People frequently ask us where our favourite canal is on the system. Or a particularly pleasant place to moor. We’ll say that all the canals are amazing, and how fortunate people in the UK are to have such an incredible waterway. And that is true. However, of course we do have places which stand out. Bugsworth Basin and the Peak Forest Canal, are two of those.
Set in the idyllic Peak District of Derbyshire, in the heart of England, the canal winds its way through some spectacular rural scenery. Bugsworth Basin is a site of historical interest, and managed by the Bugsworth Basin Heritage Trust (BBHT). It was the largest and busiest inland port on the narrow canal system, and the only one to be surviving intact today.
“Construction of the six mile Peak Forest Tramway in 1795 linked Bugsworth Basin to the limestone and gritstone quarries in Derbyshire, and the canal linked Bugsworth to Manchester and the trans-Pennine canal network.” https://bugsworthbasin.org
Following the decline of the canal system in UK, it took 32 years for the basin to be restored due to some stalwart efforts. The basin re-opened to boaters in 2005 – just four years before Barry and I initially visited in September 2009 on our inaugural six-month canal experience as liveboards.
A Fun Family Festival After The Rain
Isn’t it just typical? The weather had been glorious. Well dry at least! For several days before, and after. But the actual morning, of the ONE day Bugsworth Basin Family Fun Day 2019, was wet. Not as forecast until 10am. It persisted it down till just after midday. Such a shame after so many people worked so hard to put the event together.
Despite this disappointment (something we’re well used to as traders, and a main reason we rarely do festivals now!), visitors flocked to the basin for the Family Fun Day and seemed to have a fabulous time. There were stalls aplenty, selling all manner of things, Tombolas, Bouncy Castle, tortoises and turtles (a firm favourite with our two grandsons who came for the day with their mum), a dry stone wall demonstration (amazing skills), free canoeing up and down in between the moored trade boats (lucky they have steel hulls!), a dog show, model boats, steam engines, classic cars – the list goes on. For a small space they absolutely make the most of it.
As we’ve come to expect, Richard Parry, the CEO of the Canal and River Trust, came along to chat with traders and CRT representatives. The Basin is managed by the Heritage Trust, with support from CRT. Barry and Richard talked for a good while – and we thanked him for his supportive letter confirming his knowledge of our relationship and living circumstances.
I didn’t get much chance to take photos once family arrived – and Barry was busy chatting and selling. However, another great photographer took some fabulous shots, and gave me permission to post a selection. Admittedly they’re focussed mainly on traders … Thank you Dave Cresswell, of CanalSide Art. You can find him on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/CanalSideArt/
A huge thank you must go to Pablo, and his wife Carli, for all their hard work and support of floating traders.
Special Times With Boaters
This floating gypsy-type lifestyle isn’t for everyone. Most people appear to prefer living on land, in bricks and mortar, and socialising either at home or in pubs/restaurants/clubs, etc. Of course we do that too a little, in our moveable home. What is most wonderful about living on a narrowboat and travelling around, is the spontaneity of get-togethers with fellow boaters. Especially in the warmer evenings.
Bugsworth Basin evenings have been some very special times that we’ll remember with fondness forever. A brilliant group of people, sharing and caring and having heaps of fun. A BBQ; camp fires and playing the squeeze box, ukulele, banjo, drums; freshly cooked fish and chips eaten outdoors (you have to try it to understand how delicious this is!); and generally making the most of the camaraderie.
During our 2009 stay, my daughter Lisa and her husband Rob came to see us for the day, meeting us at Whaley Bridge where we caught the train through idyllic countryside to Buxton. We took the opportunity to return there this time too – taking our youngest grandson for the day on Sunday 7th July, and fortuitously discovering their annual Fringe Festival happening. It’s such delightful town.
More to Come in Relation To Cricket …
Since the festival, I’ve been catching up with my Ad-Extra work, Barry with The Home Brew Boat orders, then driving down to Brighton and Hove (and back) to see my youngest daughter and see Rod Stewart in concert at the County Cricket Ground. It was brilliant.
Talking of Cricket, it’s featured somewhat in the news recently – as many of you will know! More about all these shenanigans in the next post …