Knights of Windsor - Finlay Marshall

Endeavour with other of the ADLS fleet alongside at Windsor
Endeavour's trip to Windsor had a bit of mystery about it; we knew we and other Dunkirk little ships were privileged to be allowed to moor alongside Windsor Great Park and we were to receive a 'visitor' but, who?

Our mission was to entertain Windsor Knights with a picnic and trips on the river, something the ADLS had done before but no cockle boat had ever gone that far up river!

It meant a two day trip for us, leaving from Holehaven early in the morning. Having just endured 30 degree temperatures and sun for days, guess what? We got Endeavour weather; dull and cold with rough water all the way to London.

Our ‘genial’ skipper Paul, Colin Sains and I reached our mooring at Hampton Court where we dropped off Cameron McGregor, and the following day headed to our base at Staines ready for the last run to Windsor. Joined by Andy Wood we set off in blazing sunshine ready to meet our visitor. Moored with the ADLS fleet we raised the mast, dressed the boat overall with bunting to await our guests. These were Colonel Michael Harding and his wife, Annie. Just after noon a Range Rover appeared from the Castle bearing the Duke of Edinburgh and our ADLS honorary admiral, Prince Michael of Kent. They spent time chatting with crews and guests. The Duke had left hospital just two days before but was in fine form cracking jokes and shaking hands.

Once the royal party left we enjoyed a picnic lunch on the bank before cruising with the Knights for two hours. Colonel Harding persuaded Paul to let him helm Endeavour an experience he said had, "made my year and which I shall treasure".

By 4pm the event was over. This was the start of a busy few hours for Andy and I. We motored to Staines and dropped off Colin and Paul, carried on to Hampton Court where we arrived at just before midnight. Three hours sleep and off we went again, through the locks and back to the Estuary to raise the mast again to be back on our mooring by 3pm.

Exhausting, memorable and a privilege to be a part of a great event.

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