You’ll meet the owner (Ian) at Whaley Bridge Basin at the appointed time, usually 9.00 a.m. for a full day trip. Ian will explain the boat’s facilities to the steerer/s followed by theoretical training on how to control a narrow boat, as necessary. A short safety brief will follow, given to all the party. The owner will stay with the boat for a short time after setting off to ensure the steerer is competent. He will demonstrate, and the steerer can practise:
- Passing moored boats and moving boats
- Turning the boat around
- Slowing down and stopping
- Stopping to moor
So whether you’re a complete novice or an experienced boater you can set off for your leisurely cruise with no worries!
You can choose your own itinerary based on your preference. To give you an idea, the following are popular:
Cruise the full length of the Upper Peak Forest canal to its junction with the Macclesfield canal and the locks at Marple. Average cruising time (each way) is 3 ½ hours. This gives time for a quick drink or bite to eat in Marple (The Ring ‘O’ Bells is popular) before heading back to Whaley Bridge. Many parties choose to bring a picnic lunch to eat on board with this option.
If you’d prefer to have a more leisurely pub lunch you could cruise as far as Strines. The Sportsman is popular, it’s a 5 to 10 minute walk from the canal. Or head slightly back up the canal, having turned around at Strines, to Disley, where a 5 to 10 minute walk give you a choice of pubs offering meals.
Cruise to beyond New Mills where there is a convenient ‘winding hole’ (turning place). This takes 1 ¼ to 1 ½ hours, on average. Turn around and go back towards Whaley Bridge but take the arm of the canal that goes to Bugsworth. Here you will find a basin of historical importance and a popular pub/ eating place The Navigation. It’s then just half an hour back to Whaley Bridge.