20180326_Cawston Sunset

20180325-01_Cawston Sky – Rugby – Warwickshire

Photo, just because …. well, just because sunsets are beautiful, especially when the clocks have just gone forward and finally spring time is allowed to begin leaving winter behind (well let’s hope so anyway).

I just love big skies and sunsets – Cliched maybe, but hey what’s wrong with a cliche every now and again?

20180325-01_Cawston Sky - Rugby - Warwickshire

T.T.F.N. Gary

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20170331_A short Robin Hoods Bay walk on the beach

20170331_A short Robin Hoods Bay walk on the beach

Along the Beach from Boggle Hole to Robin Hoods Bay Village and Back Again

20170331-28_Big Skies over Coastal Cliffs - Robin Hoods BayWhen : 31 March 2017
Who : Just Me
Where : North Yorkshire Moors and Coast
Start and End Point : NZ954,038
Distance : Approx 3 miles (5 km)

Significant heights : Nothing to speak of … except the paths around Robin Hoods Bay village streets, which are quite steep, but you don’t have to go exploring if you don’t want to.

20170331_Boggle Hole to Robin Hoods Bay Photographic WanderWhole Walk Summary :
A wander from Boggle Hole to Robin Hoods Bay village on the beach and wave cut platforms, just enjoying a drop of sunshine, taking photo’s and generally taking it easy.

Took most of the day to walk about 3-miles, wandering back and forth trying to take arty pics of rocks and cliffs, including a wander around the village itself.

If you click on a pic’, it should launch as a larger image on my photostream on Flickr … a right click should give you the option of launching in a separate window/page.

If you’d like to see more pic’s, please use “this link” to go to the full set that I’ve uploaded to flickr. There’s another thirty nine images to see if you’re interested.

I was staying at Boggle Hole Youth Hostel, but rather than start at the hostel’s front door, I’ll 20170329-65_Boggle Hole Youth Hostelstart my description from the small car park just up the road (and steeply up hill) from the hostel so making it more like someone just parking up for the day. In reality, it’s also quite accurate from the “walk’s point of view”, ‘cause as it was my last day of my short break, I had to transport all my gear from the youth hostel up to the car park and load the boot up with my bags etc.

20170329-64_Boggle Hole Humourous Warning SignThe car park itself is free, with an honesty box for donations towards its up-keep, but of course, I suppose this could well change in the future. For your info’ the car park is situated at the end of Bridge Holm Road.

So, I stuck all my gear in the boot of the car, raised ruck sack onto my back (very lightly packed as it was to be an easy short day) and slung my camera bag over a shoulder which actually weighed more than my rucksack. Once set, I headed back down the steep hill 20090827-09_End of the road - Boggle Holetowards Boggle Hole Youth Hostel. By the way, please heed the warning signs and DO NOT drive down here thinking it’ll save a bit of a walk down to the beach. The road drops straight down to the beach area, just becoming a cobbled slipway at the bottom, and gets covered when the tide is in. The only motor-powered access is for the youth hostel service vehicles only, and they can only get 20170329-01_Boggle Hole Beach and Youth Hostelright up to the hostel when the tide is out and when the stream isn’t too full.

Once I’d made my way back down the tarmac to the youth hostel and then the cobbled slipway had been negotiated once again, I headed out onto the beach area, with the sole purpose of wandering around trying to find interesting photo-opportunities, which I figured wouldn’t be too difficult as I think this is a really interesting section of coast here.

20170331-03_Mill Beck - Mini Cascades across the beach - Boggle HoleBoggle Hole Youth Hostel is an old mill building set down in a steep side valley, through which Mill Beck flows. When the tide is out, the stream flows directly out onto the beach and then spreads out over a series of broad rocky steps as a number of little cascades, eventually making its way to the sea, joining the waves and waters of The North Sea. When the tide is in however, the beach disappears completely, the sea coming into the valley mouth, right up to the youth hostel. In fact, when the tide is in, there is absolutely no access onto the beach, as the sea comes in as far as and up the base of the surrounding cliffs.

