18 months of hopping in and out of lockdown.

Some members brought their boats – three of which are based here at the marina – and a few simply arrived by car and hitched a ride aboard with friends old and new. The boats that arrived on trailers used our slipway and everyone was afloat by the afternoon of Wednesday 15th, for a short trip down the river in the glorious sunshine.

Monique from Monique’s Country Kitchen in Lechlade supplied an excellent cream tea back at the marina and then the overnighters moved on to the New Inn Hotel in town, where, we are reliably informed, the beer and wine flowed long into the evening!

The next morning, members set off at 10:30 sharp for around a 6km sail down the Thames to the lunch destination, The Plough Inn at Kelmscott. The weather started off a little hazy, but once everyone was happily settled in The Plough’s beer garden, the sun burned through and made for a beautiful cruise back to the marina.

The meeting was rounded off by more tea and cake, and a club awards ceremony where the winners – in categories that included ‘Most Relaxed Driving Position’! – were each rewarded with a bottle of 2016 St Emilion. (We can confirm the quality, having been awarded Best Marina 😊)

As members of the EBA ourselves, we thoroughly enjoyed this long overdue get-together, which was unanimously voted a resounding success – roll on the next one!

(Thanks and credit to the EBA for the images.)

The new boating season gets underway

Spring has finally sprung in Lechlade and, for us, the new boating season has also begun, with the cruisers that were stored on land over the winter now back in the water.

The craning operation took place on a bitterly cold but thankfully dry Saturday at the start of April, with the team from MJT Crane Hire Ltd once again on site. Barry Tuckey and his two ‘banks-women’ – his daughter, Lisa, and regular assistant, Sharon – arrived with their 60-tonne crane just before 9am and, with the help of some of the boat owners, all 10 cruisers were safely transferred to their berths in just two and a half hours.

Covid restrictions over the last year meant that many owners didn’t feel it was worth putting their boats back in the water last spring, so most of the ones craned in this year had been on dry land for nearly 18 months. With the end of the pandemic now hopefully in sight, it’s lovely to have the marina looking so full once again.

Thanks to Barry, Lisa, Sharon and all our socially distanced owner/helpers for a job very well done. We’re now keeping everything crossed for some fine weather and looking forward to a busy summer.

New landscaping at the marina

A huge benefit of much the restoration work we’ve done at the marina over the past few years has been the positive impact on the natural environment. Clearing the site, cutting back overgrown shrubs, removing diseased trees and opening up the landscape has resulted in healthy flora thriving and a huge increase in the amount of wildlife in the marina. We’ve now got a really inviting habitat for fish, water voles, kingfishers, swans and ducks – and the populations keep growing!

Our most recent investment has been in hedging, to replace some of the trees that had to be removed and which will also provide additional shelter and food for our wildlife. Kingsdown Nurseries supplied us with a total of 270 whips, which we’ve managed to get in the ground just in time for a spring growth spurt.

We’ve put in a 12m beech hedge along one edge of the car park and then along the western boundary, running from the river bank back into the marina, we’ve planted a 42m mix of shrubs – hawthorn, cherry plum, privet, hazel, pear and beech. Once they’ve matured, they should provide excellent privacy and protection, as well as nesting for birds, blossom for bees and plenty of foraging opportunities for smaller mammals.

The lockdowns over the last year have certainly given us the opportunity to get things done more quickly than we otherwise could have under normal business conditions. But now that restrictions are about to start easing, we’re very much looking forward to welcoming everyone back over the coming months to enjoy our beautiful marina once again.

Lechlade Marina wins the FLBC New Business award!

This weekend, the Fairford & Lechlade Business Club held the ceremony for its annual business awards. Usually, it’s a super black-tie dinner where everyone can mingle freely; this year, understandably, had to be a strictly online affair.

The Barn Theatre in Cirencester hosted the event, where Helen Webb, Chair of the FLBC, announced this year’s finalists and winners…

…and we’re delighted to say that Lechlade Marina won New Business of the Year!

The judges commented:

“Ian & Jules have quickly restored Lechlade Marina that had fallen into such disrepair over the past few years. The neglect has all been wiped away and it is now a lovely part of the Thames again, with a waiting list for boat moorings.

Not only have they brought about a positive change to the marina and the surrounding area, but have also immersed themselves in the local community, joining the Steering Group for the Business Club, the River User Group for the Upper Thames, as well as sitting on Lechlade town council.

The judges had a huge amount of respect for what has been achieved as a newer business in just two years. Well done Ian & Jules and Lechlade Marina.”

This kind of recognition reassures us that all the hard work we’ve put in over the past couple of years has been utterly worthwhile. Although there is still – and always will be – work to do, we’re very pleased with what we’ve been able to accomplish in a relatively short period and we’re incredibly grateful to the first-class contractors and suppliers that have done the more specialist work, as well as all our moorers that have helped out. Together, we’ve been able to completely turn the marina around, from a run-down facility with a bad reputation into something that’s a real benefit to the town.

A huge thank you to everyone who has helped us and to Fairford & Lechlade Business Club for giving us the award.

You can watch the video of the online awards ceremony via Facebook – our category runs from timecode 10:33 to 12:46.

Charity begins at Lechlade

This morning we saw off the latest team to tackle the 128 miles of the Thames from Lechlade to London – by pedalo!

Workmates, Dan, Dom, Josh & Tom, are raising money for Age UK and attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the journey.

This had originally been due to take place back in June, at which point the record (set in 2018) stood at 4 days, 12 hours, 49 minutes & 17 seconds. But all the restrictions around the coronavirus meant they had to reschedule and, in the meantime, another team pipped them to the starting post.

So, the question is, will they break the world record that’s just been set by Alex Gibson (former GB decathlete, who was diagnosed with MND in 2018), Andy Long, Alun Thomas and Joel Reid? They made the same journey in 2 days, 15 hours, 2 minutes & 46 seconds at the end of August and have raised more than £14,000 so far for Challenging MND. This current team’s goal is to get to the finish line in under 2 days 12 hours!

You can follow Dan & the team’s progress on Instagram and support them via their charity page on JustGiving.

**UPDATE – 20th September**

Huge congratulations to Dan and his team, who completed the pedalo challenge in 2 days, 10 hours & 15 minutes – a new record!

Alex & team
Dan & team