Saturday, 5 May 2007

One you see; One you don't

Today we left the Staffs and Worcs Canal, turning left at Great Haywood to head up the Trent & Mersey. No time today to visit Shugbrough Hall. It's Saturday - not a day we normally travel - and we want to keep out of the way of the hire boats.
On the last stretch of the S&W we crossed Tixall Wide - a stretch of canal which was widened to present a satisfying vista for the owners of Tixall House. The original house was built in 1580 by Sir Walter Aston, and Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned here for tow weeks in 1586. Sadly this house and a its successor built in 1780 are no more. However, the Gatehouse remains - and so does the view. Although we did not see any of the kingfishers for which this area is noted, there were plenty of ducks and geese around with their young.

Often as we pass these little families one baby will get separated from the rest by our passage. The stranded chick then tries to get round in front of us to be reunited with its siblings and mother and it is amazing to see the effort expended in this impossible endeavour. At times they appear to stand up and run on the water before sinking down into a more traditional stance. Usually fatigue is their saviour and as they give up the unequal race, we move forward from them to reveal the remaining family still squeaking vociferously.
Soon after joining the T&M we pass Ingestre. Like Tixall Gatehouse, Ingestre Pavillion is a Landmark Trust property but whilst the Gatehouse sits in spleandour, the Pavillion is not visible form the canal.

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