In The National News Twice In One Week!

We’ve been calmly chilling on the Peak Forest and Macclesfield Canals for a while now. In fact since our kiwi visitors were on board for a week in June. Around five weeks. Most unusual for us. What a stunning part of the country. We’re hoping this week’s weather challenges don’t spoil it too much.

But first the good news.

A couple of weeks ago our friends Kath and Anne-Marie, on Narrowboat Experience, Tweeted us to say The Guardian were looking for stories about narrowboat traders for their ‘Canal Revolution’ series. Long standing customers, and friends, Helen and Andy Tidy from Wild Side Jams and Preserves (who WE nominated!), messaged me a couple of days ago to excitedly inform us that their nomination of The Home Brew Boat had made it into the national news – check out the article here. What a brilliant write up – thank you Helen! Such eloquence. She has such a tantalising way with words. And how great it is that people are recognising the advantages to this way of life – rather than one of constantly striving to be and accumulate more (stuff and money!). Awesome.

A Wonderful Walk Down and Up!

The weather in UK has been rather mixed recently, depending on which part of the country you’re in. We drew the short straw in the Peak District! Although there’s been intermittent sunshine, for much of the last couple of weeks we’ve had persistent rain.

Thankfully we enjoyed a wonderful visit to the Blue John Cavern, near Castleton. A fellow trader had recommended we visit here. Admittedly it was an expensive entrance fee that we hadn’t expected, but boy it’s a fascinating tour. Our oldest grandson was with us and was captivated by the facts imparted by our guide, Chris.

Blue John Cavern Castleton
A rare shot of us both captured by our grandson before the cave visit …

Barry’s actually given me some photos from the visit – he must’ve been impressed! It’s been a while since I’ve had any of his gorgeous images to post.

Feast your eyes folks …

Peak District
Some spectacular views on the journey to the cave …
The view surrounding the Blue John Cave entrance
The Blue John Cavern cafe and gift shop
The Blue John Cavern cafe and gift shop, and entrance to the cave
Some of the old mining equipment underground

The underground caves were formed following the Ice Age, when the ice thawed, and the earth was covered in water. Apparently within the cave, there were underground rivers and huge boulders swirling round and round like clothes in a washing machine. This formed the crater-type holes in the rocks.

Blue John Cavern

We were shown a massive rock weighing around 20 tonnes, that had fallen at some point and been holding still ever since – balanced on just three points. Incredible!

Blue John Cavern boulder

The variety of colours from the various minerals such as manganese, copper and calcium were breathtaking …

Then in a few areas we saw veins of the ornamental fluor-spar mineral ‘Blue John’ that’s mined during the winter, then made into jewellery and larger items.

Blue John Cavern

Following this awesome experience (breathtaking in more ways than one as what goes down must also come up!), we were talked into (by said nine-year-old grandson surprisingly!) walking up Mam Tor. A rather large-looking ‘hill’ across the road from the cavern.

Neither Barry or I imagined he’d make it all the way up – but he did, with us flagging behind! We were delighted to have been coerced when we saw the spectacular views from the top. On a rather-rare-at-the-moment-in-the-peak-district sunny day!

Mam Tor Peak District
The top of Mam Tor
All the way to the top!

More of Barry’s views through the lens …

Mam Tor
Mam Tor
Mam Tor
Mam Tor
Mam Tor
Mam Tor summit
Mam Tor summit
A face in the path!
Mam Tor

On Tuesday we visited Lyme Park, and had lunch and a play in their woodland park with our grandson. We’d visited a few weeks previously with Kerry and Tony, when we’d walked for a few miles to get there. This time we had a hire car and were able to arrive through the main entrance. We’re grateful we’ve experienced how this magnificent place looks before Wednesday when things went rather awry there.

Not Such Great News …

Yesterday the dreadful news that Toddbrook Reservoir could burst its banks was announced. The dam wall was at risk of collapsing due to the high water levels from recent flooding. People living in Whaley Bridge, not far from Bugsworth Basin where we recently spent a couple of weeks, had been evacuated. Last night a Chinook helicopter dropped 150 bags of aggregate onto the damaged wall in the hope of reinforcing it. We’d been planning on descending the Bosley Lock Flight today, but these were closed yesterday.

Thankfully this morning the locks were opened to allow boats to leave the are. CRT Volunteers informed us we were the thirteenth they’d seen through, at around 11am. We’ve received two emails from CRT today, as they knew we’d been in the area. The latest one is very informative about what maintenance they’ve done on the reservoir and what is being done with the aim of preventing the dam wall from collapsing. Residents of Whaley Bridge are unlikely to be allowed back into their homes for seven days. Built in 1831, the dam has a capacity of 1,238 megalitres, and a surface area of 0.056 square miles. Should this come rushing out it’s unimaginable what the consequences could be …

Then we saw that the deluge of recent rain has also badly affected Lyme Park. Huge trees that have stood for centuries there have fallen due to so much water in their roots. And a dry stone wall that’d been there for 300 years has been washed away. Such a shame. My heart breaks for the staff there who maintain this treasure. https://

The only positive is that to date, no-one’s been injured. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Upcoming Adventures …

After so much drama and wet weather, next week I’m off to Menorca for seven fun-filled days with both my daughters and our two grandsons. Temperatures there will be around 29-30 degrees each day. No rain forecast.

Barry meanwhile will be happily boating, and enjoying some peace and quiet. Hopefully in sunshine too.Though it’s likely he’ll be distracted by a few ‘watering holes’ along his route!

Then the day after I return on 15th August, he’s flying off to Bratislava for a Stag weekend with our friend Gav. Watch out Slovakia!!

6 thoughts on “In The National News Twice In One Week!

  1. We remember when you could drive over Mam Tor, before the road fell away. That’s common in NZ but not a regular occurrence in Derbyshire! x

  2. Nothing is certain anymore where the weather is concerned, and infrastructure that has been in a state of ‘genteel’ decay’ for decades is going to be the hardest hit. … those cave and Mam Tor photos are glorious. 🙂

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