20170331-11_Rocky Beach + Cliffs - Boggle HoleThe cliffs here-abouts are not the tallest in the country by any means and are made of quite soft material and as such are easily eroded away by the sea. There is always the risk of rock-falls and I’d recommend you stay vigilant if you’re near the base of the cliffs. In fact, the series of rock steps on the beach mentioned earlier, are the remnants of where the cliffs used to be, showing where the sea has cut back into the coastline enlarging the extent of Robin Hoods Bay. In geographical terms the flat rocky areas are 20170331-25_Rock Strewn Beach - Wavecut Platform - Robin Hoods Bayknown as wave cut platforms. It’s not quite so apparent at beach level, but from above on the cliffs, you can see the arching shape of the platforms heading out to sea. To the south of Boggle Hole, the rocky strips are called “Low Scar” and “High Scar”. To the north heading towards Robin Hoods Bay village, the strips are known as “Cowling Scar”, “Dab Dumps”, “East Scar” and “Landing Scar”.

20170331-29_Rock Strewn Beach - Wavecut Platform - Robin Hoods Bay20170331-27_Sky and Beach Reflections - Boggle HoleBetween the separate lines of rocky platforms, shall we call them strata, rock pools are trapped, some quite deep and sizeable and some areas of the rocks are covered with extensive areas of slippery seaweed. Also interspersed and strewn across the whole area are stand-alone boulders and individual rocks.

You would almost say they look like someone 20170331-31_Wave Action - Sand and Rocks - Robin Hoods Bayhas placed them in little groups in an arty deliberate way. A word of warning here, if you go exploring on the rocks, please keep an eye on the tide, because as the whole beach area is quite flat, the sea comes in quickly and it especially follows the lines of the strata.

I reckon with the tide coming in, it’d very easy to get cut off from the safety of the 20170331-17_Graded Sands + Rock Poolmainland. Having said that, even with one eye on the sea, I thoroughly enjoyed my explore of the beach area between Boggle Hole and Robin Hoods Bay village.

In fact, I spent absolutely ages wandering (almost aimlessly) zig-zagging back and forth, trying to get some arty looking photo’s; subjects attempted included :-

  • The mini-waterfalls of Mill Beck cascading across the rocks (trying to get a soft milky feel to the flowing water with extended shutter speeds).
  • Wider views of the beach, cliffs and big skies.
  • Close ups of limpets, periwinkles, barnacles, rocks and sand patterns.
  • A horse being ridden across the sands.
  • Boulders, rock pools and reflections.
  • And quite a few views of Robin Hoods Bay village hugging onto the hillside, as I got closer and closer as I made my way across the rocky striations.

20170331-16_Smooth amongst the Rough

20170331-13_Barnacles on the Rocks - DoF

20170331-20_Horse Rider on the Sands - Boggle Hole20170331-39_Robin Hoods Bay - Rocky Beach - Tide Out

For those in the know, The “A Coast to Coast” long distance footpath (that starts on the Irish Sea at St Bees on the opposite side of the country, ends here, the idea being to pick up a pebble from the beach at the start of the walk, and deposit it in the sea here at Robin Hoods Bay. So, 20170331-43_Robin Hoods Bay - Massive Sea WallI wonder how many “non-native” stones I walked over or past as I made my way up to the slipway and thence up into the village. Just to the right of the slipway the precariously perched buildings are protected from the sea by the tallest sea-wall I think I’ve ever seen. With the sun shining, the white-washed houses with their neatly tiled rooves (or roofs if you prefer that spelling) look attractive and friendly. However, I can imagine with a storm coming in off The North Sea at high tide, you could feel quite vulnerable with the waves crashing in immediately below.

20170331-42_Robin Hoods Bay - Massive Sea WallToday though, the weather was benign, sunny with big fluffy clouds, and reasonably warm in the sun, but the breeze was a little chilly; every now and again the clouds would turn a heavy greeny shade of grey indicating how quickly the weather could turn if it had a mind to. However, I particularly liked the contrast of the bright against dark and the associated shadows.

20170331-44_Robin Hoods Bay VillageWith the conditions so nice, I decided to head up into the village for a different set of photo’s, stone built houses, red tiled rooves, narrow streets and walkways, white-washed walls set against a vivid blue sky.

I like Robin Hoods Bay village, it’s pretty, looked after, touristy but not overly so. It hasn’t gone down the “tacky” route that other seaside towns have gone over the years and for me, it still feels like real people may well live here and with 20170331-46_Footpath Steps Walkway - Robin Hoods Bay Villagea pride in the place. Having said that, there are several pubs and tea-shops and a few trinket/touristy shops, one of which I visited to buy some boxes of fudge/toffees as gifts to be taken home.

