Before trains, cars, trucks and airplanes existed, rivers were used for travel. River travel was often slow because speed of travel depended on the river current and manpower.
That all changed with the introduction of steam powered boats in the late 1700s and early 1800s. The steam-powered boats could travel at the astonishing speed of up to five miles per hour.
The Steam boating element of the Festival is organised by Chew Valley locals Kevin and Gillie Slater on behalf of the Steam Boat Association of Great Britain (SBA). The SBA mission is to foster and encourage steam boating and the building, development, preservation and restoration of steam boats and steam machinery.
Many of the boats attending are hand built by their owners and both beautifully engineered and elegantly designed.