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Cuckoo named Dawn Rose

cuckoo1 The first new Cuckoo boat to be built for over 80 years was officially named at Worksop Water Day. Cllr Sybil Fielding, the Chair of Nottinghamshire County Council, presided over a ceremony that included saying some traditional verses, pouring beer and throwing a mirror into the canal.

This was the culmination of over a decade of planning, fund-raising and hard graft by a group of volunteers from the Chesterfield Canal Trust.

Cuckoo boats were unique to the Chesterfield Canal. They never had engines, being horse drawn right up to the end of commercial working in the 1950s. They had a mast in order to sail when they ventured onto the River Trent.

The last Cuckoo boat known to be in existence rotted away over 20 years ago. It was called Dawn. This gave the inspiration for the name of the new boat.

The actual building work started four years ago. It was led by David Bownes who worked on Cuckoo boats as a young man, so he was one of the very few people alive - possibly the only one - with real working knowledge of their construction.

The volunteers decided to do it the traditional way, so they used only hand tools. No power tools were used at any stage. Even the dead straight 25’ mast was carved out by hand. As the culmination of the naming ceremony, bunting was hoisted up the mast topped by a pennant bearing its name.


Worksop Water Day was organised by the East Midlands Waterways Partnership, the Canal & River Trust, Chesterfield Canal Trust, the Angling Trust, Focus on Young People in Bassetlaw and Bassetlaw District Council. It was supported by the Grafton Angling Association, Worksop & District Anglers Association, Pleasley Canoe Club and the Lock Keeper Pub.

Busy canal
It was very well attended, in fabulous weather, with lots of people taking boat trips, trying fishing or taking to the water in canoes. There were also several information stalls from the various organisations involved.