BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘nine-foot’

#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 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 Clear water rising

October 9th – A rare journey to Chasetown in the morning saw me crossing Chasewater on a decent morning.

I noticed at the Nine Foot that the water level, thanks to recent rains, is now less than 200mm off full. It’s been a coupe of years since the reservoir was this full.

I don’t know why but I always get a childish thrill from seeing the water flow down the spillway.

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#365daysofbiking Hair and gone

March 23rd – Meanwhile, over with the red deer at Chasewater, the seasonal moult has started, and the ladies who looked so healthy and fine a week ago now look like threadbare old rugs. They are also covered in dried mud, which they roll in to try and liberate the irritating cold weather coat.

It’s natural of course, to lose the winter coat, and the scruffiness will soon pass; but my favourite ladies always look so grim at this time of year.

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#365daysofbiking On the up

March 10th – Despite the generally rather dry winter, Chasewater continues to fill after the rain of the last few weeks,  and the slow rise is evident at the Nine-Foot pool.

Elsewhere on the lake, there were no watersports and next to nobody around, and the fierce, indefatigable wind kept all by the hardy away. But for all that the light was beautiful and the air at least made me feel a bit better.

I look forward to calmer, warmer weather.

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#365daysofbiking Rising, steadily rising

January 27th – It’s good to see the water rising again at Chasewater. I noticed today that the level had now reached the balancing culverts at the Nine Foot Pool, and now was probably around a metre off being full.

This is quite good progress considering how low the level was late last year to facilitate anti-erosion work on the causeway.

Of course, to make up that last metre, it takes a lot of rain, but it will be nice to see it full once more.

Tat awful quandary, the needed but unwanted rain…

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June 23rd – Slipping out to catch the sunset after a much needed rest day, and the weather gods didn’t let me down.

I’m experimenting (again) with a new camera to me – a Canon G1X. Liking it so far but I think it may be a bit advanced for this poor snapper.

A gorgeous evening, but the sheer amount of bugs that rose all of a sudden on the dam as night fell were a bit of a trial.

March 5th – Chasewater was a blessed relief, but a mud bath. The North Heath was so wet, I was surprised to see the red deer browsing it over by the railway, seemingly unconcerned that they must have been paddling in the water.

There was a well-dispersed herd of maybe 14 adults, peaceful and in good health. It’s been a while since our paths crossed, so it was a nice reward to see them on such a grim, unpleasant afternoon.

I noted with some amusement that there’s a deer run developing around the fence by the Nine-Foot Pool – I wonder if they’re using the canal bridge on the far side to avoid the toll road?

February 26th – The water level at Chasewater is lower than I’ve seen it for a while. Interestingly, rather than open the valves fully, there’s a good flow into the canal, and the balancing culvert between the Nine-Foot pool and Spillway has been opened, allowing a steady stream of water to flow into the Crane Brook via the drain system under the canal.

I understand why the level is being dropped – with the dam being permeable, if installing drains you want the installation to be as dry as possible – but I’m puzzled by the method. It has, however, been convention since the original dam works to allow the reservoir to overflow every spring, so perhaps this is to irrigate the spillway marsh as it would be normally.

Interesting too to see the white scale around the lowered waterline. It that salt, or something else?

June 25th – Swans are inscrutable, they really are. On the Nine-Foot Pool at Chasewater, with the level still just about overflowing, a pair of birds sleep on the concrete spillway weir, seemingly oblivious to the natural plant detritus around them.

To me, the spot they doze in looks uncomfortable, chilly and precarious, but to them, it’s clearly just the right place to get some shut-eye.

Occasionally, I realise how much I don’t know about wildlife.