It was a very gloomy and wet morning so we didn't struggle out of bed too early. There were still some dog walkers passing the windows. As we don't have to be anywhere very quickly we decided to wait until the weather was supposed to brighten up, or at the least stop raining.
Helen took the opportunity to cut my hair as she was saying that I was looking a bit fuzzy. I keep telling her that she should wear her glasses more. Anyway I am now cropped, and still have both ears, so it can't be too bad. She then went on to do a bit of baking and as you can see from the photo I thoroughly enjoyed my test piece!
There are acres and acres of fields covered in plastic sheeting here abouts and then weighed down at the edges with plastic bags of earth to stop it blowing away. I understand that this is another result of Brexit, believe it or not! As the Euro is so much stronger crop imports from Europe are more expensive. The sheeting is put down to warm the soil up which means the planting and development of the plants can be speeded up. In some circumstances the picking of the crop can be brought forward as much as 45 days. This would only be worth it for more expensive cash crops I assume. It is left down for about six weeks before being lifted and stored ready for the following year.
This is the Halsall Navvy by Thompson Dagnall. It was erected in 2004 and was commissioned by the West Lancs Council to commemorate the place where the first sod of the Leeds and Liverpool canal was actually cut. It is of millstone grit and is quite striking.
The Saracens Head, just through the bridge by the sculpture is one of many of the name and the name is supposed to lead back to the days of the Crusades when Saracens and Turks, (Turks Head is another pub name often seen), would have been the enemy. It could be that the local landowner, or other prominent person, had been on the Crusades.
As well as large areas of fields being covered with plastic sheet, there are also large areas with nothing on at all. Being an area that will have intensive production of vegetables I expect the there would have to be a crop rotation system, leaving some fields fallow perhaps, but I would have thought a cover crop, maybe to fix nitrogen would have been added, and also maybe it would attract a subsidy for assisting wild life. Maybe something else that will change with leaving the EU.
The actually site of the cutting of the firsy sod of the canal was a little further down the canal at Hasall Cutting. It is no Shropshire Union cutting but in this flat land a feature non the less. I wonder if they started here as they would need the waste they dug out somewhere close by to form an embankment?
Or was it just that the cutting was handy for the Honourable Charles Mordaunt of Halsall Hall, requiring no travel? The sign is not exactly a 'illuminated manuscript', brass plaque type of sign is it? But then again not so expensive to keep replacing when vandalised or stolen! What a jaundiced soul I have developed.
Just after Haskayne this frog chorus is situated on a bungalow. I wonder if they have eaten the Beetles, but they don't seem very fat!
Downholland Hall is found on Blacka Moor Lane, which was another name for a Saracen/Turk in the old days! Coincidence? The farmhouse dates from the 17th Century and is brick and slate with some sandstone. The mullioned windows make it very distinctive here abouts.
It looks like the Coxhead's Swing Bridge has been recently updated. It is now fully electrified with all the bells and whistles. I seems to remember that last time we passed you had to manually close the barriers!
There seems to be a bit of spot dredging going on near Jackson's Bridge a little further on. They are digging right over an aqueduct so I hope they don't take too big a bight. Mind you the culvert is well below the level of the canal.
Helen had been striding out on the muddy tow path, trying to get her steps in for the day. I stopped for a short time just before we arrived at out overnight stop at Lydiate.
We are moored opposite the Mersey Motor Boat Club moorings here. They seem to have several sites along the cut. One of the guys was at his boat and he warned us not to stop at Bridge 9, where the 'convoy' into Liverpool assembles, as last time he was there there was all sorts of trouble with youths running on the roof etc. I have also received an email from C&RT that a convoy will no longer be made up after 16th April as it will be do it yourself all the way, just with restrictions on when you can activate the bridges and locks all the way into the docks. That will save a bit of money.