Ingestre (could the forecast have been more wrong?)

Mum and 16 ducklings came to the side hatch to see us at 8 o’clock on Sunday evening – largest brood we’ve seen this year

As we weren’t moving on Monday we decided to get one of those jobs done that we’ve been putting off – logistical planning for a series family events.  We have a period of about 10 days when we need a car so we can go to Edinburgh for Jo’s degree show followed by a climb up Ben Nevis and then a trip down south for Sophie and Yanos’s wedding.   

This means we need to get the car back from Yorkshire for that time and we also have to find somewhere safe to leave the boat for those 10 days.  Not only that, but as we will have quite a bit of luggage, we will need easy access to a station to get to Gargrave to pick up the car.  All that seems fairly reasonable to work out, but we are due into Liverpool docks a few days after the wedding and it didn’t seem possible to get the car back to Gargrave and do things we need to do there in the time available.  We have now decided to keep the car somewhere near Liverpool for a further 10 days whilst we cruise in, have a week there and cruise back again.  We can then get the car back to Yorkshire at leisure.

Later in the morning we went for a walk towards Stone and, contrary to the forecast, it wasn't raining.  It was very windy though, but the sun was shining, and we think that even Buddy was happy to be out in the dry ūüėä; he kept running madly up and down the towpath which is fine except when he is carrying a stick then we have to watch our legs as he tears past us.

A quarter of a mile into our walk we went past the spot we had been heading for on Sunday.  It’s one of those odd places, like Bramble cuttings near Middlewich, that is in the middle of nowhere but has some mooring rings.

Unusual to have mooring rings in such a rural spot
Approaching Weston, we came to Weston lock and saw that there was a new stanking plank store complete with new planks.

Karen and Buddy checking out the numbering system on the planks

Salt was discovered in this area and extracted via brine pits; the brine was put in large pans and the liquid burnt off, leaving the salt residue.  The opening of the canal in the 1770’s made it far easier to transport the salt to the customers.  I had known that salt was extracted in Staffordshire (we are very near a village called Salt) but hadn’t realised how much.  Saying that it was never at the level of Cheshire where, in addition to evaporating brine, it was also mined.  Apparently, the last salt works closed in this area in the 1970s.

On our walk we passed a winding hole which I have since discovered was where a canal arm ran to the salt works at Shirleywich. 

Later in the afternoon we worked outside as the sun was fully out and there was still no rain.  We had to empty some of the winter flowering pots and refill ready for the summer plants.  Karen also potted up some mini sunflowers that she is trying out this year.  It sounds daft, but we saw a boat last year with them fully grown at only 18” so we’ll see how we get on.

So, we didn’t move on Monday and, to be fair, it wouldn’t have been much fun in the wind.  Tomorrow we head for Stone – only nine miles through six locks.  There is a chandlery there that stocks the oil and filters I need for the next engine service that is due shortly.  Sadly, I will probably buy some coal as the last two bags I bought (ready for when the chillier autumn evenings arrive) have been rather depleted since the ‘heat wave’ of just over a week ago.  We will also have a look at summer plants in the town as we remember buying some there three years ago and they did rather well.

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