BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘Ogley Junction’

#365daysofbiking Well said

Thursday February 25th 2021 – The pandemic has been hard on all of us.

Locally, they area was plagued for a while by anti-inoculation, pandemic denial graffiti that was persistent and prolific.

I don’t know who finally snapped and replied to them in marker pen over the top of older conspiracy graffiti on Ogley Junction Bridge, but my respect to them.

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#365daysofbiking Looking the other way

Thursday December 3rd 2020 – On an evening ride on a night as the sky was clearing, I headed along the canal to Ogley Junction, and stopped as I usually do on the bridge there, for a moment of contemplation. Normally, I take a shot of the canal back towards Anchor Bridge, but today I turned to the right instead.

Here, the canal continues in a lazy arc to Anglesey Wharf and Chasewater, but before that is passes a notorious area of Brownhills called ‘The Chemical’.

The blue factory unit over there is stood on the site of a Victorian chemical factory and later, an alloy smelting works that poisoned the land, polluted the air and led to it’s descriptive nickname.

The Chemical stood as wasteland for many years until six years ago when the new unit was built as an extension to a local factory. The contaminated soil was encapsulated beneath the new building’s floor, and held safe.

Given a few years, I doubt many folk will ever know why we call this place The Chemical.

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#365daysofbiking The angler

May 20th – Wednesday was better. Things are easing up and I can see light in the darkness, and hopefully, a path back to work, and hopefully a little normality.

Out earlier than usual, I was held up by an angler on the towpath. Nothing unusual about that – one often has to stop and wait for a rod to be lifted or some gear to be be pulled in – but this one was lightly equipped.

I just couldn’t bring myself to disturb it, and it wasn’t being moved by anyone.

I’m more used to herons now – there are so many about, especially in hatchling season – that seeing them is no longer a shock and reach for the camera moment. But seeing one this confident and reluctant to move was a real treat.

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#365daysofbiking Cut both ways

May 5th – The art of the daily exercise ride is quite weird. Used to normally commuting for my daily bike fix, the ride for the sake of it is, I’m ashamed to say, usually short and local.

It has, however, enabled me to get a grip back on what’s wonderful about the place I love and call home.

Here at Ogley Junction, standing on the cast iron footbridge as I have many, many times, on this warm evening it was hard not to be filled with pleasure at the sight of the peaceful canal, the only movement being languid waterfowl and birds swooping for bugs.

Such rides are measured by weight, not distance.

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#365daysofbiking The twilight hour

January 28th – I was due to have a medical procedure next day.I’d left work early so I could make a start and prepare – I had medicine to take soon which meant I wouldn’t be able to stray far from home for long for a while, so a quick loop up the canal to Newtown and back.

At Ogley Junction, the scenery was stark and bleak as night descended.

I like this spot normally. Admittedly, far nicer on a sunny, warm day, but tonight it left me feeling empty and tired.

Perhaps it was the anxiousness for the following day kicking in – I couldn’t really tell.

The twilight hour can be such an unreliable friend.

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#365daysofbiking In the dying hours

December 31st – So it was in the dying hours of 2019 I found myself at Ogley Junction, where I spent much longer than expected. I watched, and listened and thought about my surroundings: An owl over the old boatyard, traffic on the A5. Headlights on Middleton Bridge. The flashes of distant fireworks.The chatter of waterfowl disturbed by a fox.

This year has been arduous, and in places, very hard indeed. Keeping this journal is and has been personally challenging in terms of time and effort required, but I’m so attached to it I wouldn’t dream of stopping now. It’s an addiction.

I may, however, do more days with one post rather than two when busy in future. But my aim is true, I still love this thing, this place and the environment I ride in.

Thank you for following me for another year. I have no idea why you do so, but it’s most welcome. And in the dark and quiet of that old bridge, it didn’t really matter: The attachment I felt was key in those fading, dying, terminal hours of 2019.

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#365daysofbiking Nicely dovetailing

November 24th – On the way back from Chasewater to Brownhills on yet another dull, wet Sunday afternoon following a frankly disappointing winter fair at Chasewater, I wasn’t expecting to find much: But I found something fascinating that’s been staring me in the face for decades and I have never once noticed.

It’s fairly well known that when Abraham Darby bullt the Iron Bridge over the Severn at Coalbrookdale, iron was such a new material that many of the jointing techniques used were adapted from carpentery, as that was the understood skillset of the day.

I noticed for the first time today that the Ogley foorbridge over the cut off stub of the Lichfield branch of the Wyrley and Essington canal – recently refurbished – holds it’s guard sides together with a neat, well fitted dovetail joint in cast iron.

The bridge, dating from around 1850 is a listed structure, and I’m beginning to see why. The rails are constructed in two half-crescents with a dovetail centrally, held rigid by a bolted mating sleeve.

It’s utterly beautiful and means the bridge is thoroughly rigid.

I only noticed due to the rust bleed into the ageing paint.

You can always find something, no matter how grim the weather…

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#365daysofbiking Up the junction


November 2nd – Busy this weekend with stuff at home, so I’m mostly riding out on errands to get materials and suchlike. At lunchtime I had to head over to a DIY store in Chasetown, so in steady drizzle, I took to the canal. The towpaths were sodden, but the riding surprisingly fast.

I’m glad I’ve got stuff to do, this autumn has been terrible for cycling generally, and we’ve had more lost weekends than Lloyd Cole. Were I stuck inside without occupation, I’d be going stir crazy by now. I’m sure of it.

Crossing Ogley Junction over that imperious old iron footbridge, the canal looked grey and foreboding. But I was wrapped up well, warm and dry underneath. Getting past this may take what seems like an age, but better days will come, the sun will return and in a few months, we’ll have daffodils and daylight once more.

All I’ve got to do is hang in there.

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#365daysofbiking The night in my veins

September 7th – I headed over to a silent, deserted Chasewater not optimistic that I could get decent results out of the new camera.

However, having been in this position before, I thought I might sort it out and get used to the foibles of the new device.

The G5X is actually great, and I think it was mastered. Apart from the toad shots, where a bike light was used for illumination, all of the images were taken in almost total darkness by a variety of means and mode settings.

I think I’m getting used to it.

Riding back along the canal after being scared senseless by a stag crashing through the scrub at Anglesey Wharf, I nearly squished poor toad, but it obliged as a model before I popped him into the hedgerow for safety.

I love the night, it’s a lot more beautiful than people would tend to think. Nosey, unsubtle deer excepted.

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#365daysofbiking A new posse


August 3rd – I’ve always loved how the growing Canada geese clutches move into adulthood and still stay in loose family groups as they mature.

I encountered this particular group of beaky blinders at Ogley Junction, but they hatched near Catshill Junction and have been pottering around the local canals ever since. They are notable for being particularly intimidating, with mum (or dad, I never thought to ask) once leaping on my back as I was riding and pecking my head furiously.

This aggression has been passed to the next generation and one or two always take a lunge and hiss defensively at passers by, whatever their mode of transport.

Now in adult plumage, I’m fascinated by the one that appears to be suffering premature greyness and wonder if I should get it a bottle of Grecian 2000 or maybe just a black sharpie pen…

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