The streets and paths through the village are sometimes steep, not surprising really given it’s clinging on to the cliff side, but well worth the effort to explore, as they twist and turn and divide and re-join, and reach dead ends and you have to turn around and end up back where you’ve been already.

You get to look up narrow sets of steps and down over roof tops and if you end up where I did, you could end up on top of the tall sea wall looking out over the coastline. All in all, it’s just a super place to wander through.

20170331-54_Sea Wall - Robin Hoods Bay

20170331-52a_The Old Bakery Tea Rooms - Robin Hoods Bay Village Roof Tops

20170331-50_Footpath Walkway - Robin Hoods Bay Village

20170331-49_Ornate Street Light - Robin Hoods Bay Village

20170331-53_View to the Beach - Robin Hoods Bay Wave Cut Platform

20170331-55_Standing Guard on Sea Wall and Life Size Model SheepTo finish my time in the village (after I’d bought my sweet gifts for home), I found my way up a side street/pathway and through to the top of some smaller sea defences (to the south of the slipway area) where I sat myself down on a bench, cracked open my packed lunch of a spicy beef pastry, hot cross buns with blackcurrant jam (a staple of mine when out walking), and other bits and pieces.

Sat in the sun, looking out over the coast I felt very relaxed. I also felt somewhat protected by a guard-sheep looking out to sea from a nearby terrace. It was of course a life-size model rather than a real live sheep; I imagined it being quite fierce, perhaps a deterrent to any lurking smugglers out in the bay waiting for nightfall to bring in their contraband, or perhaps I’m going a long way back in time to when smuggling was 20170331-56_On the Beach - Ice Cream Van - Robin Hoods Bayindeed rife in the area.

Eventually, I needed to move, I had the mile southwards along the beach to complete, (I resisted the ice cream van parked on the sands en-route), which I did without as much zig-zagging of the walk earlier in the day, only really stopping when I’d reached the Boggle Hole valley.

.

20170331-57_Sea Cut Cave - The Boggles Hole at Boggle Hole

20170331-59b_Sea Cut Cave - The Boggles Hole at Boggle HoleI took a few pic’s of the cave in the base of the cliffs here.

This is The Boggle’s cave or hole, that gives its name to the youth hostel.

Please see my earlier post from a few years earlier that gives some more info’ on what or who a Boggle is, you might find it amusing.

Again, be careful if you visit here, lumps of rock from the ceiling can and do fall to the floor of the cave.

20170331-58a_Sea Cut Cave - The Boggles Hole at Boggle HoleWell, once again, I needed to move, first heading up the slipway, and then 20170330-02_Boggle Hole Youth Hostelback up the steep road rising above and away from the youth hostel and up to the car-park. I don’t know how I’d managed it, but I’d spent all morning and half the afternoon doing just three miles. I don’t suppose that matters though, I’d done my bigger distances on day-1 (16.5 miles) and day-2 (10 miles) out on the moors, so I didn’t feel I needed to do any more today. Besides I enjoyed the “playing” of taking photos with more time to think about the images than I normally get when out on a walk. I still probably took far too many pic’s, but hey it’s not often I get to the seaside (I live just about as far from the sea as you can in England, living in 20090828-99_Sanderling [or similar]_Boggle Hole BeachThe Midlands) so I think I can be forgiven for getting a little carried away.

And that was that, apart from the long drive back home, that was the end of my short break on The North York Moors and Coast.

Just as a final comment, if the tide is in, the beach walk is impossible, however there are a few alternatives.

  • Alternative-1 = There is a footpath (part of The Cleveland Way) that runs along the top of the cliffs with access at both ends.
  • Alternative-2 = Further inland there is a dismantled railway, with permissive access for walkers and cyclists. At the Boggle Hole end, you’d need to walk from the little car-park, up the quiet Bridge Holm Lane in a south westerly direction, after about a mile branch right down another minor road and then pick up the railway heading north. The old track-bed makes a number of sweeping curves to arrive at the Robin Hoods Bay end of the walk at the top of the town. This quite a bit longer than both the beach and cliff top options.
  • Alternative-3 = A combination of options 1 & 2 above, say we were going from Boggle Hole to Robin Hoods Bay, take the footbridge over Mill Beck near the youth hostel, then climb up out of the valley onto the cliff path. After a while, instead of continuing along the cliff top, take a left turn onto a footpath (called Mark Lane) and then pick up the old railway (turn right) to continue to the top of Robin Hoods Bay village. This is longer than option-1 but shorter than option-2.

