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“Relaxed, friendy, affordable and interseting 2 night barge break”

Wandering Duck Canal Boat Tours
Book In Advance
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US$257.28*
and up
4-Day Narrowboat Adventure from Manchester to the Peak District
Ranked #1 of 1 things to do in Buxworth
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Wandering Duck is the unique canal boat experience. They offer day tours for small groups of up to 8 people. Their day tours are hands-on; have a go at steering their 69ft Narrowboat, or help work the locks.
Useful Information: Food available for purchase, Bathroom facilities, Activities for young children, Activities for older children, Lockers / storage
Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Relaxed, friendy, affordable and interseting 2 night barge break”
Reviewed 10 August 2014

I had always wanted to do a barge trip, so when a friend suggested 3 of us board the Wandering Duck for a mid week break, I was up for it. Initially, I was a little worried about sharing such a confined space with strangers, but this was not a problem at all. The barge was much bigger than I had thought, with 2 showers, a front and rear seating area, and a comfortable lounge area. We could even sit on the roof and have our lunch! Mark and Ruth were fabulous hosts, were engaging and also very accommodating. We were able to hop on and off whenever we fancied a wander through the beautiful countryside in the Peaks, or have a go at fishing after one our lunch breaks. Also, as a Jane Austin fan, I was quite excited to visit Pemberley, the home of Mr Darcy, on Day 2 of our trip. The locks were great fun to operate, and a unique opportunity to experience simple engineering that is really quite fascinating. I felt totally relaxed when we arrived in Congleton, our final stop, and was sad to leave. I could definitely have stayed onboard for another night.

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
3 Thank angie P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mark B, Owner at Wandering Duck Canal Boat Tours, responded to this review, 11 August 2014
Hey Angie,

Thanks for a great review!

I'm glad you found the boat had plenty of space for everyone and thanks for mentioning that you can hop on and off at any point - perhaps I need to mention that on the website!

I hope you can come back again some time. It was a lot of fun.

Take care, Mark.
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  • English first
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English first
Stockport, Cheshire
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“3 day adventure”
Reviewed 4 August 2014

My husband and I wanted to go on a narrow boat holiday but I was a little cautious about doing a week, incase I didnt like it, Plus they were rather expensive. So i searched the internet for shorter trips, where you were looked after but were also able to be 'hands on'. This trip was perfect. It was ironic that it was also less than 10 miles from home. There is no point in me repeating what the other reviews have said, as i agree with them all. Great company, wonderful food, the perfect mix of industry in Manchester to countryside in Marple. Fab to be able to work the locks, swing bridges etc and to go over the aquaduct and have a go at canoeing. I suppose the only downside could be that you have no idea what the other guests are going to be like, and when you are working together in such close quarters, it could be difficult, but were were very lucky and got on with everyone really well. I can recommend it highly for a chill out break doing something different. Thanks Mark & Ruth and to our fellow travellers.

Visited August 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Preago
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mark B, Owner at Wandering Duck Canal Boat Tours, responded to this review, 11 August 2014
Thanks for taking the time to give us this lovely review.

I'm pleased you mentioned your anticipation at what the other guests may be like as I'm sure plenty of people wonder the same. After all, you're sharing quite a bit of time with complete strangers in a relatively small space. We are very lucky with our guests. Whilst they may vary in age, sex, and nationality, what they do have in common is a spirit of adventure and an open mind. I know you found this too, and I'm pleased that you enjoyed the company of your fellow guests.

I hope we see you again some time.
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London
Level Contributor
16 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Fabulous family trip”
Reviewed 21 July 2014

When I booked our trip on The Wandering Duck it was with some trepidation as I wasn't at all sure how our two teenage sons would take to the experience. I needn't have worried, they loved it as much as we did! What a wonderful few days cruising along the canals, helping to operate the locks, and learning about the local area. We were fed extremely well by Ruth and one night had a meal out at the excellent Sutton Hall. Mark and Ruth are super hosts and in no time at all they feel like friends. I had wanted to do a canal boat holiday for a while and am so pleased we chose to go with Ruth and Mark on The Wandering Duck rather than having to do all the work ourselves on a hire boat!

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
Thank Pinetrees
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mark B, Owner at Wandering Duck Canal Boat Tours, responded to this review, 23 July 2014
Thanks very much for the kind review.

We're very pleased that everyone enjoyed the experience. Your sons really got into the steering of the boat. It's just a shame we didn't catch a fish when they had a go with the fishing rod. I think they enjoyed it all the same. They certainly had a good time on the canoe!

It was lovely to meet you all. I hope we've inspired you to take another canal boat holiday in future.

Best wishes, Mark.
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Eastbourne, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
65 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Narrowboat Novices wet their appetite”
Reviewed 12 July 2014

Forget jogging, forget going to the gym, forget being told you need to exercise. Go on a Wandering Duck cruise and you will get exercise and you will not even realise it, and most important YOU WILL ENJOY IT.

My partner knew I liked the idea of river boating and cruising, whilst she has no attraction to such fun. However, as a compromise she bought a trip for the two of us on a 4 day Wandering Duck cruise from Manchester to Whaley Bridge in the Peak District. She thought it would get my love of the idea of river boating out of my system. She failed.

At the end I was sorry it came to an end and she was embarrassed to admit she had enjoyed it.

We are a pair of geriatric teenagers both over 60. I have osteoarthritis in my hands, but it did not curtail my involvement in operating the locks etc.

Mark and Ruth invite you to share their home and business on a cruise varying from day, weekend, 4 days and private charter.

