BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘reservoir’

#365daysofbiking It’s all going on

Friday March 19th 2021 – Crossing Chasewater on a dull Friday with raindrops on the wind threatening a soaking that thankfully, never materialised, I stopped on the motorway bridge and looked down to the lake.

It was good to note the emergence of the leaves on the trees in the copses and hedgerows flanking Pool Lane. It didn’t feel like spring, but it was certainly coming.

Busily, quietly, the time of renewal is getting underway – it’s all going on.

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#365daysofbiking Going with the flow:

Sunday March 14th 2021 – An errand over to Burntwood meant crossing Chasewater dam for a second day running. I note that the water level in the Nine-Foot pool is still high and overflowing into the spillway.

With the lack of boat traffic on the canals due to lockdown, there has not been the demand for water in the canals, and Chasewater has filled and been in overflow for most of the last twelve months. Over winter particularly, through very wet weather, releasing water into the canal to flood the upper Tame overflows would be problematic, so the excess has been steadily feeding the alternative path via the spillway to the Crane Brook, to some local consternation.

An odd effect of the pandemic, it’s worth remembering that when water is released in large volumes it doesn’t just affect us locally, but all the way down the drainage system.

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#365daysofbiking Glad to see it


Friday February 26th 2021 – It looks like I was right: The period of fine sunsets has commenced.

Some springtimes, it’s better than others, but that’s the luck of the weather.

I spotted it coming on, and powered up the canal on the daily exercise ride to Chasewater where it looked superb, and despite the biting cold, it was fabulous to witness. Catching the moon over my favourite tree at Sandhills on the way back was a real bonus, too.

We really do live in a wonderfully beautiful area.

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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 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 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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