High Peak MP, Robert Largan, spent the day on the Peak Forrest Canal on Phoenix Dayboat Hire, during which he learned more about how their boat trips have adapted to new social distancing guidelines.
Robert met Ian Gilman, the Phoenix Dayboat owner, at Whaley Bridge Canal Basin before cruising the full length of the Upper Peak Forest Canal to its junction with the Macclesfield Canal and the locks at Marple.
Ian has seen strong demand since re-opening, and has adjusted well to new social distancing requirements, all of which is helping to make up for the loss of income during the lockdown.
The boat is popular with families, groups of friends, canal enthusiasts and corporate groups. They also cater for supervised groups including special needs.
In the mid-2000s, the boat was a victim of vandalism and arson. The previous owners re-floated the vessel, repaired the damage and undertook modifications to turn it into a day hire boat. The Phoenix didn’t rise from the ashes, but it rose from the mud.
Robert has successfully lobbied the Government and High Peak Borough Council to extend and award business grants to firms like Ian’s which have been adversely affected by the pandemic, but initially didn’t qualify for support.
Robert Largan MP commented:
“Phoenix Day Boat Hire is a great way to spend a sunny day, chugging up the Peak Forest Canal from Whaley Bridge to Marple.
“I’ve been so impressed to see and hear about how Ian has managed to safely re-open and bounce back.”