Any of the above could be combined with the beach route to make more of a circular walk.

Map Used :
1:25,000 Outdoor Leisure Map No.27 … North York Moors Eastern Area.
20170331-37_Robin Hoods Bay Village - Big Stormy Sky[My map is pretty much an ancient relic, probably a slight over statement, but it did only cost me £2.95 which gives an idea of its vintage. I’ve no idea how old it actually is, but essentially the moors don’t change much and despite it being in a slightly dilapidated state (slowly falling apart at the folds) it did me fine for my trip. Next time however, I think a new map may well be on the cards, and won’t need Sellotape to hold it together].

I hope you’ve enjoyed my scribblings ….

If you’d like to comment on my diary or any of my pic’s please feel welcome. I’d love to hear from you.

T.T.F.N. Gary.

Post Script …
My map has finally fallen apart and has made its final journey…
All the way – To the bin!

 

20141231_A Frosty Winter Photo Walk in Braunston – Post 2of 2

20141231_A Frosty Winter Photo Walk in Braunston – Post 2of 2
When : 31st December 2014

Who : Just me

Where : Braunston, Northamptonshire, between Rugby and Daventry

Start Point and End Point : Lay-by on the A45 London Road SP533,663

20141231_Another Braunston Winter Canal Side Photographic Walk

Route Map – Traced out on WalkJogRun Website

Distance : Approx 4 miles (6.5 km)

Significant heights : None to speak of – Very gentle

Maps : 1:25,000 OS Explorer Map No. 222 Rugby & Daventry

I’ve split this walk into two blog-posts just to make the writing (and reading perhaps) a little more manageable. This post is post-2 of 2. So if you want to read post-1 first, please use this link :- GO TO BLOG POST 1 OF 2.

If you click on a photo’ [when I’ve added them] it should launch my set of imges on my photostream on Flickr

20141231-41_Braunston Marina - Arched Bridge

Bridge over entrance into Braunston Marina

The tow path had led to another attractively arching iron bridge spanning a side-arm of the canal heading into the large marina at Braunston. Normally, I would walk straight on here, over the bridge, to continue on the tow path. But, today, I chose to head up into the marina itself to gain a different perspective on the area, including the boat-works, just a short walk along the water’s edge.

20141231-25_Braunston Marina - Static Crane

Standing Crane Winding Wheel + Gear

Just outside the works buildings (near a car-park) I came across a standing crane, the upright steels and boom painted a shiny jet black and the winding gear a vivid bright red. This really stood out against the lovely blue sky. I took far too many pic’s here, (most of which I later dumped into my computer’s recycling bin upon close inspection).

20141231-45_Braunston Marina - Workshop Walkways + Ice

Braunston Marina Workshop Walkways

20141231-26_Braunston Marina - Narrow Boat Workshop

Braunston Marina – Boat Works

Moving on over a few narrow walkway bridges, I met a chap who was working in the boat-yard and I stopped for a chat, during which I asked if I had permission to go further into the marina area. He was very pleasant and accommodating, saying yes there was no objection to me continuing on, but he asked politely that I refrain from falling in the water, as it was a tad cold [typically English understatement] and he really didn’t want to fish me out. I really wasn’t planning on going for an impromptu swim, so I readily agreed to his request. During our conversation he mentioned just how many people take photo’s of the crane just left behind, which kind of took away some of my earlier feelings of discovery. Still I didn’t really believe I was the first one to have ever taken a shot or two of the structure. After some final felicitations, we both set off in separate directions.

20141231-32_Braunston Marina - Crane - Cogs

Braunston Marina – Crane Cogs + Gears

Heading further into the marina area, it didn’t really matter which way I looked, there always seemed to be an image to be captured, but none more so than another black and red crane, this one on wheels and track and sporting a handsome array of deeply toothed cogs and associated wheels, ratchets, pulleys and such like. Again, many pic’s were taken here, but more “keepers” for storage on my lap-top and eventual upload to my “photostream” on Flickr.

