BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Clayhanger’

#365daysofbiking Whitening

Thursday January 7th 2021 – I slipped out of work as Paul Simon might have said, onto a freshly fallen silent shroud of snow. It was fun to ride home in, but very cold. We’ve not had a cold snap in several years now and this is being quite a shock to my ageing system I can tell you.

Heading up the Spot Path across Clayhanger Common the snow was pristine, and nothing except owls and the sound of snorting deer in the wood nearby dared disturb the peace.

I love evenings like this, but my knees don’t!

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#365daysofbiking Hardened

Wednesday December 30th 2020 – I was less keen to ride far today – overnight the partially thawing snow had frozen solid, formed hard pack-ice and I needed to gently find out how the tyres I’m currently using – Continental Top Contact II Winter – would cope.

I needn’t have worried. Not as good as studs, but perfectly acceptable without the noise and rolling resistance. A run up the canal and back through Clayhanger after night fell was enough to find out what I needed.

I think I can happily commute on these now.

The canal is partially frozen – about a IC2 on the Dra Marland canal scale.

Be nice if we had a real snowfall, I think. We’re due a really cold winter.

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#365daysofbiking That’s enough for now, please

Wednesday December 16th 2020 – Talking of water, the overflow at Clayhanger Bridge, safely conducting the excess canal water to the Tame via the Ford Brook is at a fair pelt in this wet season. I really am getting fed up of the mud and rain and would like a dry spell for a while.

With everything that’s going on in the world, would it be really be too much to ask for a cessation in the mud and wet grime of urban life with daily rain?

I shan’t hold my breath but I fear I might be getting webbed feet.

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#365daysofbiking Dark light

Monday December 14th 2020 – I have no idea why, but sometimes, just sometimes, there’s a strange twilight that conveys not light, but darkness. It happens at dusk, often with low, patchy cloud on days that have been changeable.

The light takes on an almost oily quality. The view here is normally fairly open over the canal to Clayhanger Bridge, but this evening’s light, in it’s contrast and dingy shadow, make it look confined and closed.

I’ve no idea what this is technically about, but it’s fascinating.

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#365daysofbiking Spot check


Wednesday December 2nd 2020 – Nipping to Clayhanger on an evening errand, I took the ‘new’ Spot path – the footpath that goes between Bridge Street, over the Common (’Spot’) by the settling pools and comes out by Pier Street pedestrian bridge.

It’s the ‘new’ path as it was created in the early 1980s while Clayhanger Common was being reclaimed from an old refuse tip, and served as a diversion for a shorter, more direct path called ‘Spot Lane’.

Spot Lane was reinstated as a footway when the common was complete, but the new path remained, and I’ve always preferred it. It’s especially atmospheric at night.

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#365daysofbiking Inverted

Wednesday November 25th 2020 – I took to the canal towpath on the way home which was a bit of a mistake as it had rained a fair bit in the morning, and the way was lined with muddy puddles that made for damp legs.

But there was a treat waiting.

As I travelled, my headlight started picking up swirls of mist over the water, and by the time I was near the new pond and Clayhanger Bridge, there were appreciable clouds of vapour rising and tumbling above the water, but only in short stretches, whereas others were clear.

This phenomena is a meteorological inversion and is absolutely captivating to watch.

The bike headlight did a great job of lighting the scene up. It really was gorgeous. Best I’ve seen for a few years.

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#365daysofbiking Sheen

Thursday November 12th 2020 – Heading home from an afternoon at work and the weather was grim: Blustery and damp.

I took a different route home to usual, to tack along the wind. I stopped on the crest of Clayhanger Bridge to adjust my jacket and looked behind me towards the Lindon Road.

That night-sheen of wet tarmac. It doesn’t matter how bad things are, or how grim the location, there’s something attractive about it. It fascinates and captivates me.

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#365daysofbiking Light on the surface

Wednesday, October 14th 2020 – The darkness, as I’ve pointed out, allows me a different selection of subjects, often ones which aren’t particularly interesting in the daylight, yet come to life at night or in twilight.

One of those is my old muse of Clayhanger Bridge and the canal overflow nearby.

I don’t know what it is, but there’s something about the way the streetlight on the bridge, the reflections on the water and the sky and skyline combine. And the whole thing seems to vary hugely depending on the weather and time of evening.

I’ll never tire of it, even if readers do…

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#365daysofbiking This endless world of water

Tuesday, October 6th 2020 – Coming back from work at a more reasonable hour, I ventured onto the canal for the colours of autumn, and although they were beginning, everything was still decidedly emerald in tone.

It had been raining heavily, periodically throughout the day – frequently at the same time as sunshine – and the towpath was sodden.

The Canada geese didn’t mind though, and just mugged me for corn a usual.

Always nice to see and hear the overflow in full pelt. Such a life-asserting thing.

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#365daysofbiking Inhaling green:

Wednesday, September 16th 2020 – While I’ve been away the canals have continued as they ever were, with small changes. They got very busy with pedestrians and cyclists for a while, a product of fair weather and lockdown, so the towpaths were well worn, and the cessation in mowing gave my beloved orchids a sporting chance this year. But the waterfowl, plants and colours were broadly as ever.

Reassuringly, beautifully, peacefully as ever.

The one change that’s been interesting is the azolla bloom that dominated the water surface in 2019 has largely faded, and in its death left sporadic patches of more traditional clumping algae, which must be a pain for waterfowl and boaters alike.

There are still traces of azolla, which was a surface invasive surviving a mild winter, but it was non-stringy and readily parted for birds and watercraft, but it’s mostly gone.

On a dull, grey autumn afternoon, the green and peace here were so welcome, I felt like I was inhaling them.

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