BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Chasewater’

#365daysofbiking Looking for peace


Saturday January 9th 2021 – I’d been busy getting financial and administration things in order and dealing with a tricky bike problem all day and slid out late on a fast, quiet circuit of town and ended up at Chasewater.

There was no moon visible and the photography was poor, if I’m honest.

But I did find the peace, fresh air and solace I needed in the quiet solitude of one of my favourite places.

Even in the dark, Chasewater captivates me.

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#365daysofbiking Seeing it out and moving on

New Year’s Eve, Thursday December 31st 2020 – I really hate New Year’s Eve. I’m so glad it’s curtailed this year – the forced jollity and camaraderie, coupled with the ‘we will have fun!’ attitude really kills it for me.

But there is one tradition I always uphold at the year end: A reflective ride to somewhere quiet, to think about the year and in my own way, see it out.

And like most folk, I’m bloody happy to see this one out of the door in person. With bare hands, if necessary, and a large blunt weapon. It’s safe to say it’s been a terrible year.

The pandemic has been awful for us all, and the future, at least until we get the population vaccinated, looks very uncertain. Yet all most of us want, me included, is things back to normal. To be able to stop at a country cafe or pub again. To meet friends. To be with family.

In the dead, icy calm of Chasewater, we rode up the frozen snow to the top of the pit mound as night fell, and waited in the still for night to properly come in. There wasn’t a soul around apart from me and my pal: From here, we could hear the terminal seconds of this terrible year ticking away. It felt good; cleansing.

Back down at the dam, on the way back it was very cold, but the lake so beautifully peaceful: Until a raptor disturbed the gull roost which must have been several tens of thousands strong. The cacophonous taking to flight of the flock was stunning, as was the similarly swift return to peace.

My word this year has been tough – but not as tough as it has been for many, I’ve been lucky. But it has affected me and I feel it deeply. And I’m sorry, readers, that I abandoned this journal for a few months in summer. I just couldn’t cope with it at that time. I’m sorry I let you down. I promise I will not waver again.

So here’s to a new year, with maybe better prospects. Hopefully we’ll meet again this time next year – with a full year’s photos between – and recall this year as a past, distant and very bad memory.

Here’s to that thought. Happy new year to you all: Let us not dwell on the past. We must move on.

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#365daysofbiking Snow… And a touch of colour

Monday December 28th 2020 – It had snowed a little, and I headed out before lunch to catch something I thought would be fleeting – I love cycling in snow.

It was very wet, and only an icing sugar dusting on the whole. It was noticeably less over Stonnall and Wall than it was back through Hammerwich, Chasetown and Chasewater, which I found interesting.

Be warned that the road is flooded to some depth at Cranebrook Lane, Hiton, between the Pouk Lane and Boat lane junctions, just before the rise for the motorway flyover. It’s deep. I suspect this may be rated to increased load on Crane Brook with Chasewater in spate.

Splashes of colour caught my eye: The robin in Stonnall Churchyard, and also the old, minimalist gravestone with partially coloured lettering.Wonder whose stone that was?

The snowman and postbox decorations at Hammerwich were lovely.

An interesting change in the weather!

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#365daysofbiking Going with the flow

Tuesday December 15th 2020 – For the most of the last year or so, Chasewater has been full to overflowing, or very near it. I guess with the pandemic there haven’t been the boat movements on the canal, and not as much demand for water. But it also seems the authorities prefer to keep it full these days.

For most of my youth the lake oscillated between full and very low, but since the dam work a decade ago, it’s been maintained much higher.

It’s been flowing over the weir and into the spillway, and ultimately into the Crane Brook for months now, which I’m sure is contributing to flooding near Hilton, but I can’t be certain.

It’s fascinating to watch though, and good for the wetland on the spillway.

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#365daysofbiking Inverted again

Friday December 11th 2020 – We’re seeing a lot of inversions at the moment, where the air temperature relationship with the ground is the opposite to normal, resulting in a low level mist that can be really stunningly dramatic.

I was working from home and sensed an inversion happening, so shot out to Chasewater with a pal. We were not disappointed. The heath, being naturally wetland, readily throws up a mist into the cold air clamped to the ground, and it caught the dying sunlight beautifully.

It was also evident on the lake surface, but very patchily.

A beautiful evening to be out, and I’m glad I caught it.

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#365daysofbiking Approaching zero

Sunday November 22nd 2020 – I slipped out late afternoon on errands, and caught the sunset at Chasewater, as beautiful as ever, but the riding was fast and easy so I headed in a loop over to Castle Ring, Dollymaker Hill and Stoneywell, returning via Fulfen and Burntwood. It was a great ride.

I always feel shocked you can see Dudley Castle from Gentleshaw.

I’m pleased I changed over to winter tyres a couple of weeks ago; as I neared home I felt the familiar crackle of freshly gritted roads for the first time this season – the cold nights were clearly coming in. We were expecting a frost, and the temperature hovered around two degrees.

I felt cold, and my forehead and ears burned; but it was mostly a lovely night ride. I must do this more often.

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#365daysofbiking Saville glow


Wednesday November 11th 2020 – Working from home I don’t seem able to get out in actual daylight. It’s like a mental block: I want to, I just don’t seem able to manage it. I think it’s some kind of guilt reaction for feeling like I’m skiving.

However, on a quick blast around Chasewater and over to Chasetown, there’s a great night-time photo spot on the green footbridge over the Chasetown bypass that has been a muse for some years, due to the way it interacts with the nearby road lighting.

The effect of the yellow sodium light falling through the wonderfully geometric bridge steelwork is thoroughly gorgeous, and reminds me a lot of designs by that icon of Manchester and Factory Records, Peter Saville.

So perhaps coming out after nightfall has it’s positive aspects, then…

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#365daysofbiking Reflecting on failure

Thursday November 5th 2020 – I went to Chasewater to try to catch bonfire night fireworks, without much success. I’ve never had much luck with long exposure firework images, I guess I don’t have the required attention span.

Chasewater itself though was as gorgeous as ever and the glassy nature of the water and the few sparkles I caught on the horizon were evocative.

Oh well, maybe next year…

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#365daysofbiking Recovery

Saturday, October 31st 2020 – A lazy day spent at home avoiding torrential rain, high winds and attending to bike maintenance issues that had cropped up in the previous day’s long ride.

I had to nip out for shopping so went late to catch the supermarket quiet, and for a change, I decided to go to Morrisons in Burntwood.

Returning via Chasewater, and realising I’d left the SD card from the camera in my computer, I tried a night photo on phone: It didn’t turn out to badly.

I’ve missed Chasewater lately. I must get up there more often.

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