BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Chasewater’

#365daysofbiking Fade from grey

November 30th – A misty, murky day definitely not conducive to good photography. It had been very frosty, but by the time I had change to get out with time on my hands, the frost had gone.

I had business in Burntwood and went via Chasewater and Brownhills Common – the dam looked really eerie in the fog. Spiderwebs on gorse caught water droplets and became precious.

A cold, grey but starkly beautiful day.

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#365daysofbiking Level pegging

November 24th – At some point between last week and this, Chasewater’s level increased and it overtopped the spillway weir, but now is sits a couple of inches below this, yet the canal valve remains closed off. How could it be so?

I remembered there is a small valve-controlled weir bypass sluice in the back of the 9-Foot embankment, and for the first time ever, it was open. I’m not altogether clear why.

Releasing water into the full canal would mean loading the Ford Brook/Tame waterway through Walsall and Birmingham via the overflow system, so releasing to the spillway would mean the water goes via the crane brook to meet the Tame near Tamworth, which would be better. I suppose using the sluice allows the dropping of the level of the main reservoir in a much more controlled fashion and creates buffer space if necessary.

It’s very unusual and I don’t think I’ve seen this approach in the seven years since Chasewater was refilled.

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#365daysofbiking Cleaning the equipment

November 23rd – Despite the wet, I had the urge to pop down the Fly Bay track to the north heath. It wasn’t luck, I think my innate deer magnet pulled me that way.

And there they were – a handsome, young stag and his harem mud bathing. He had clay on his antlers that he cleaned off on a bush, the pleasure this gave evident in the stag’s expression.

Within minutes the ladies were on the move, and he drifted after them – a lovely sight on a wet, grey afternoon.

My companion and I were transfixed, and these are not my photos – but I was stood right there when they were taken…

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#365daysofbiking Damper and dampers

November 23rd – Another headache-grey wet day, with a better ride out than expected. I drifted over to Chasewater in the constant drizzle to visit the model shop there, and then went up the causeway to the North Heath.

With barely a soul around, and it actually being quite warm, it gave me chance to take in the misty, grey atmosphere that Chaewater can and does wear so very well.

I studied the power lines with their anti-harmonic and anti-gallop dampers, and wondered at the stress – both mechanical and electrical – they must be under in conditions like these.

And in the scrub and marsh there was muted colour – but colour all the same – in the foliage of the heather and marshgrass, and the marcescent  oaks that pepper the ridge.

The fresh air felt good in my lungs and I’m starting to not mind the rain either – the sort of meteorological Stockholm syndrome one only gets at the end of winter or during very wet summers.

Some cold weather might be nice, though.

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#365daysofbiking So close

November 10th – Up at Chasewater to hopefully catch the beautiful sunset that never happened, it was clear the reservoir would overtop the weir this week and water would once more flow out into the spillway and Crane Brook, for the first time in a couple of years.

The authorities seem to like to let the lake fill completely every winter now – something that rarely happened previously, presumably to stress test the dam after work to strengthen it a decade ago.

Despite the wind the Nine-Foot pool was glass still and early quiet as dusk fell, maybe in anticipation of the moment when the water finally crossed over…

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#365daysofbiking The colours of the night

November 3rd – I was hoping the inversion had settled on Chasewater, as that can be stunningly beautiful – but sadly, it was as clear as a bell, and the same went for Brownhills too.

My companion and I busied ourselves with long exposure shots of the beautiful, deep sunset, which was sadly short lived but enchantingly purple, and of the skyline and clouds which were really quite pronounce at times.

Returning down the Black Path through Holland Park, the sodium lights there mixed beautifully with the autumn colours to make a very isolated, spooky place hauntingly beautiful.

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#365daysofbiking Deer in the mist

 

November 3rd – Sunday meant an afternoon trip over to Burntwood to help a relative with a job, which on such a dull, overcast and periodically rainy afternoon was a welcome diversion.

Returning as night fell, my attention was snagged by a very localised, patchy inversion, leading to a trapped cloud on mist on the secondary pitches at Chasetown Rugby Club.

And who was luring by the goal in the murk? Possibly Englands new front line, corvine-style…

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#365daysofbiking It doe matter

October 27th – It’s nice to note the rabbit population on the dam at Chasewater seems to be booming again. They were here and down in the basin for years, but myxomatosis swept through a couple of years ago and the warrens dwindled to nothing.

Now, the bunnies are back and I watched this apparently elderly doe feed for a while. He companions scarpered, but she was made of sterner stuff, keeping an eye on me but not being distracted from cropping the turf.

Can’t help wondering what they might be doing for the structure of Chasewater’s largely earth dam, though…

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#365daysofbiking Surrendering to the darkness

October 27th – Of course, at 2am the winter started for me: The clocks went back an hour for another winter, and soon, my commutes to and from work will be mostly in darkness.

I hate the awful ritual of condemning ourself to the negative and depressing early evening darkness, but as a nation we seem hidebound to it.

However, it hadn’t been a bad day and I headed out to see if the sunset would be as spectacular as the day before – it was, in it’s own way.

Autumn has come to The Parade which is now looking gorgeous, and Chasewater was serene and gorgeous as night fell indecently soon. My return along the canal with a good companion was more fun in the dark than I expected, and low light photography was experimented with.

Mostly, the darkness can be bearable if you stop fighting it.

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#365daysofbiking The united colours of autumn

October 13th – A low, tired recovery day, still wrecked from the last week’s intense work schedule and a cold that just wouldn’t lift.

A late, slow bimble to Chasewater rewarded me with more amethyst deceivers – the little purple toadstools I found on the common last week – mingled with fly agaric in their usual spot on the sandy bank near Wharf Lane Bridge.

I note the feels near Meerash oil Hammerwich are still yellow with some blooming crop. Must go take a closer look.

Plenty of other fungi abounded: After an unpromising start, we really are getting some stunning specimens.

Chasewater was wind-blasted and stark, but host to an absolutely huge gull roost. The noise was astounding and impressive.

Returning on the Back Path I was reminded abruptly of an autumn hazard: Slippery leaves. Watch out folks, they can steel your wheels from under you. Thankfully I stayed upright.

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