Whaley Wharf Weekend celebrates anniversary of residents returning to the town after Toddbrook Dam incident

The Whaley Wharf Weekend is back this weekend and thousands of people are expected to join in with the celebrations and remember how the community came together in times of need.
Whaley Wharf Weekend returns this weekend. Pictured at a previous event are  members of the Peak Vision arts group, Ingrid Katarina Karlsson, Julia Brownsword, Jan Hoyle and Margaret Steeden. Pic Jason ChadwickWhaley Wharf Weekend returns this weekend. Pictured at a previous event are  members of the Peak Vision arts group, Ingrid Katarina Karlsson, Julia Brownsword, Jan Hoyle and Margaret Steeden. Pic Jason Chadwick
Whaley Wharf Weekend returns this weekend. Pictured at a previous event are members of the Peak Vision arts group, Ingrid Katarina Karlsson, Julia Brownsword, Jan Hoyle and Margaret Steeden. Pic Jason Chadwick

The event, which is now in its third year has attracted more than 2,000 visitors each time, will be based round the Transhipment Warehouse and canal basin over the weekend of August 12 and 13.

Organiser Nev Clarke from the Whaley Bridge Canal Group said: “We will keep as close as we can to that weekend every year, as it’s a way of honouring our community spirit and of bringing people together.”

The existing auxiliary spillway on the dam wall was damaged in the summer of 2019 after excessive rainfall and there were fears the dam could collapse and the water could cascade down and flood the town of Whaley Bridge as well as the surrounding area.

Whaley Wharf Weekend returns this weekend. Pic Jason Chadwick.Whaley Wharf Weekend returns this weekend. Pic Jason Chadwick.
Whaley Wharf Weekend returns this weekend. Pic Jason Chadwick.

Residents were told to leave their homes and a national emergency operation to save the dam was launched involving emergency services, partner agencies and volunteers and even saw former prime minister Boris Johnson visit the dam.

The dam was saved and people returned to the village but the Whaley Wharf Weekend wanted to remember that feeling of community.

The monthly FAB market will be at the heart of the event with stalls offering food and gifts, local beer.

There will also be various craft activities, including a lathe and clay throwing.

Whaley Wharf Weekend, organiser Nev Clarke. Pic Jason ChadwickWhaley Wharf Weekend, organiser Nev Clarke. Pic Jason Chadwick
Whaley Wharf Weekend, organiser Nev Clarke. Pic Jason Chadwick

Local scouts will be organising some safe archery to raise funds for a trip to the annual scout jamboree to Norway next year.

Nev says storytelling plays a big part in the program of events and this year will see the debut of Transhipment Tales, a project funded by Historic England, bringing working class histories alive.

Ian and Jo Douglas, along with Gacko, are enthralling children from four to 94 alike.

Music lovers will be able to enjoy entertainment provided by the Powderkegs Morris Troop, dancing and then playing folk; local bands, including Alan Longden, Emilie Lee and Eric and the Frantics, until 7pm on Saturday.

Sunday will see Will Hawthorne, Cal Capone and Peak Low, among others, and of course the brass band.

Nev said: “The Whaley Wharf Weekend will hopefully be a regular in the calendar for years to come, just as Whaley Winter Tales has done.

“The Transhipment is at the heart of the community and it has the community at its heart.

“The original concept for how we thought the building would operate has changed so much, it’s beyond our wildest dreams. We’ve had visitors in from all over after neighbours from Cornwall, Dundee and even Auckland have recommended us.”

The Transhipment Warehouse is rapidly becoming the community hub that Nev and other members of Whaley Bridge Canal Group dreamt of when they first established it.

It was a popular retreat during Covid with the general public feeling a safe and socially distanced space to meet with friends.

The two day festival of fun will start at 10am on Saturday August, 12 and run until 4pm on Sunday August 13.