Nigel and his dogs at Marple Locks Nigel and his dogs at Marple Locks

Meet Nigel with Fern, Izzie, Pickle & Spud at Marple Locks

I don't really know how we came to have nine dogs - it's just because we're a bit daft I think!  At the moment we've got a labrador, three spaniels, four nova scotia and a flat coated retriever. My wife is with the other five today because she's at our daughter's house puppy-sitting for her!

Walking dogs on the Peak Forest Canal

I've had labradors all my life, but when a friend of mine had a litter of cocker spaniels, I went to look at the puppies. One came and sat on my foot and I thought, 'I've been chosen here!' So I took her home. Izzi is twelve now.

We used to show our flat coated retrievers. I got my first flatcoat when my kids were little. Unfortunately the kids were doing taekwondo at the time, and got Daddy to do it as well - I was only in the warm-up when I tore my Achilles tendon! So while I was off for six months recovering, my wife and my daughter pinched my flat coated retriever to take him into the show ring... and I never got him back!

He was a beautiful big powerful dog and my daughter was showing him in the junior handling section at Crufts when she was only 11. My wife had hidden round a corner to watch, but unfortunately he sensed she was there, and pulled my daughter out of the ring to get to his Mum!

Walking dogs near Marple Locks

So after that we got nova scotia duck tolling retrievers and took them to Crufts. That was 22 years ago when there were only 120 in the country. Now there are thousands, but we still have our show champion name 'Croftwell' Tollers showing at Crufts.

I walk all the dogs along the canal regularly. They love it, although they are partial to the odd dunk into the water!