Kidsgrove to Middlewich.
Clear blue skies welcomed the day but heavy rain was forecast for the afternoon, so I won’t be hanging around. The canal basins in Kidsgrove were navigated and the correct towpath chosen, it’s not that difficult to set off on the wrong canal. The Trent and Mersey is a much larger canal and for the most part has double locks. I was rather dismayed at its ‘mustard’ colour this morning, suspecting pollution, but I was told later that it was rust from the Kidsgrove Tunnel. As countryside was reached, now back in Cheshire, there was a view of Mow Cop Castle a folly built in 1754, again a reminder of my previous Gritstone Trail walk. The mile posts on this canal are metal in contrast to the stone on the Macclesfield, giving a different feel to the banks. Still they prove so useful in determining your whereabouts and progress.Locks were being repaired and stretches of the canal closed so there was not much boat life today and I made quicker progress. Double locks dropped the canal down further and the countryside improved. In parts there were badger sets in the earth on the far bank, I wonder whether Badgers can swim. Pretty canal side cottages were passed.The busy M6 crossed overhead, a complete contrast to down here. At Wheelock I was ready for a sit down and a brew, the pub didn’t open till 4pm but today’s saviour came in the shape of Liz’s Plaice down the road where a mug of tea was 60p. Deserves a mention. Skirting Sandbach the signs of old abandoned chemical works and salt mining became more evident and the landscape took on a flat desolate appearance. Some areas were being redeveloped for masses of Belway housing [other builders are available] but they were hemmed in by industry and train lines – not ideal. But I did think this more upmarket housing by the canal was attractive.The walk deteriorated with a busy main road running alongside and more dereliction on the way into Middlewich. A fairly miserable few miles which I passed through quickly with one eye on the weather. At least I had a ‘welcoming committee’ on the outskirts of town.The canal in Middlewich was busy with locks, boat yards, wharves and holiday cruisers moored up, must be hectic in the summer. Within 15mins of arriving at my lodgings the heavens opened and did so most of the night.