BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘canal’

#365daysofbiking Life in all it’s forms

January 10th – At this time of year, I desperately scan the world around me for signs of the oncoming spring, however small or odd. Today, I spotted one.

This floating root in the canal at Walsall Wood spotted on the way to work is just such a sign. It looks like a random piece of flotsam in amongst the maturing algal bloom which in recent weeks has turned red from green. But this root is actually the front guard for a larger movement.

It’s a water lily rhizome.

These roots break from last year’s dead growth and sink to the floor of the canal, then as spring comes, they gain buoyancy and begin to float. They move with the currents, boats, winds, waterfowl moments and eventually settle and sprout roots.

In high summer they will provide a new carpet of the familiar huge leaves and bright flowers for us to enjoy.

So it’s good news: Lily thinks spring is coming!

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#365daysofbiking Flocking hell

January 9th – I had to nip up to Newtown in the morning, and went via the canal  and Ogley Junction. I was intrigued on the bridge by a quiet but fairly large roost of birds in the trees behind the old lock cottage by The Long Pound.

It turned out they were just wood pigeons.

Whilst very familiar with these ambling, affable birds, I can’t recall seeing flocks of them like this before, but I guess it must be normal.

An intriguing thing on an otherwise very dull morning.

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#365daysofbiking On the dark side

January 5th – Not sure what happened here. it was a decent sunset as I headed from Newtown up to Sheffield on an errand, so I stopped to catch it at Clayhanger Bridge.

This image is not how I remember it: It seemed much lighter at the time, and far less dark.

It actually felt open, light and beautiful, not dark, brooding and dramatic as it looks here.

This camera is very strange sometimes, I must say. (And no, exposure comp wasn’t turned right down.)

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#365daysofbiking Listed

January 5th – I went for a spin up the McLean Way – the rail to trail cycleway that Brian Stringer and Back the Track have been reclaiming on the old South Staffordshire Railway line that runs through Brownhills.

It’s a bit muddy in places but easily rideable on a mountain or off-road bike. The mud is shallow, and sits mostly as a 3 inch layer on top a solid ballast base, so once you cut into in, it rides well.

On the whole it’s brilliant, it really is and a credit to all involved.

This aqueduct over the former railway conducts the Anglesey Branch Canal from it’s terminal feeder point at Chasewater to Ogley Junction. The bridge is a nationally listed building, considered almost unique in construction and style.

It’s in a sorry state, and I think the Canal and River Trust will have to do a fair bit of maintenance before too long.

But it’s a beautiful thing, and incredibly well thought out.

Unusual to see if from underneath.

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#365daysofbiking Waiting for renewal

December 31st – New Years Eve is not a great time for me. I loathe the enforced jollity, the fake optimism for a time beyond an arbitrary boundary and the excess it engenders. I much prefer the days after, when everything settles and normality returns, with the opening out of the days and the promise of good times to come.

Stuck doing bike maintenance all day to keep busy, a test ride around the canal was fun after tea – the towpaths are starting to dry out a bit and the riding was fast and fun.

Brownhills looked festive but somnambulant and was actually very quiet apart from the odd burst of fireworks.

An unexpectedly fun ride.

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#365daysofbiking The blue period

December 28th – A stretch up to Walsall Wood on my way to Aldridge in one of those remarkable but fairly rare blue dusks we sometimes get at this time of year.

There must be a meteorological or astronomical reason for them, but I have no idea other than the fact that they are really, really beautiful. The view from Hollanders Bridge glowed in the cold night.

Reall,  really gorgeous.

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#365daysofbiking Mill stones

December 25th – Happy Christmas!

A traditional Christmas Day bike ride, but only as far as Chasewater sadly and I noticed something I’d not spotted before: The memorial stones along the canal at Millfield near Home Farm at Sandhills, and the fact that the school on the other side have adopted the stretch of canal from Ogley Junction to Anchor Bridge.

This means they’ll tend it and I guess litter pick it and undertake lovely little projects like the individually painted memorial stones, I guess.

Great stuff.

I do wish the school wouldn’t use a windmill for a logo, though. The Mill field the school was built upon was originally that of a steam mill, now flats, pretty much next door to the school. It was a state of the art temple to Victorian mechanisation.

Never mind…

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#365daysofbiking Bandits at 3 O’clock

December 24th – I encounter robbers and hoodlums on my return. They spotted food in my bag and were keen to levy their toll for safe passage, but I shooed them off with the aid of my pump.

I adore the Canada geese despite their aggression. These guys were healthy and full of life and fiercely protective of their group and patch.

Got to respect that really.

They did get some corn from my pocket stash once they settled down…

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#365daysofbiking Slight return


December 18th – It had been a long day – into Brum early, mechanical problems with the bike and then back to Darlaston. It was wet but quite warm when I returned to Brownhills: The state of the towpath between Catshill Junction and Brownhills is now so flooded I usually hop back on the High Street at Anchor Bridge.

The pub always looks so welcoming in the dark.

This is always a long, hard week, but the weather and lack of light really are getting to me.

Come on Christmas, I need a break.

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