A few days ahead of Brigade Day in Fort Langley, a few locals were given a rare experience on the local water.
Five “lucky” passengers were taken on an 8.5-km sunset cruise around MacMillan and Brae Islands on Thursday.
What made the experience even more special was the mode of transportation, explained Bedford Rowing Society’s Brenda Sleightholme.
These folks, who won the excursion in an auction this spring, enjoyed their cruise in the Brenda A, a replica York boat named after a late Fort Langley volunteer and personality, Brenda Alberts.
“The guests replaced the usual cargo of beaver pelts and gold mining supplies,” Sleightholme said, explaining how the rowing society built the boat to carry on the legacy of the Hudson Bay Company boat builder Samuel Robertson.
“Robertson brought his boat building skills from the Orkneys in Scotland and is buried in the Fort Langley Cemetery,” she said, elaborating on the history.
The leisurely row around the island was part of the Memory Grove gala held at the Fort Langley Community Hall in April.
Memory Grove is a heritage tree project, which saw 17 horse chestnut trees, two western red cedars, and 11 grand firs planted on the Salmon River Trail between the Fort-to-Fort Trail and Billy Brown Road.
The Bedford Rowing Society’s sunset cruise raised $7,500 during the live auction, from three bidders.
The prize included music on the dock at Lelem’s, provided by Karla Sax, light refreshments provided by JD Farms and artfully arranged on the boat by Brenda Smith and Nicole Dehnke, and the escorted trip by Bedford Rowing oarsmen Spencer Landsiedl, Alex Sleightholme, James Sleightholme, and Paul Chesteron.