Now we have a new use for the emergency umbrella bought during a rainstorm in Manchester – sheltering the crew from the scorching sun!
This route south is a familiar one to us but there's always the opportunity to spot something new. Like the fact that restoration work has finally started on the Lion Salt Works at Marston with the aid of £8m in Heritage Lottery funding.
The knowledgeable landlord of the Salt Barge pub there filled us in on the history of salt mining in the area. Originally solid salt was extracted with the caverns propped up on pillars of salt left in place then in later years the workings flooded and as the water became salinated the brine was extracted and dried in pans at the likes of Lion to reveal the salt. Only snag was that as the brine was removed, fresh water entered the caverns, absorbed the salt from the pillars and, eventually, the whole lot caved in. Hence the number of water filled 'flashes' and collapsed buildings in the area.
|One of the large flashes beside the canal|
|Brian enjoying the weather!|
After Middlewich the industrial landscape gradually gives way to agriculture and the whole scene looked splendidly English in the sunshine. Tonight we are moored on the edge of Stoke with just a couple of locks and the Harecastle Tunnel until we reach the city.
In the village churchyard we also chanced upon an early 19th century memorial to a Cornishman who died in the area while working for the Trent & Mersey Canal Company and erected in his mmeory by them.
These chance discoveries are what continue to make the canals so enjoyable to travel along.