20141231-37_Braunston Marina - Crane - Boom and Hook

Braunston Marina – Crane Hook

More wonderings and meanderings, resulted in even more photo’s – The whole place just screamed (in a quiet understated English sort of way) please take my photo again and again …. And again!

20141231-28_Braunston Marina

Braunston Marina – Narrow Boats

 

20141231-42_Braunston Marina - Arched Bridge + Winding Gear

Braunston Marina – Winding Gear

 

20141231-44_Braunston Marina - Narrow Boats

Braunston Marina – Moored Narrow Boats

 

I was starting to feel a little chill now, so I headed into a shop (maybe a chandlers or similar) and asked if they sold teas or coffee – They didn’t. This was a shame because the boat-café on the canal by the marina entrance was not open today either, so when I had negotiated the slippery icy pathways back to the canal/iron bridge/marina entrance, I just continued on over the arching bridge and then back on the tow path once again, again with the canal on my left.

20141231-47_Braunston - Brick Bridge - Narrow Boat Joey - Grand Union Canal

Joey – Narrow Boat in Braunston

There still weren’t many boats moving around but I was in the right place at the right time as the boat “Joey” came towards me to pass under one of the brick bridges that straddle the canal. To repeat myself from a past blog-post (with no apologies) I like these old brick bridges, they’ve been around for so long they’ve sort of weathered their way into the landscape, taking on a natural patina of lichens and with mosses hanging on in the many hollows and cracks. The surface of the brickwork has certainly seen better times, and there are now some pretty major looking cracks appearing in places, but I like the unkempt look and today the reflections were just stunning in the icy water.

20141231-49_Braunston Marina - Narrow Boats

Braunston Marina – Moored Narrow Boats

20141231-51_Sheep + All Saints' Church - Braunston - Cathedral of the Canals

Sheep – All Saints’ Church – Braunston

I could’ve headed straight under the bridge arch, but there was a way up onto the bridge, where a foot-path crosses the canal here. After just a few yards along the path, it facilitated a view back over the marina. The elevated position gave an opportunity for some interesting pic’s looking back down the marina, using my long lens to try to foreshorten the perspective in an attempt to make the boats look all bunched up, hopefully in an arty kind of way. Rather than move far along the path, I headed back down to the towpath and continued in the same direction as earlier. The tow path separates the canal (on the left) and the marina (on the right), and a little further on is a narrow footbridge that must be negotiated. There is no alternative to be able to carry on, because it passes over another access point from the waterway into the moorings. This foot-bridge is accessed and exited via some rather steep steps; not too much of a problem for walkers, but decidedly awkward for people pushing push chairs and equally if not more awkward for cyclists.

20141231-53_Braunston - Moored Narrow Boat

Narrow Boat – Braunston

This little walk was beginning to take quite a long time, but I suppose it always was going to be that way, with a very slow pace, especially as it was such a stunningly beautiful day and it had been planned out as a photographic walk. I normally describe myself as a walker who takes photo’s, but today I was far more a photographer who was going on a bit of a walk. Anyway, trying to push my writings on a tad, the tow path led on to the bottom lock and its collection of nearby buildings. Along the way I passed 20141231-52_Tree Trunk Detail _ Barkmore moored boats, views across sheep fields to the church, shiny light playing on the ice, interesting textured bark on trees, smoke coming out of boat roofs and hanging about in the cold air, old pump house buildings, another boat-works, and more… All these things were interesting to see and at least worthy of a little note. Also worth noting, is a small shop adjacent to the bottom lock (I’ve bought ice cream here in the past, in warmer times) and I hoped they would sell hot drinks – I was disappointed again, they didn’t! Perhaps on my next frosty walk I’ll remember to make up a flask of hot drink

Although continuing a few hundred yards past the bottom lock, I now consciously chose not to continue up the canal, foregoing the chance of a visit to The Admiral Nelson pub next to another lock and further on the entrance to Braunston Tunnel. This Georgian engineering feat is now well over 200 years old and over a mile long. The tow path ends at the tunnel entrance, which is set into the hillside like a black mouth waiting to swallow up any boat heading eastwards or regurgitate anyone who’d travelled from the Welton end.

