BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Clayhanger’

#365daysofbiking First

Wednesday March 30th 2021 – Sorry for the grainy phone photo, but I found something on my way home tonight on Clayhanger Common that always fills me with joy.

First cowslip of the year.

I know cowslips will never win any wards for complexity or outstanding beauty, but these humble members of the primrose family are so gorgeous, and herald the spring like no other flower.

Coming as the daffodils fade, they assure you that summer is indeed on its way, and when I was a child, were very rare in these parts.

Thankfully, due to declining weedkiller use, improved habitats, and guerrilla seed scatterers like me, Clayhanger Common and other grassy areas are now awash with this wonderful wildflower.

Seeing the first one of the year is always a joy to the very soul.

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#365daysofbiking Defying gravity

Sunday January 31st 2021 – Some trees have a property, and it’s mostly, but not exclusively oak trees – that they do not drop their leaves when they die off in autumn.

Instead, the tree keeps the dead leaf attached, shedding it the following spring.

The behaviour is called ‘Marcescence’ and scientists don’t really know why it occurs. It may be to protect leaf buds from browsing animals like deer, or to faster recover nutrients from the dead leaves by absorbing them back into the tree directly, rather than through the soil.

Whatever the reason, it’s very curious.

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#365daysofbiking Light less

Tuesday January 2th 2021 – The snow hung round and was still quite fresh looking – unusual for snowfalls here, which can be heavy, but rarely last long when down.

Coming home on the canal, I thought I’d try my old muse Clayhanger Bridge in the snow. For some reason I’m having real trouble getting this bridge at night with the current camera. I just don’t think the software in the device knows what to do with the image.

It still came out well though, although much darker than I expected.

I can see that with this camera, I still have lots to learn.

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#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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