AFTER the June Monsoon of Friday and Saturday, which gave the Whaley Water Weekend its wettest ever start, it ‘turned out nice again’ on the Sunday. Suddenly, W3 2012 was one of the most successful events since it was founded at the turn of the century. 1,212 people enjoyed the famous free boat rides along the canal – only slightly less than the record 1,400 trippers on a dry weekend three years ago.
W3 chairman Barry Rudd said: “Thank you to all those brave souls who came on wet Saturday, then even more who came on sunny Sunday. I know you had a wonderful time. We are already working on next year’s event.”
W3’s opening event, the Friday acoustic music evening at the big stage by the canal, had to be hurriedly rearranged in the Mechanics’ Institute. Over 200 fans enjoyed music from nine groups. The relentless rain continued most of Saturday, making the canal side a mudslide. But the boat trips carried on, Powderkegs Morris dancers emerged from under their umbrellas to entertain, High Peak’s new mayor Pat Jenner toured the site and had a cuppa with the Mad Hatters’ Tea Party ( organised by Mike Dean at nearby cottages) and the musicians on stage carried on. They were rewarded in early evening when performers such as George Barowski and Lucy Spraggan from Buxton entertained under blue skies.
Sunday dawned bright and mostly sunny, building up to the busiest day. Stalls, creating a ‘market in the trees’ – the Royal Green, which Princess Diana once visited – were busy, and the nearby Punch and Judy attracted several hundred children and adults. Canoe sample trips from Peak Paddlers made the canal basin even busier, as the little trip boats buzzed in and out with their 1,212 passengers. Ashore, there were the new attractions of a climbing wall and a display of birds of prey.
Whaley Bridge Band, under their new conductor, 22 year old Matt Shaw from Stockport, serenaded the afternoon away. Matt, a recent graduate from the Royal Northern College of Music, was celebrating his award from a competition in Ohio for a brass composition. The band’s brass section also won an award at the Whit Friday competition in Tameside.