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Great Turn Out At Fab Market At The Canal Basin

Saturday 7th September saw a great turnout at the Fab market at the canal basin in whaley bridge. The weather in the morning was on our side and saw many visitors to the market. Bringing in many visitors from outside the area who also came to visit the famous Dam in its current state.

Whaley Bridge was on few tourism itineraries. The pleasant small Derbyshire town tended to be overlooked by its more famous neighbours: the spa town of Buxton over the hill and the Peak District national park on its doorstep.

What a difference near-obliteration makes. Since making headlines around the world when a reservoir dam threatened to collapse and engulf half of the community on 1 August, residents have been astonished by an influx of disaster tourists. As soon as the town reopened following a mass evacuation, visitors swarmed in to take pictures of the damaged dam and support the local businesses.

Camilla Dignan, who owns the Bridge Bakehouse, says she was stunned when she saw the first busload of Chinese tourists pull up outside her bakery. “To start with it was all the locals coming back in and everyone was just so happy to see each other, and everyone was crying, and really emotional. And then all the tourists started coming in, especially in the weekends.

Everyone was asking where the reservoir is, they wanted to go and have a look because they’ve seen it on the telly … They’re coming from everywhere – I’ve seen buses of Chinese tourists honestly – [from] all over the UK. It’s bizarre, it’s really weird.”

Ever since, she has been baking around the clock. “Since the day we reopened after the evacuation we have been flat out busy, [it’s been] completely unprecedented, we used to be busy but never like this, we have been struggling to keep up in the bakery,” she says.

Some call it the Chernobyl effect, drawing parallels to the popularity of tourism near the site of the Soviet nuclear reactor meltdown. Others point to a renewed community spirit, with more residents using local shops and cafes.

There has always been a large number of visitors in the town during periodic market days, but locals said this was exceptional.

Footsteps, a local community cafe run by Whaley Bridge Community Trust, has seen its takings go up 140% compared with this time last year.