Sunday, April 25, 2010

Bugsworth to Disley


Bugsworth Basin was once one of Britain's largest inland ports, situated on a branch of The Peak Forest Canal the upper basin was first to be completed in 1797, with further wharves developed as trade grew, built primarly to transport limestone via the Peak Forest Tramway from the many quarries on the limestone plateau of Dove Holes, but there is no doubt that the development of Bugsworth Basin and The Peak Forest Canal certainly brought greater prosperity to the whole area. Limestone was transported by Canal to Manchester which by the 1790's was the hub for Canals and Waterways in the North West, from there goods could be transported to the industrial centres of the UK.

One interesting fact related to Bugsworth Basin is that of John Cotton who was the last man to be hanged at Derby Gaol on Wednesday 21st December 1898, John Cotton was a boatman and a frequent visitor to Bugsworth where he was well known for his violent behaviour and this is where after a visit to the local hostelry The Rose & Crown he savagely beat his wife to death on his boat moored in the Bugsworth Basin.

In the literature there is mention yet again of Samuel Oldknow.

Wiki - Samuel Oldknow (1756–1828) was an English cotton manufacturer.

He was born in AndertonChorleyLancashire and served an apprenticeship in his uncle’s draper’s shop at Nottingham. He then moved toStockport where he established a mill for the manufacture of muslin.
Samuel Oldknow
In 1793 he opened another mill at Mellor and this was at the same time that he was actively promoting construction of the Peak Forest Canal and the Peak Forest Tramway.
He was a highly motivated and ambitious man who wanted to expand his business interests but, as he was lacking in financial skills, he was unable to raise capital in London where he sold his products. As a result of this, he turned to his friend, Richard Arkwright Junior, for substantial loans and these were granted to him.

The basin today is a wonderful piece of reclamation and it is all down to the Inland Waterways Protection Society and now help from BW.  

The place was almost completely covered at one time with no water in the canal and hidden under the vegetation.  The railway lines are still in evidence with the old sleeper stones still in situ.

This is the Middle basin which curves around from the footbridges that cross over the lower basin where I was moored.

There are little arms coming off in all direction - nearly.  You can moor up in any of them.  There is usually just enough room for two boats.

This is the Upper basin with the two arms at its head.  The old central pillar of the crane is still standing and there is as you can see plenty of space.

Next to the Upper basin is the Navigation Inn.  More real ale.

The bridge to be seen in the Middle basin goes to what was once the Lime shed.  The roof is missing but it is a very nice, out of the way place to moor up.

The Lower basin is the one immediately in front of you as you arrive.  The white foot bridges are the place to turn right and carry on round to the other basins.  There is no signs up to point this out. 

There is also a model of the complex as it was in its hayday. There must have been thousands of tons of limestone going through here every week and the kilns would have been burning night and day.

The IWPS have a little shop and an information cabin.  They survive at the moment through raising funds themselves and are looking to upgrade the shed to something more fitting for the site. 

As I prepared to leave the YHA had a group of youngsters out with canoes so I delayed my departure till they had got completely soaked and left the water. 

Minutes later the diesel boat arrived selling diesel to boaters as and where he can.  Another old work boat still doing work that it was designed for.  Not diesel may be but fuel that would be most likely coal but I could be wrong.

I was thinking of stopping at Furness Vale on the way back but while the weather was good I carried on.  The knocking is still there.  Now and again it almost disappears.

The other side of the bridge I spot Laurel and Hardy enjoying the sun. 

I make it to the swing bridge and wait for Tim to catch up.  I open the bridge and let him through then as he goes through the narrow I cross over and fetch my boat and close the bridge behind me.  Went a little further on and the clouds rolled in so moored for the night and as we did it started raining.  Timing is everything.