BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

On a bike, riding somewhere. Every day, rain or shine.

Posts tagged ‘canal’

#365daysifbiking Lining up the cast

February 13th – A ride into work on a pleasant, sunny and mild morning saw me take to the canal from Walsall to Darlaston, mainly to check on swan couple Arnold and Flossie, who had enchanted me last week.

They’re still around, still very much a couple and were just loafing, grazing the canal bottom and green shoots of reedmace. They seem in rude health and only looked cross when they realised I had no treats for them.

Looking on carefully was an enemy they may need to watch out for if they hatch a brood: Grey herons won’t bother a grown swan, but they will take hatchlings. They’ll need to be vigilant.

And so, slowly, the spring sets up it’s cast and characters…

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#365daysifbiking Snoozing it out

February 7th – I have a new pair of pals and I’ve called them Arnold and Flossie.

This pair of young swan mates have been hanging about the canal at Bentley Bridge, between Pleck and Darlaston for a few weeks now and are surprisingly tolerant of human company.

I suspect they may well nest this year, which would be nice to see.

On this windy but otherwise pleasant, sunny morning they were both dozing on the towpath, out sheltering out of the wind when I stopped. They both listened while I talked to them and they allowed me to take photos without too much grumping.

I look forward top seeing more of these gorgeous characters in coming months.

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#365daysifbiking Under the bridge

February 6th -The lighter evenings, although coming on fast now, have not reached the far end of my commute, and I tend to do the canal less in the dark, as riding the towpaths at night – even with my excellent front light – is a constant mental grind.

Approaching Clayhanger Bridge on my way back to Brownhills, I stopped to check a text, and realised how bright my light was, to catch Clayhanger Bridge like that.

It’s still a constant effort not to end up taking an early bath, though…

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#365daysifbiking Truculence

February 2nd – Up by Middleton Bridge, two likely characters loiter and preen on the ice, regarding me with grumpy, truculent eyes.

I feel for the waterfowl this weather, they don’t have much open water, and most of that will be full of Canada geese and Mallards, who are both just shouty, loud idiots and must drive cultured birds like swans mad.

Still, at least that answered the IC scale question well enough…

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#365daysifbiking Fifty shads of bloody grim

January 26th – The weather didn’t improve at all, and considerably worsened. It was windy, grey and grim. I slipped out briefly for a circuit around a wet, muddy canal at the fall of dusk and got wet and felt miserable.

The weather at the moment is warm, but not pleasant. I hope this isn’t a portent of a bad summer, but I guess we might be due one.

The only brightness was my favourite tree, the majestic horse chestnut at Home Farm, Sandhills, still looks wonderful and will soon, hopefully, be in leaf.

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#365daysifbiking Just ice

January 23rd – The journey home was not so enjoyable. The snow had thawed, but it had gone cold again, and there was a lot of ice. I made an awful decision to try the canal between the Black Cock Bridge and Brownhills, and the towpath was barely ridable: The thawing snow had frozen hard and the problem was not the ice, but the ruts in it which were numerous when they took your wheel.

Almost worth it though for my regular muse Clayhanger Bridge at night, with a very different appearance for a change.

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#365daysifbiking IC


January 18th – A very cold, hazard-ridden commute as I got used to riding on ice – all be it with ice tyres – again. It takes time to reassure yourself that they actually work.

The road gutters and towpaths had some lurking black ice and it was rather cold.

Still only an IC1 on the fabulous Dry Marland canal ice scale though….

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