Bugsworth Basin

Bugsworth Baisin is the head of the navigation from Buxworth to Dukinfield on the 14 mile Peak Forest Canal.

 Built in the late 1790’s for the transportation of limestone and gritstone from the higher quarries. It became a hub for the preparation of lime in the 19 kilns and the import of other goods for the local mills and businesses to and from Manchester. At one point over 600 tonnes of limestone was passing through the basin every day and it was the largest inland port in England, and all with horse drawn barges. It was closed in 1927 and fell into disrepair. Thankfully a dedicated team from the Inland Waterways Protection Society set about restoring what was left in 1968 and the basin was opened for navigation again in 2005. The Bugsworth Basin Heritage Trust continues to maintain and improve the facilities and environment for both those on the water and the land.

This is where we are moored. The arches are the remains of one of the buildings

Warm welcomes

We’ve been welcomed with open arms here and so enjoyed this area that we’ve asked permission to stay a bit longer. Bugsworth Basin can get crowded in the summer but at this time of year the rules are relaxed and common sense and a donation prevail.

Erics been keeping busy while I’ve walked into Whaley Bridge most days.

My highlight being a fantastic wool shop, which is hardly the best way to describe the WiseheartStudio Run by Kate and Annie, Wiseheart Studio is an independent textile studio and yarn shop that feels more like being welcomed into someone’s front room than a business venture. Whilst the stock isn’t the most extensive, it is all special and so very tempting. Much of it from local independent spinners, dyers and artists which are displayed on the Welsh dresser, sideboards and the coffee tables. (And yes I did buy some, if only to make Eric a better wooly hat) The comfy sofa is draped with crocheted blankets and the walls adorned with local artwork Homemade cake is served on an assortment of China plates, and there are knit and natter groups running most days. And upstairs is the Pear Tree cafe which is equally inviting. I can see me wanting to return here frequently.

The Basin has a warden called Pavlo who has taken under his wing. There’s a shallow area in one of the winding points and we managed to run aground. Pavlo came to our rescue and helped pull us off with his own boat. We were mightily embarrassed but Pavlo and his mate Mark were brilliant and reassured us that they have to pull someone off at least once a month. I made them cake to say thankyou, and then Pavlo who keeps chickens gave us some freshly laid eggs. Yet more kindness

I’ve been taking advantage of the space here at Bugsworth and having some ‘driving lessons’ I’m still very unsure of myself when it comes to steering a 60 foot boat, but everyone assures me this time next year I’ll wonder what all the fuss was about,min the mean time I still suggest you give me a wide berth.

And finally today’s weather report, more rain, more mud and even some snow. But I’m hoping for sun tomorrow.


All boaters suffer with condensation at some point and we’re no different. Most of the boat is ok, we’re both well ventilated and well insulated, but the ‘conservatory’ at the bow has a lot of exposed metal and doesn’t have the double glazing that the rest of the boat has. In the mornings I can usually wring out two mopping up cloths before I give up. All gadgets and gizmo’s have to earn their right to storage space on the boat and we’d decided not to bring our trusty Karcha window vac with us. But enough was enough and as luck would have it Tesco had just one left reduced down from £39 to £14 so it was a bit of ano brainer. Ha, this morning the temperature had risen and not a drop of moisture to be seen. It seems that the threat of being sucked up was enough to beat the condensation into submission and the problem is solved.

I feel very British right now cause I am becoming obsessed with the weather. The early morning drizzle soon turned into heavy rain and as it didn’t show any signs of easing off I decided it was time for me to test out my gold plated waterproof trousers. I’m happy to report that I walked for over an hour and stayed as dry as the conservatory. I’m quite content trudging along in the rain, just so long as I can step around the puddles and there’s no mud.

Wonder what tomorrow will bring.


Spring is on its way

Spring was in the air today. The sky was blue and the sun was shining. I walked into Whaley Bridge and was overjoyed to see this patch of crocus growing by the canal side.

The Ducks were happy to pose for photos

even the swans came to investigate.

Pity there’s more snow forecast overnight.

A cold days cruise

When we woke the forecast said it was going to be OK until early afternoon so we made the mistake of believing it. While we were having our breakfast planning our next adventure it started snowing, and oh boy was it bitter.

But it didn’t last and having got the blue sky we’d hoped for, it all looked rather pretty, so we donned the thermal long johns-no you’re not getting photos of us in Aldi’s finest, but take my word that they certainly kept the drafts out…

Past the Swizzels sweet factory where love hearts, drum sticks and Parma violets are made. I’m told that the descerning can tell which sweet is being made that day, by the aroma that surrounds the factory. And a little further past the magnificent New Mills viaduct.