20141231-56_Braunston - Bottom Lock - Grand Union Canal

Bottom Lock Reflections

20141231-60_Braunston - Jetty Fields - Seat with a view

Jetty Fields Seating – Braunston

Today I felt I didn’t need to head that far up the canal. Instead I returned to and headed over the brick bridge at the bottom lock, to climb a gently rising track away from the canal side. After a hundred yards or so, upon reaching a minor road (it goes down to The Admiral Nelson pub) I turned left on a footpath and then soon after, right, heading gently up a small public area of grassland (Jetty Fields) with some individual large trees and seating. The tree branches hereabouts took my eye, being old and gnarly and full of nooks and crannies. I liked the contrast of this against the blue winter sky.

20141231-59_Braunston - No smoke without fire

Smoke

I also liked the billowing shapes in a cloud of smoke from a fire created by a couple of workmen (thinning a hedge I think) just down-a-ways towards the canal. A warm outdoors job on a cold frosty morning. A short way up the slope the trees become closer together forming a small coppice where I stopped a while to watch several pairs of blue tits flitting about in the branches above me: a charming sight.

20141231-62_Braunston - Jetty Fields

Jetty Fields Path – Braunston

Continuing on, the path narrows between some properties, to emerge on the principle road through the village (named Welton Road and High Street). The aspect is quite open here with a number of grassy greens and verges with The Wheatsheaf pub directly opposite. I again resisted the temptations within, instead turning left along the road side to pass an eclectic mix of red brick, mellow stone and half-timbered houses/cottages both old and new. I knew there was a small café (Poppies) along the road, but was again disappointed, as it too was shut, so preventing the purchase of a cup of tea or coffee. Almost opposite is a small convenience store (a Londis I think) – again no hot drinks, but it did give the opportunity of picking up a couple of sandwiches and a cold drink.

20141231-66_Braunston - High Street - Cottages and Windmill

Braunston Cottages + Windmill

Soon after I passed by yet another pub (The Old Plough) before reaching the western end of the village, dominated by thee buildings:- The first an old windmill, now a home minus its sails. The second a typically English church with tall spire pointing skywards (or should that be heavenwards). And thirdly, Braunston Manor on the opposite side of the road from the church.

20141231-67_All Saints' Church - Braunston - Cathedral of the Canals

All Saints’ Church – Braunston – Cathedral of the Canals

 

20141231-70_Graveyard Cross_All Saints' Church - Braunston

All Saints’ Church – Braunston

 

20141231-71_War Memorial_All Saints' Church - Braunston

War Memorial – All Saints’ Church

I spent a few moments outside the church, often known as The Cathedral of The Canals, and yes you’ve guessed it, taking some more photo’s but with a little more time in contemplation at the war memorial in the corner of the graveyard; perfectly positioned to be seen from all angles in full view as it should be, in memory of our fallen forebears; local heroes of a time rapidly becoming history rather than current affairs.

From the church grounds, I re-joined the main road to pick up a footpath (directly opposite the junction with Church Road), to the side of Braunston Manor, the first or in my case today, the last building in the village. The path drops diagonally half-right to rejoin High Street, just where it meets the A45 main road. I now had a tiny bit more tarmac path to use, alongside the A45, over a canal bridge and then very soon afterwards turned left on a pathway (still quite slippery with frost) dropping down to the tow path.

20141231-73_Twin Arched Bridges - Braunston - Grand Union + Oxford Canal Junction

Twin Arched Bridges – Braunston Canal Junction

The walk was almost over, having now come full circle back to the canal. Once on the tow path I immediately turned left, under the bridge I’d just crossed over and I was now on ground previously walked on earlier in the day, only now the water was on my right. I then re-passed The Boat House pub (on the opposite bank), reached and crossed the double-span iron bridge at the canal Tee-junction and swung right past moored boats again to meet the other utilitarian bridge carrying the A45 over the cut.

20141231-74_Braunston - Oxford Canal - Bridge - Stagecoach Bus

Utilitarian Bridge – A45 over Canal – Braunston

Most of the ice had now melted, leaving only a few places where the canal was still frozen, on the whole it was now mostly free water – I suppose the ducks must have been much happier and far less bemused now. I was still taking photo’s, but not as frequently now and after rising up the side path (just before the bridge) to the A45, the last couple of images taken were back to the church again before arriving back at the lay-by and my little car which had sat patiently in the cold for my return. It was still parked all alone by the road-side, I wonder if it had had any fellow vehicles parked here during the day to keep it company whilst I was away.

