The sun shone and the crowds came to the May Day celebration at South Kyme on the Sleaford Navigation. The boat gathering attracted twenty-two boats from around the inland waterways but this year the celebrations in the village were on a grander scale than ever before and Sunday saw thousands of visitors make their way to the field near the historic Kyme Tower. Access to the area was made possible by kind permission of Simon Lamyman and the tower provided a wonderful backdrop for the re-enactments of the Knights of Skirbeck, medieval tents and stalls and the demonstrations by the Northcote Heavy Horse Centre.
The display in the church of wedding dresses worn over the years by local brides proved very popular on this Royal Wedding weekend and costumes of a different kind were on show on the many entries for the best scarecrow competition. I have to say that judging this is getting to be more and more difficult so I asked Sue Sowerby and Beth Line for their help in making a decision. Finally we agreed that a very athletically posed cricketer with his little yellow plastic friend “Out for a duck!” had to win first place but overall the standard of entries was very high indeed and all were to be congratulated.
Over 200 yellow plastic ducks took part in a race on the river but they were in grave danger of falling foul of the one drawback of the weekend, high wind. Instead of going downstream as might be expected, the wind actually propelled them upstream.
The boaters’ church service this year was taken by Rev. Molly Langridge whose father Vivian Bird was the author of a well known waterway related book, “By Lock and Pound”. Molly’s lifelong love of waterways shone throughout the service and her reminiscences certainly made the packed congregation smile.
The whole weekend was packed with activity and the enthusiasm of the village and Parish Council was infectious. South Kyme entered and won the Best Kept Village Competition for the first time last year and there is real pride in that achievement. They very much want the Navigation Trust to be part of their celebrations and welcome the visiting boats and their crews to the village. Together we are now looking at ways of improving access to the water for all users and considering the provision of a turning point or “winding hole” in the village to make South Kyme a viable weekend destination for boaters. Plans have already started for next year’s celebrations so watch this space!