We are about to embark on another trip on the English narrow canals, this time from near Audlem to Bugsworth Basin, sometimes known as Buxworth or vice versa.  I once lived over the hill just outside Whaley Bridge and many a bike ride or walk would find us at the basin.  At the time this was a long-standing restoration project with no immediate prospects for completion. Stop locks were in place just beyond the aqueduct and the entire basin dry.  It is a delight to be able to take a boat into this complex interchange which was finally reopened in 2005 on completion of the £1.2M British Waterways project.

I don’t expect Caggy Stevens ever operated on this part of the network but he was one of the last commercial operators on the English canals, a breed of men who had worked their entire lives on the narrow waterways.  I nearly ‘bumped into him’ on the BCN in early April 1978. Suddenly he was there and just as suddenly he was gone – as can be seen from the wake in the first image, he was not hanging about; he had serious work to be done.  It is a pity that no such encounters with the working past will be had on our next trip.

Caggy Caggy

(click on the images to enlarge)

Connection to the Internet will be intermittent at best for the next two weeks so I will not be very active on WordPress.  TTFN.


  1. Ian Beattie · April 18, 2014

    sounds great, enjoy

    • northumbrianlight · April 18, 2014

      Thanks Ian – much depends on the weather which at the moment is just grand 🙂

  2. suej · April 18, 2014

    Have fun!

    • northumbrianlight · April 18, 2014

      Thanks Sue – wonderful weather so far but then it is only day 1.

      • suej · April 18, 2014

        Aaah..down here I think it collapses Sunday..I’m hoping for a good day tomorrow!

  3. LaVagabonde · April 18, 2014

    Have a fabulous trip, Robin. Looking forward to hearing about it and seeing the photos.

    • northumbrianlight · April 18, 2014

      Thanks Julie – 3 hour drive but now installed on the boat – apologies if I miss any of your posts while we are afloat but will catch up on our return.

  4. Pit · April 18, 2014

    Travelling by narrow boat on Britain’s canals and rivers are one of my favourite ways to spend my time in the UK.
    Happy Easter,

    • northumbrianlight · April 18, 2014

      Many thanks Pit and a Happy Easter to you as well. Looks like a great trip on the Stratford and Avon – we did that stretch in 2009.
      All the best

      • Pit · April 18, 2014

        Hi Robin,
        That trip [Wootton Wawen – Stratford – Tewkesbury – Worcester – Kidderminster – Birmingham – Wotton Wawen] which I call “The Heart of England Circuit” was one of the best if not THE best of my many holodays in the UK. I’ve done it twice so far [1996 & 2011] and would always do it again. In fact, I’d really like to introduce some of my friends here in southern Texas to narrowboating on that route.
        Enjoy your trip,

  5. litadoolan · April 18, 2014

    Sounds like a great journey. I love the canals through Birmingham and the evidence of how well they were once used. Locks I hear can be a bit of challenge but so glad to hear they are maintained well. Can’t wait to follow more about your journey.

  6. greenmackenzie · April 18, 2014

    Enjoy your trip, it sounds wonderful, life at the perfect pace 🙂

    • northumbrianlight · April 18, 2014

      Many thanks Seonaid – arrived at the boat an hour ago and already life has slowed down 🙂

  7. restlessjo · April 18, 2014

    I’m jealous already! I’ll be in Poland when you get back but I’ll catch up with your watery shots at some point. Have a great time! 🙂

    • northumbrianlight · April 18, 2014

      Thanks Jo – have a great time in Poland.
      Hopefully the watery shots will be of the canal rather than puddles from the rain

  8. Wayne Attwood · September 6, 2016

    Hi, we are the current owners/custodians of the BCN Tug ‘Caggy’. We love these photos of her – we are trying to pull together an archive of historic images of her on the Facebook page and it would be great to have your permission to put your two images on. Of course we will issue full credits and link to your blog. Many thanks, Wayne Attwood.

    • northumbrianlight · September 6, 2016

      By all means, good to know Cagey is being cared for.

    • northumbrianlight · September 6, 2016

      Caggy – so much for predictive text 😉

      • Wayne Attwood · September 7, 2016

        Many thanks, much appreciated – I’ve posted on her FB page with credits 🙂

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