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Saltash Festival

A raft race and water fun enables visitors to keep up with the Saltashians.

News 1964 1 mins Silent

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Saltash hosts a raft race during annual celebrations. The town is a centre of activities for South East Cornwall and the clubs for watersport are based at the foot of the road and railway bridges, the Tamar Bridge (1961) and the Royal Albert Bridge (1859). The town holds a Regatta and Waterside Festival every year in June with gig racing run by the Caradon Pilot Gig Club and sailing events put on by the Saltash Sailing Club. Events include canoeing and swimming but no greasy pole!

Raft races add some fun to serious regattas. Contestants design and build rafts and test their seaworthiness in a race. A sinking raft is always a source of amusement for onlookers. Greasy pole competitions used to be held on horizontal or vertical poles. In waterside locations, competitors walk along as far as they can towards a flag or prize and if they fail they plunge into the water below, the one who walks the furthest is declared the winner. Health and safety and high insurance costs have put paid to this kind of competition in the UK although the expression to climb the greasy pole and its imagery of a difficult route to the top of a hierarchy especially corporate or political, is still in use.