BrownhillsBob's #365daysofbiking

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

Posts tagged ‘towpath’

#365daysofbiking What a difference a snow day makes

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Monday January 25th 2021 – The day was again cold, and the snow didn’t really thaw at all. As I came home from work, I joined the canal towpath at Clayhanger Bridge to see what the tyres were like on compacted, hard snow: I needn’t have worried. They were fine.

Coming up over Catshill Junction Bridge I couldn’t resist a quick photo looking back the way I’d came: I love the way snow completely changes night photography.

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#365daysofbiking Going nuts

Saturday January 23rd 2021 – There was cold weather coming in, with the possibility of snow. I could feel it in the afternoon air as I nipped up to Walsall Wood.

The hazel katkins were having none of it, though: They were coming out and although sparse, were a very welcome splash of light green in a grey winter landscape.

These blooms are the male flowers of the tree, the female ones are tiny. Hopefully the nut crop will not be too sparse this season, despite the thinness of the number of katkins on display…

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#365daysofbiking Softening

April 21st – The evening exercise rides are getting a bit samey and I think I need to vary my palette a wee bit – but it’s quite hard with beauty like this not five minutes out of town.

I took a spin up to Ogley Junction from Brownhills: Just a short, lazy loop from Silver Street. The canal and fields near home farm looked spendid in the warm, softening evening sun.

Machinery is once more on the half-ploughed field, which is interesting, and the oilseed rape is now in full bloom, too.

I never, ever tire of this place. It’s so gorgeous.

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#365daysofbiking Hello, petal

April 2nd – In these difficult and very strange times, I’m finding solace and joy in small things.

On a sunny morning, what can be nicer than the perfect, but very naturally dishevelled beauty of the common daisy, shedding pollen on to it’s perfect white tissue paper petals?

I think I’m starting to return to basic things again.

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#365daysofbiking Hawkish

April 1st – Every day now there’s a new flower to see on every journey – even the short ones.

Adding to the bright yellows of spring, a flower at first glance often mistaken for dandelions. Hawkweed.

This beautiful spring soldier is generally yellow but does come in a variety of colours and types. All dwell on edge lands, verges and in hedgerows.

This profusion of flowers is just what I need right now.

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#365daysofbiking Surface tension

March 11th – Returning home that evening the weather had improved some in that the rain had stopped, the sky had cleared and a reasonable sunset was happening.

I stopped to look behind me in Walsall Wood, and was captivated by the reflection fo the trees on the surface of the canal.

On days like these beauty can be found in unexpected places.

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#365daysofbiking Impressively tolerant

March 7th – The canal was a bad choice of route, as I realised after a short time that the toads were on the move, and the towpath was littered with amphibians taking the cold night air.

Heading to spawning waters, many would not make the perilous land journey from their normal habitats, being lost to traffic and, er… Bike wheels.

Fortunately, as far as I know, I didn’t hit any. I came back on the road, with the lights on full.

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#365daysofbiking Tilt

February 22nd – Something that has got steadily worse over the wet winter has been the imminent collapse of the canal embankment bear the Pier Street bridge. Much of the wall here has been rebuilt, but the older section here has been tilting for years, caused no doubt by the creation of the mound on the common adjacent, settling and pushing it over.

At the moment the angle is perilous and I doubt it will be long before the brickwork gives – it won’t be disastrous but will require a lot of work to fix.

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#365daysofbiking Step on up


January 31st – Wearily plodding to Chasewater – not easy in the post-hospital condition in which I found myself – I stopped to note that the new steps between the McLean Way – the former rail line through Brownhills and the canal at the Newtown Viaduct were now complete, and had a lady feeling channel just like the ones at Bullows Road.

The steps are gorgeous and very well thought out, as I’ve come to expect from this volunteer, mainly OAP led project.

I never thought I’d see this come to pass but I’m so glad it has. My thanks and support go out to all involved.

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#365daysofbiking Unkind cuts

November 17th – The Canal and River Trust are still doing their best to piss me off, their talent for which is so prodigious I doubt they actually have to try.

After grumbling a couple of weeks ago at pointless towpath grass cutting up on the Anglesey Branch on the way to Chasewater, I see they’ve been up on the canal through Brownhills too.

They are cutting grass that the hungry waterfowl would have grazed overwinter. a colony of earthstar fungus has been destroyed. Grass mulch now is all over the paths, bunging up the bike and folk’s shoes. Parts of the grass that were formerly lush and verdant are now a cropped mud bath.

Why? Who the hell cuts grass in winter? This is sheer, pointless, piss-poor grounds management, and an utter waste of desperately needed cash.

Please stop!

A canal towpath is a wild place. That’s it’s charm – a rough cut twice a year would be more than enough.

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