The record breaking pumpkin had its maiden voyage on the lake at RHS Hyde Hall in Chelmsford, Essex...and took the crown in the boat race!

23 November

An RHS horticulturalist, who set the new UK record for the heaviest outdoor grown pumpkin, has successfully turned the squash into a boat.

Matthew Oliver hollowed out the pumpkin and raced it on the lake at RHS Hyde Hall in Chelmsford.

Initially, the plan was to put an engine on the back of the giant gourd, but instead, paddle power was used.

Giant pumpkin is lowered into the water at RHS Hyde Hall

The giant pumpkin is prepared for the race. Credit: RHS

His colleagues also converted pumpkins grown at Hyde Hall and took part in the race, which Oliver won.

Conditions for the race were reported as a force 2 north westerly wind.

The pumpkin, which weighed 1,333.8lbs, set the record in October.

It was grown from a seed which was brought at auction for £1,250 by seed merchants Thompson & Morgan.

The Ipswich-based seed merchants then gave it to Oliver to nurture.


11 October

A giant 1,333.8lb pumpkin, which set a new UK record for being the heaviest outdoor grown pumpkin, is to be turned into a boat.

The monster winter squash was grown by RHS horticulturist Matthew Oliver at Hyde Hall in Chelmsford, Essex.

It was declared a record breaker at the UK’s official pumpkin weigh-in at the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth’s annual event at Royal Victoria Park in Southampton on 8 October, 2016.

It will now be the centre-piece of a Halloween-themed pumpkin and squash display at Hyde Hall between 22-30 October, 2016, before being turned into a motor boat!

“Unfortunately giant pumpkins are not known for their culinary properties, so we will be making this one into a boat, as incredibly they float!” explained a spokeswoman for RHS Hyde Hall.

The giant pumpkin at Hyde Hall. Credit: RHS/Suzanne Plunkett

The giant pumpkin at Hyde Hall. Credit: RHS/Suzanne Plunkett

“We will cut a lid off, hollow it out, pop an external motor on it, and send Matthew Oliver into the middle of the lake at RHS Garden Hyde Hall,” she explained.

Oliver spent the past seven months growing and nurturing the world’s most expensive pumpkin seed in the hope of breaking a new world record.

The seed, which cost £1,250, was brought at auction by Paul Hansord, horticultural director at Thompson & Morgan, an Ipswich based seed and plant company, before being handed over to Oliver to nurture.

Measuring about two inches long, the seed came from the largest documented pumpkin in the world.

Weighing 2,323 pound (166 stone), this record breaking squash was grown by Benin Meier from Switzerland in 2014.

Back in April, Oliver said: “The pressure to deliver is massive. I’m not sure whether it was a brave or stupid idea to take on this challenge, but I’ll give it my best shot. Let’s just say that my holiday plans will be on hold until after the October weigh-in.”

Windsor Pumpkin Regatta

Some of the 2008 entries for the annual Windsor Pumpkin Regatta in Nova Scotia. Credit: Jens Berlin

Incredibly, the desire to turn oversized vegetables into boats isn’t new.

On 24 October, 2013, artist Dmitri Galitzine crossed the Solent from Gosport to the Isle of Wight in a giant pumpkin powered by an outboard motor.

The three-mile crossing on the 800lb squash took him one hour and 56 minutes.

Earlier, Galitzine set a new world record of exactly two minutes for the fastest 100-metre paddle in another pumpkin – a 600lb squash.

Both pumpkins were sourced from the Mere Brow Giant Pumpkin Show.

Every October in Nova Scotia, Canada, the annual Windsor Pumpkin Regatta is held.

Participants race the 800-metre course in giant pumpkins.