Coffee on the canal
A glorious and unseasonably warm March day saw us set off for a stroll along the Peak Forest canal and end up enjoying a very decent coffee served from the narrowboat Mandalay, which wasn’t at all what we had expected when we set off.
We had parked our car fairly close to Bridge 36 and decided that on this occasion we would turn right onto the canal and walk around two to three miles along the towpath in the direction of Disley and New Mills before making an about turn, retracing our steps and therefore making for a decent five/six mile walk.
It’s a stretch of canal we both quite enjoy walking along, although it’s a few months since we have been there due to the Covid related travel restrictions. Last year we were up that way a few times and previous posts from those visits include:
Sometime after we park up, we turn left on the canal and head for a wander down to the basin at Buxworth then onto Whalley Bridge. When circumstances have permitted we have enjoyed a decent pint in one of the local hostelries there, but as I said at the start of this post we turned right and had no prospect of liquid refreshment let alone the prospect of a cold beer.
A fine cup of coffee
Not so long after setting off we came across the splendid looking narrowboat Mandalay, moored almost directly after the Carr Swing bridge. We noticed it straight away due to it looking in fine order and very well presented – and I offer that opinion as someone who enjoys walking the canals, rather than boating along them and as someone who can appreciate the attractiveness of a well kept and well presented narrowboat rather than having any knowledge whatsoever about its general state of repair.
Additionally we noticed the side hatch was open advertising tea and coffee were available – as we had only really just started our walk we decided that we would perhaps grab a coffee there on the way back.
We enjoyed our walk, the good weather and the gentle relaxing scenes of canal life. Although we both had our cameras with us, this stretch of canal isn’t really the best for catching wildlife pictures and neither of us made much use of our photography gear as we walked but that didn’t detract at all from the almost unique therapeutic peace and quiet that a canal can bring.
By the time we were back at the Manadalay we were both ready for a coffee. The drink we were served up didn’t disappoint nor did the overall pleasant experience of taking some time out to sit on the small seats by the side of the canal and chat to Stephen the owner about his boat and the business venture that is Narrowboat coffee.
I have no idea what the market is like for someone setting up a business to sell canal branded coffee but it seems like a decent idea to me and I liked the originality of the themed coffee varieties named after different canals: Shropshire Union, Peak Forest, Grand Union etc I would think if Stephen can get these on display and for sale in waterside supply shops there could well be a market for them.
Best wishes for the future
We enjoyed our conversation as much as we enjoyed our coffee and we both hope the Narrow Boat coffee company goes from strength to strength. One thing we did wonder after we had left was whether or not Stephen planned to offer cold drinks – I appreciate that selling coffee along the towpath is as much about marketing and raising awareness of Narrowboat Coffee and that selling the product in stores and online is probably the way to go, I know that Stephen is planing to add the canal side sale of cold drinks for adults and children to his range which I am sure will add to this altogether pleasant experience.
As well as enjoying a decent coffee we also purchased some of the Leeds/Liverpool branded coffee and I am enjoying a mug of that right now as I sit and write this blog post and it’s really quite a decent roast. You can find out more and follow Stephen and Narrowboat Coffee on Facebook. Here’s the link to his Facebook page and as well of course on Instagram
Worth looking out for. Its a narrowboat and so it floats and it moves – I don’t expect Stephen and the Manadalay will stay around on the Peak Forest canal so if you do enjoy a wander along your local canal keep your eyes open for him or maybe check his Facebook and Instagram feeds to see where he’s upto.
This is not a sponsored post, I have written it simply because we enjoyed the coffee, enjoyed the chat and wish Stephen every success with Narrowboat Coffee.
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