Scottsville – June 21, 2017 – Photos by Polly Wooldridge.

The batteaux floated between Howardsville and Scottsville on Wednesday. Ms. Polly Wooldridge was there and sent the photos above to share! Thanks Polly!

Thursday the batteaux go to Slate River. If you are going, please be aware that the site moved last year to a new location, just across the Slate River (up-river on the James). If you are going by car from rt. 15, pass by the old Solite Plant and continue a few minutes until you pass over the Slate River, which would look like a creek by road, and the entrance to the site will be on your right. Please take caution and drive only where designated.

Friday the batteaux travel to Cartersville. If you are following you can stop at New Canton boat ramp and see them pass by, and also around lunchtime(ish) they pass by Columbia at the boat ramp. 

Saturday the batteaux go from Cartersville to Maiden’s Landing.

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    Howardsville – Tuesday afternoon, June 20, 2017.

    The batteaux traveled from Wingina to Howardsville on Tuesday. The river was high, fast and muddy, but was slowly receding and calming down all during the day.

    The batteau Ladies Slipper was the first to arrive. The rest of the batteaux came in a few at a time and seemed to take their sweet time getting there since with that water level it would have been an easy shorter than normal day to Howardsville.

    Once again the fine group of local ladies gathered along the bank to wait for the batteau and cheer the arrivals! Tables with plastic table cloths and fancy rocking camping chairs and all sorts of fine snacks and beverages were brought in by the ladies for this annual event! It was fun sitting and visiting with the ladies. One lady had fun trying to pick out which batteau man she would have on particular months if she were to make a calendar! This was quite funny and she was slightly embarrassed when I invited Sebastian from the batteau Mary Marshall to come give her a hug! (Ladies if you want to get prints of your group photo see

    The batteaux travel to Scottsville on Wednesday where a nice festival is planned!

    On Thursday they go to Slate River and then on to Cartersville on Friday. Saturday they arrive in Maidens.

    I won’t be able to go take pictures and cover this event until Saturday afternoon. If anyone has photos/stories they would like posted, please email

    Good luck and safe travels the rest of the way!



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      Wingina – Tuesday Morning – June 20, 2017.

      The batteaux traveled from Bent Creek to Wingina on Monday. The batteau Anthony Rucker had some trouble along the way somehow getting stuck on some rocks and a major board along the waterline broke off the boat causing it to sink and the crew to scramble and gather all gear/boxes while other crews helped secure the boat, flip it upside down and the approx 40 foot board was nailed back in place. The boat flipped back right side up, gear put back in the boat and continue on to Wingina! Long time batteauist and former JRBF Chairman Ralph Smith joked that it was all Clay Atkin’s fault for not being there due to his broken wrist! It seems that Ralph isn’t used to running the front sweep as well as Clay! I spoke to Clay on the phone Monday morning and he is in good spirits and is going to Charlottesville on Wednesday for further surgery.

      During Monday afternoon/evening it rained really hard a couple of times and the river had risen to a high and muddy level and was moving very fast by Tuesday Morning. The road into the campsite was a muddy mess in several spots. The crews were doing well and getting ready for the trip to Howardsville. The batteau Rose of Nelson took their boat out onto their trailer which had been planned for that day anyway. The boats were slow leaving but eventually all left on the way to Howardsville.

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        Galt’s Mill Site – Sunday Morning – June 18, 2017.

        Arriving at the Galt’s Mill site of the James River Batteau Festival a little before 7:00 AM, I saw the sun rising almost over the mountain in the distance. The campsite was busy with people getting ready for the day. Once again the Amelon United Methodist Church prepared pancakes and sausage for breakfast and I ate there visiting with Ralph Smith and some of his crew. The news of the morning was that our friend Clay Atkins had broken his wrist the evening before. Details were hard to get, however, it appears that somehow he fell near the campsite against a gunwale (top edge of a boat) and landed hard against his wrist. I also heard that another person got overheated and dehydrated from the sun yesterday. 

        Along the river the boats were looking good and spirits were  high. Mrs. Turner sat onboard the batteau Buckingham with a cute baby girl and the baby got over onto a sweep all by herself and I got a good picture! Further down the shore Ned Nelson was having coffee and I asked him why wasn’t he scrubbing his beautiful wood on his decks like he did when the boat was new! The ladies were no where to be seen on their boat but they showed up eventually and got their stuff together and left camp before many of the crews. As usual they looked in good spirits and their teamwork was showing as Terry Zimmerman got a request for some spray lube for one of the pumps while she is on ground crew this year.

        Doug Berry was doing some video taping while standing with Bill Trout. David and Barbara Haney were visiting while Emmett Abernathy was picking up site trash along the shore.

        David, Barbara and I sat beside their nice med sized camper and talked about old times and some of the batteau people that have gone on to heaven. It was nice sitting there with my old crew-mates from way back in the day.

        The Batteau Festival Camps in Bent Creek tonight. Tomorrow they travel to Wingina.


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          Batteaux launch from Percival’s Island to begin the 2017 James River Batteau Festival!

          The Batteaux slowly made their way to Percival’s Island from Rucker’s Landing. Crowds formed along the bank of the island. The day was cloudy and the water a brown cast from recent rains. 

          Jeff Taylor was on the bank to announce the start of the festival once again. Many old friends reunited and last minute preparations on board the boats were nearly complete. All the finest old-timey outfits were nice and clean for the start at 11:00 am. 

          The batteau Maple Run shot off a cannon to get things started! “Fire in the Hole”….BOOM! and a big cloud of smoke. Everyone cheered and The batteau Queen Anne captained by Brian Coffield started first, followed by the Lady’s Slipper and all the rest. The batteau Mary Marshall, captained by the JRBF Chairman Andrew Shaw took up the rear and the batteaux drifted past the bridge and out of sight. 

          On the Lynchburg side of the riverwalk trail were many vendors such as the Virginia Canals & Navigations Society and the JRBF T-Shirt booth and the James River Association. A forge, a potter, chair weaver and exotic animals and an awesome Civil War era encampment were along the way. A young boy at the encampment played the violin very very well, playing several songs. When he played Dixie it was so nice as to bring tears to your eyes.

          The 2017 James River Batteau Festival is off to a great start. The batteaux are expected in Galt’s Mill later this afternoon.

          If anyone would like to help photo/blog this year, please email with stories and photos. Due to a recent surgery I need to take it easy, although I am going to try and go to a couple of sites, perhaps Wingina.

          Also if you want to purchase photo prints of any of today’s shots such as the group photos etc., please see for more information.

          Good luck Batteaux!


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            2017 James River Batteau Festival – Friday night – Getting ready to go at Rucker Landing!

            The 2017 James River Batteau Festival is almost here! Most of the batteaux are in the water and on Friday afternoon several more arrived and were launched from Rucker Landing at Rivers Edge Park in Amherst County, VA.

            Many long time batteau friends were gathering by the river with handshakes and hugs! Gail Timberlake and the batteau Ladies Slipper were getting the boat ready. Lisa B. greeted to come aboard the batteau Clifton Lee and she was drinking plain ice water!

            The batteau Seven Islands launched off their trailer and the front sweep man was all smiles and thumbs up rearing to go!

            Brian Coffield, a long time VC&NS member/Past President, is now going to be the Captain of his gently used batteau that was the old Slate River batteau.

            The James River Association had a tent at the top of the boat ramp with pizza and cold water for the crews.

            Crews were unloading all sorts of gear and supplies as tomorrow is the big day!

            The official launch is from Percival’s Island at 11am.

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