Friday, 3rd May
Hilary's friend Annette arrived at Marple at 10.30 to join us for a couple of days on the Peak Forest Canal. Two lift bridges and two that swing added interest to the trip, and with a crew of three they were easily managed. Apart from the very pleasant views over the Goyt valley and the hills of the northern end of the Peak District the trip was memorable for two things.
One was this duck:
I've had ducks come on to the roof before now - always ducks never drakes - but this one was super-inquisitive, staying aboard for ten minutes or more and peering down the hatch into the cabin. In fact so interested did she seem I considered offering her a go with the tiller!
Then, there was the Swizzles Sweet Factory at New Mills
Not that I'm a particular fan of Swizzles - in fact I don't think I was that keen on them as a kid, but at one time the canals in urban areas were lined with factories, all hard at work, and this survivor makes you realise that most of the rest have disappeared, turned into "luxury apartments" or just demolished.
We got to Bugsworth Basin in time for a good look round before tea. It's a fascinating area - an old transhipment basin where limestone from the Derbyshire Hills was brought down by tramway to be loaded onto boats. Derelict for many years it was painstakingly restored by enthusiasts from the Inland Waterways Protection Society over a thirty-year period. Apart from the canal and associated wharves and bridges not a lot remains but a superb 3D model on the site gives an excellent idea of what it would have been like in its hey-day.