Before we even arrived Mark gave me help in planning on how to get to the meeting point for the start of the cruise. The help included a detailed route map.

A few days before the start a lock was closed, through damage (NOT CAUSED BY THEM), forcing a change of itinerary. Mark and Ruth quickly responded making a change of plan, and ensured that whilst joining instructions changed, the impact was minimised. They were very apologetic for a fault which was totally out of their control.

The welcome includes, safety instructions, full description of on board facilities. The introduction includes an invitation to make ourselves at home. They both walked the talk in ensuring we felt at home.

You take part in every activity or sit back and do nothing. There is no pressure to get involved. However, to get the full experience you have to get involved in all aspects.

Mark and Ruth give you full instruction on opening, and the function of the locks etc. Once they are confident you know what you are doing they will not oppressively watch over you, but you can rest assured they look after you and the equipment. E.g. when I was opening a lock, I had not checked the safety catch on lock, which Ruth saw from the back of the boat and gave me a very friendly reminder.

I don’t intend to comment on the food, drink and accommodation as it has already been reviewed, and it is ALL TRUE.

The only suggestion I can make is regarding mosquito (midgey) nets. Being on locks in the evening you will get flying insects etc, which the on board lights attract when in bed. Could mossy net be clipped on the bed and windows? However, I used repellent and didn’t have too much trouble with bites.

Wandering Duck is a great opportunity to learn how to safely navigate the waterways in the UK.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
Thank Davifagg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mark B, Owner at Wandering Duck Canal Boat Tours, responded to this review, 17 July 2014
Thanks for your very kind, detailed and very helpful review.

We're really pleased you had such a great time on the Wandering Duck. An even greater achievement is fact that your more apprehensive partner managed to have such an enjoyable time :-)

Thanks for the mosquito net suggestion. Although we do get a few flying insects in the boat in the evenings, I've only recently started to notice the occasional mosquito over the last 2 or 3 weeks. I shall ask other fellow guests if they feel nets would be helpful or restrictive and make a decision accordingly. Perhaps complimentary insect repellent (as we do with the sun cream) may be a good alternative. We shall investigate, but either way thanks very much for the feedback.

If you ever manage to get that canalside mooring and your own narrowboat make sure you send us a photo ;-)

All the best, Mark.
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Lincolnshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Brilliant Trip”
Reviewed 11 July 2014

Just got back home after a three-night trip from Manchester to Whaley Bridge. Being a solo-traveller, I often find that people tend to leave you to your own devices (which is fine) or can be a little hostile (which isn't so fine), so this was perfect for me. Not only does the trip force you to meet new people (in a good way), it also requires you to work as a team and live close to each other, so it's very easy to become friends with the other people. There were four of us, plus Ruth and Mark on this trip and we were all very comfortable. It is easy to imagine that up to eight people would live just as easily.

From the very beginning of the trip, Ruth and Mark proved to be wonderful hosts. Both of them are very friendly, fun-loving, patient, welcoming people. Being a slightly shy person, I was a little apprehensive, but before the end of the first day, I felt as though I'd been there and known Ruth and Mark for years. Nothing was too much trouble and both of them were willing to answer any questions or explain things in full detail.

Being an 'Adventure' tour, we covered several miles surrounded by various types of scenery, all of them breath-taking. There were opportunities to go off exploring and discover lots of hidden areas, such as the Millennium Walkway, which is surrounded by a vast array of old mills and waterways. Lots of bridges and locks to get through, climbing and descending. While so many locks is a lot of work, it's also good fun and a brilliant work-out. So much physical work and fresh air makes you very hungry, which is good because Ruth's cooking is not to be missed- special mention for the brownies ... and toffee pudding ... and risotto ... and ...

If you don't really want to work the locks or bridges, you can also have a go at steering the boat. Mark and Ruth are incredibly patient teachers. The overall experience you gain from the trip is brilliant. Previously, I'd completed a RYA Helmsman's Course, but that is worth nothing if you can't actually get out and enjoy the canals, experiencing life aboard while you travel through the country. Wandering Duck is perfect for the experience.

When you're moored up for the night, there is still plenty to do and see. If you don't want to go off to the pub or have an explore, Ruth and Mark have filled their boat with games, books, music and instruments so it is impossible to get bored.

I would recommend that, if you are contemplating taking a trip, you read the information carefully and take it seriously. You are advised to pack everything from rain-macs and woolly-hoodies to sunglasses and sun-cream. I packed everything except a hat and now have a very painful parting down the middle of my head where I caught the sun. It also tends to be quite chilly in the evenings and early morning, so you really do need to pack for every type of weather as suggested.

I will definitely be going on another trip as soon as I have a chance and would recommend it to anyone of any age, whether you're looking for a few days away from the norm or just looking to try something different. Brilliant for individuals, or a fun weekend with friends or even a great team-building opportunity with work colleagues.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Little_Keelz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mark B, Owner at Wandering Duck Canal Boat Tours, responded to this review, 17 July 2014
Hey!

Thanks so much for your lovely review. It's important to Ruth and I that when guests come on a scheduled trip where they don't know one another, they feel instantly at home. I'm really pleased you got on so well with the others on the trip. We're very lucky to attract like-minded adventurous people; the guests really do make the trips!

We really enjoyed the re-routed Canal Boat Adventure that you came on - perhaps we need to do this route more often. I'm glad you enjoyed it as much as we did.

I hope we see you on another trip soon!!

Take care, Mark
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