We’d been going about 5 minutes when it clouded over and the heavens opened. Rain, like we never see in Suffolk, cold, wet, heavy and miserable. We knew it was only 10 minutes to our first destination the marina a New Mills where we could fill up and add the waterproofs to our layers. Only to find it closed for the day. Oh well, our final destination was only two or three miles away and Eric gallantly suggested I stayed in the dry instead of keeping him company while we trudged on.

We pulled into Bugsworth Basin just as the sun came out, we filled up with water and found ourselves a lovely mooring spot, the same one we’d used in 2015 on Braidbar’s hire boat.

So despite getting very wet in the morning the afternoon turned out beautiful and in the evening we treated ourselves to fish and chips at the Navigation Inn, the building you can see directly behind Firecrest. No wonder it’s a favourite with the boaters moored at Bugsworth.

Snow goose

We did get the snow today although it wasn’t really cold enough for it to stick. The geese didn’t like it and couldn’t wait to get out of the water.

Soggy Sunday

Friday’s sunshine was a bit of a teaser as it’s become wet and wild again, not at all ideal for cruising. But even with the towpath competing for its own canal status both Disley and New Mills are within “easy” walking distance, so we’ve stayed put.
Going to church is part of our lives and as we’re not committed to a particular denomination, easy access ticks the box. This week both the Methodist and the Baptist church were equidistant so I browsed their respective websites and chose the one whose service started at 10:30 rather than 11am.
We arrived in good time only to find the door being locked…. Mmm not the welcome we’d hoped for. It turned out that this Sunday was Disley’s churches together day and the service was taking place in our second choice venue. Which was rather good as we got a merry mix of 5 churches for the price of one. Note to any church secretary reading this blog. Please keep your websites up to date and accurate.
Now as everyone knows if you like a really good sing church isn’t the only place to go, so it was off to Twickenham for the Rubgy international in the afternoon. I’m learning to cope with intermittent TV signal, the weather playing havoc with our reception, but Well done England, you got there in the end even if the first half had us all worried.

Monday morning still isn’t enticing us to leave the comfort of a warm boat just for the sake of moving a few miles. The forecast is for heavy rain and even shows snow overnight. We’re still erring on the cautious side of things, but the mechanics of the boat are paying dividend. We charged the batteries with the generator on Wednesday and again last night for roughly 3 hours each time. During those 4 days we’ve cruised, cooked had heat and light aplenty and done the washing and tumble drying without any concern. We still have half a tank of water so it’s all looking good to stay put for another few days if the sun doesn’t shine.

What a difference a day makes

What a glorious day after yesterday’s ferocious winds.

We’d overstayed on the 48 hour moorings because of the weather but as no one else was moving I think we were excused. Today we turned right onto the Peak Forest canal heading towards Whaley Bridge, though we only intended to go as far as Disley.

We took Firecrest through her first lift bridge

We moored up in time for lunch, and the conservatory had warmed up so we sat out to make the most of it. We’d received a special gift from John and Martina from Burnt Oak, hand Made coaster to match our colour scheme. Fibre dyed and spun by Martina and woven by John.



Doris Day

We’re dedicating today to storm Doris which is whipping through the country and has put paid to our cruising plans for the next few hours at least. Our winds might be reaching 50mph but it sounds like the rest of the country is a lot wilder. Mooring under trees is a mixed blessing, it’s definately more sheltered but we”ll be in trouble if one of them comes down.

I’m thinking of taking up surfing cause we’ve got waves on the canal. But then I’m full of daft ideas. It must be cabin fever cause I got the iron out for the first time. (Do you think this is Eric getting his own back for all those photos of him wiring)

Cabin fever got the better of us so we set off for a walk, “on the beech” this was just a bit further along the canal.

lets start at the very beginning

The Macclesfield canal starts at Marple Junction. It leaves the Peak Forest canal and travels 26miles south to Kidsgrove.  The route of the canal was given permission by an act of Parliament in 1826, surveyed by Thomas Telford and construction was engineered by William Crosley and finally completed in 1831 at a cost of £320,000.

There are some beautiful bridges that curl around onto the tow path. They’re known as Snake bridges and were designed where the towpath crosses to the opposite side to allow the horses to cross over without being untied from their barges. (Information taken from the Macclesfield canal website)

we’re moored just after bridge 2

Despite the grey and miserable weather, the boat is so nice and snug, we’ve changed the duvet from the winter 10.5 tog to our brand new 4.5 tog. I kept a blanket close at hand in case we were cold overnight but no, the lightweight duvet is just right.

And finally a bit of colour, Eric went out to buy some wiring supplies and came back with flowers for me.