This morning we waved goodbye to Barb and Linz after an all-too-brief stay as Barb needed to catch her train back to London; some people (unlike us) have to work on Monday!
By 10 am we were considering how to occupy the rest of our last day in Derbyshire and decided on the Chestnut Centre which is in Chapel-en-la-Frith just a short drive from Buxworth. Anything that offers otters on display is a winner with us so with a bright and blue sky overhead we drove out to the centre.
There were a few people already there when we arrived and, as Alex had left Wood Cottage without breakfast, we stopped off in the cafe first before paying our admission and heading down the nature trail.
It was a glorious day for a walk and as we followed the path to the enclosures we passed a small herd of fallow deer who kept contentedly feeding as people passed by and offered a good photo opportunity. Further down the trail we passed through a couple of gates and entered the main area housing the various otters, owls and other animals. The giant otters did not make an appearance; in spite of the blue sky and sun it was quite chilly and, wisely, they were staying indoors. Fortunately a pair of Eurasian Otters were putting on a display for anyone willing to watch and the more people that watched, the better they performed obviously appreciating an audience. We managed to capture some photographs but they were so quick it was often hard to focus on them. I was surprised at how big they were as the other otters I have seen in zoos and at the Highland Wildlife Park were quite small by comparison.
Moving on we followed the trail through the exhibits. I was disturbed by how small the cages were that housed the owls. These magnificent birds had no room to fly; they were confined in cages that allowed no more than a spreading of wings and a quick dart from one branch to another. I feel extremely sorry for large birds kept in these conditions with never a chance to fly and it always concerns me that these creatures who are born to spend their lives flying free are imprisoned this way. No wonder they all looked so sad.
We soon came to the end of the trail having somehow missed the polecats and Scottish wildcats but we decided not to retrace our steps to find where we had gone wrong and continued back along the path to complete the circuit and end up where we began at the shop and cafe.
The day was just getting better as midday approached and the sun started to have a bit of warmth to it, so we drove back to Buxworth and decided that it would be the perfect time to take a walk along the canal which was only about 100 metres from the cottage.
After a false start (mainly because the folder in the cottage failed to say in which direction we needed to go to find said canal) we doubled back and found a road leading in what we assumed to be the right direction. Sure enough, we soon found the Peak Forest Canal and started to walk towards New Mills.
It was the perfect place to walk and following the tow-path with the canal on our left we just kept going. This is a popular place and we encountered many others enjoying a sunny day by or on the canal; walkers with and without dogs, cyclists, families, and narrow-boats chugging up and down the waterway. There were even a few anglers (although I'm not sure what can be caught in a canal).
As we approached the end of our walk we discovered a sweet factory in New Mills, mainly by the smell which was very sherbet-like and, when we were able to check on the internet once we got home, found out it was the Swizzles factory. It smelled delightful.
On our way back we had a chuckle when we came across a man with his three dogs that we had passed earlier on the walk, apparently one of his dogs had presented him with a dirty disposable nappy that it had found and he felt he should share the experience (fortunately that did not extend to the nappy which he had neatly placed in a plastic bag). While that was quite funny in itself, we couldn't help but laugh when a little further along the track a young man was heading towards us looking for the lost nappy that the dog had actually pinched while the mum was changing the baby! He was most embarrassed and all ended well when the nappy was returned to its righful owner by the dog's owner who was also embarrassed that his dog had pinched it in the first place. Nappy and apologies exchanged, everyone continued on their way. Only in Britain! (My own view on this was that had the same thing happened in Australia firstly the man with the dogs would not have bothered placing it neatly in a plastic bag, and secondly the owner of said nappy would never have admitted it even belonged to him let alone gone looking for it!)
There were loads of narrow-boats of all shapes and sizes moored at various marinas along the way and quite a few were for sale; we saw one at GBP35,000 which I guess for a floating home isn't a bad price. There are worse things to do than "messing about on the river" (or canal in this case) on the weekend even though it's possible to walk faster than the narrow-boats can move along the water.
All in all a good afternoon and just over 10km walked. Back at Wood Cottage we prepared to leave High Peak the next morning and move on to our next destination - the Lake District.