For reasons, I’ll explain, I found myself in deepest Cheshire looking around the graveyard of St Bertoline’s Church in Barthomley. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Bertoline%27s_Church,_Barthomley
Mike knew from previous visits the whereabouts of the Stringer and Mc.Vay family graves. They were distant relatives of his recently deceased wife and had been tenants of the nearby White Lion until the 50s. That is where we were heading next for the main reason for our journey, He shares the ownership of a house in France with a couple from Stafford and they are in the process of selling it, so meeting up with them here was like a board meeting. I was along for the ride. Selling houses in France has become complicated with changes introduced by Brexit and made more difficult with Covid restrictions I will miss my visits to their wonderful property in The Lot which I’ve posted about here many times. Strangely the Ribble Valley now has the highest Covid infection rates in the UK, should I be here at all?
David and Glenda were already seated at one of the outside tables at The White Lion, whose history goes back almost as far as the church which overlooks it. The usual catching ups were completed, property business discussed and a good meal enjoyed.Mike suggested a postprandial walk before we hit the motorway north. A few years ago I walked the Cheshire Ring Canal Trail so I knew an interesting section of the Trent and Mersey Canal near Alsager only a few miles away. Luckily, we were able to park on the Old Congleton Road close to an access bridge to the canal. This canal is wide and in the main has double locks, reflecting its previous importance. Glenda and David had to retrace their steps to ensure keeping a later appointment, Mike and I carried on to where the Macclesfield Canal joins in. We followed the latter for a short distance, The Gritstone Trail, before going through a housing development to enter the Lawton Hall estate. The main path led to the fishing lake in the estate woods, large carp could be seen floating just under the surface. The hall, now private accommodation, was glimpsed across well guarded fields. I wanted to visit the medieval church associated with Lawton Hall, and we soon found ourselves climbing the mound on which the church was constructed. As with the church at Barthomley, the mounds were probably ancient burial sites. Back to the canal and then the long motorway drive home.
A nice interlude out of Lancashire and my first pub lunch for a year and a half.