BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Catshill’

#365daysofbiking Windswept

March 13th – I’m trying to not work such long hours, and leave work a little earlier.

This meant a commute home in daylight, and so I took the canal from the Black Cock Bridge to Anchor Bridge, which was remarkably wet and muddy.

Catching the sunset over Catshill Junction though made the journey home battling with hostile crosswinds worthwhile.

Hope the wind abates soon.

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#365daysofbiking Glowing

February 2nd – A better, more springlike day was what I expected, and indeed, it was at least decidedly warmer. There was, however, a bitter wind that made progress slow and a the nagging cramps of bad IBS attack niggled at my energy.

Any remaining snow was confined to the shade of hedges and field margins, and the afternoon sun made the red soil of Home Farm at Sandhills glow beautifully.

I note the sheep, now reduced in number, are still working on clearing the field of what I think is kale; its been a real treat seeing them here. IU hope they become a more permanent fixture.

I note the hedges along here have been cut, and as ever, the auto-flail has ripped the hawthorn overgrowth into short, hazardous, thorn-armed fragments, lying on the towpath waiting for a vulnerable tyre.

If you haven’t tough tyres, probably best avoid the stretch between Anchor Bridge and the Ogley Junction Bridge for a couple of weeks or so until the fragments have been cleared or rotted by the weather.

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#365daysofbiking 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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#365daysofbiking Oh flock

Boxing Day – Another day pressed for time, so another short but fast run up the canal. Intrigued to see that there is a flock of several hundred sheep grazing on what I think might be kale on Home Farm, Sandhills.

I don’t think I’ver ever seen livestock on this land before.

I wonder if the sheep are resident on the farm now, or if the crop has been sold for grazing?

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#365daysofbiking Tree of life:

September 29th – Heading out at sunset after what was a pretty bad day, I swung up the canal through town, over Catshill Junction and over to Barracks Lane. The canal was beautiful and peaceful, and the only souls I saw were the waterfowl scudding around looking for food. 

Looking over the fields to Home Farm my favourite tree – the horse chestnut on the skyline just by the farm buildings – is beautifully golden, and glowed in the evening.

All round me now, the greenery is packing up and going for autumn. There’s no ignoring it.

#365daysofbiking Going down:

September 26th – Crossing Cathshill Junction and heading up to Anchor Bridge, I caught it on the cusp of day and night, and realised that soon, I would be doing this once more in darkness.

I don’t know where summer went this year; it seems barely days since I was riding the roaches, eating ice-cream at Blithfield or riding in short sleeves around North Warwickshire.

Time passes so fast these days. It was a good summer – I doubt I’ll ever see one with such consistently fine weather again.

May 5th – A gorgeous day for riding, hindered by the need to do favours for mates and a bit of a bad tummy saw me leave for a fast, warm and beautiful sSaturday Evening ride that really did catch the best of Staffordshire and all that I had been missing with the dreary spring.

You can see a full set from this ride on my main blog by clicking here.

On my way out, I noticed that my favourite tree, the horse chestnut on Home Farm at Sandhills, visible from the canal at Catshill, is now in leaf.

I love that tree. I gauge the seasons by it. It looks beautiful and green.

Summer has begin!

April 25th – The weather is still quite intemperate, but improving. Temperatures climbed at the weekend, then sank again, but on the whole it’s been a drier week – but windier – although the sun too has been welcome.

This improvement has meant trees are now well into the greening phase and it’s starting to look like summer is coming.

With blue skies and emerald embankments and hedgerows, the canal is looking gorgeous again.

It’s a pleasure to see.

March 11th – A ride out to a farmer’s market then on tho Middleton Hall for cake, and back via Hints and the A5. The day wasn’t the best of weathers, but is was pretty good, and I didn’t get rained on until very late in the ride.

I noticed the animals on this ride particularly: the first spring lambs up at Barracks Lane; the goose at Middleton Hall. But what stole it were the cats: the lovely chap drinking from the canal at Catshill Junction; the weary, wary looking farm cat at Raikes Lane; the black tiny one in Fazeley.

Spring must be coming, the cats are starting to emerge.

March 1st – Allegedly the first day of spring, but a better one insomuch as I was better prepared for the cold. I wrapped up better, and rode a more sensible bike. It was just as cold, with more persistent, more powdery snow – but on leaving work early, I did a loop of Brownhills before nightfall to enjoy the spectacle.

Enjoy it I did, although again, the wind and cold were punitive and pugilistic. The powder drifted in clouds like dust devils over canal ice and bone-dry roads. Snow depths went from nothing at all to 150mm. At 4:30pm it was already minus 5 degrees C. When my hair started to develop lumps of ice, I decided to go home.

I noted the gritting operation at the council depot was in full swing, and the grit barn looks very depleted. The coos up at Highfields Farm, Chasewater looked peaceful and unconcerned, and the fox I scared into woodland across the common near Watling Street was as usual for foxes in snow, apparently apologetic for his higher than usual visibility.

These have been remarkable days to be on a bike. They have been very hard, but I wouldn’t have missed them for the world.

It’ll be interesting to see what the weekend brings.