MORAY’S star turn in the water-borne celebrations of Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee - Atlantic Challenge Scotland’s Findhorn-based Moray gig Bien Trouve is en route to her date with royalty on the Thames.
Selected to represent Moray by the Lord Lieutenant of Moray Grenville Johnston, who led a rousing send-off for the vessel and her crew from the villagers of Findhorn and Kinloss, the Moray gig will be among over 1,000 small boats which will muster on the Thames on Sunday to escort The Queen’s barge along the river in a spectacular tribute to mark Her Majesty’s 60-year reign.
Elgin-based fuel supply company Gleaner Oils funded all of the fuel needed to transport the boat and its crew to London, giving the Moray gig crew their first tank full of fuel at Seapark Filling Station in Kinloss before the trek to London began.
Towed on its trailer behind a Land Rover Discovery on loan from Jaguar Land Rover UK, the boat headed south forn an overnight stop tomorrow (Thursday) at RAF Holton in Buckinghamshire.
From there the vessel will be taken to the team’s campsite base at Duke’s Meadows, home of the Thames Tradesmen’s Rowing Club, to meet up with rest of the crew.
“Five of us are travelling with the gig and the remainder of the crew is leaving later and travelling directly to the camp site,” said Moray gig cox Gary Hunt.
“It should all go very smoothly. Our preparations for the the event started way back in November and we went down in March to have a detailed look at the river, the pageant’s route and the details of where we had to be and when in relation to the other boats.”
On Friday, the Bien Trouve will be launched into the Thames on the flood tide, the trigger for final detailed preparations ahead of her royal date.
“We were facing a long day on Sunday, something like seven-and--a-half hours on the water starting at 10am ahead of the pageant’s start at 2.30pm and finishing at around 5.30pm,” said Mr Hunt.
“There will, no doubt, be a few nerves ahead of the start of the pageant itself on Sunday because none of us had ever been involved in an event of such size and involving so many boats of different types, which will make it vital that we held our position in the fleet from start to finish.
“Because of that, we’ll be rowing the Bien Trouve throughout the pageant because going under sail with so many other vessels in close proximity is just unfeasible.
“We’ve made sure our preparations have been thorough.
“The crew is fit after spending hours on the rowing machines over the winter and we’ve put many hours into practising our boat-handling drills, so we’re well prepared to play our part in a little bit of history.”