Well, that’s about it for this walks diary ….  When I’d made the short drive home, a nice warming cup of coffee was high on the agenda, and I was really ready for it as I sat down in the friendly warmth of my home and family. What a simply super few hours.

I’ve attached (or will be attaching) a selection of photo’s from the day, but there are more to be seen on my flickr account if you want to see just images of Braunston (and nearby) please use this link, or go to my photostream for all photo’s I’ve posted.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings …. If you’d like to comment on my diary or any of my pic’s please feel welcome. I’d love to hear from you.

T.T.F.N. Gary.

20141231_A Frosty Winter Photo Walk in Braunston (Post1of2)

20141231_A Frosty Winter Photo Walk in Braunston – Post 1of 2

When : 31st December 2014
Who : Just me
Where : Braunston, Northamptonshire, between Rugby and Daventry
Start Point and End Point : Lay-by on the A45 London Road SP533,663
20141231_Another Braunston Winter Canal Side Photographic WalkDistance : Approx 4 miles (6.5 km)
Significant Heights : None to speak of – Very gentle
Maps : 1:25,000 OS Explorer Map No. 222 Rugby & Daventry

Summary : An opportunity for a few hours to take some wintertime photo’s down on the canals in Braunston (Grand Union and Oxford Canals) …. but it’d be a perfectly nice walk to do without a camera, There are a couple of pubs by the canal side and a couple in the village as well if that’s your want from a walk (or crawl).

I’m splitting the walk into two blog-posts just to make the writing (and reading perhaps) a little more manageable. This post is post-1 of 2. (Use this link for post-2).

If you click on a photo’ it should launch on my photostream on Flickr where you’ll find a few more images to those shown here.

It was a very cold and frosty morning, ice on the roads and a typically wintry blue sky with light high clouds and the promise that it was going to stay fine for the day. So, it was an easy decision to spend a few hours out and about on a mini-walk with my camera. The more difficult bit was deciding just where to head off to.

• Did I want to drive ?
• If not, it meant walking on very familiar ground, yes or no ?
• Did I want a pub ?
• What type of scenery did I fancy : Farmland, Woods, Town/village, canals, country parks, or even a city ?

In the end, I decided to drive, chose canals as a good base subject, assuming the waters might be frozen-over in places, the potential for good reflections and maybe some mists swirling around above the water; Once that was decided, that led to the next decision – Where to go ?

• Hillmorton Locks ?
• Newbold-on-Avon (and the long tunnel) ?
• Crick ?
• Cathiron ?
• Braunston ?
• And one or two other places here-abouts ?

Well, in the end, Braunston won despite me having been there many times over the years … Why ? … Because it’s not very far away, has a pretty canal 20141231-22_Braunston Marinajunction, various styles of bridges, a large marina, boat works, historic buildings, several locks, one end of a very long canal tunnel and several pubs. Of course there’s also the village itself, including a long main street with an eclectic mix of buildings, including an old windmill next to a typically English church on a hill. If I needed anything else, another good reason, is that my photography tutor (David Harding / Percival Guildhouse) likes the area, and I thought it’d be interesting to compare our images at some point in the future.

Anyway, I packed up my camera, couple of lens (complete with polarizing filters), grabbed walking boots and headed off, the drive firstly taking me through the famous village of Dunchurch and then on the A45 heading towards Daventry; Braunston village being just off the main road a few miles before the Northamptonshire town.
On the way, not quite a mile past the small village of Willoughby is a reasonably sized lay-by (on the left hand side) just before reaching Braunston – This is immediately before the road passes over the canal and is often used by people parking their cars in a line here, I assume mostly by fishermen; I decided this lay-by would suit my purposes just fine, and actually today it was completely free of other cars.

If this hadn’t been available, there’s road side parking in the village itself (take a sharp left turn just past The Boat House pub/restaurant) or there is a large car-park at The Boat House itself, which I know people use whilst going off for a walk, but I don’t like doing this unless I intend to use the pub as a patron, it just doesn’t seem right otherwise.

20141231-01_All Saints' Church - Braunston - Cathedral of the Canals

All Saints’ Church, Braunston

20141231-02_Braunston - Ridge and Furrow Strip Farming

Ridge and Furrow Strip Farming – Braunston

Enough of the pre-amble, I’ve been rambling on somewhat, so on to my walk itself. After donning my boots, I set off on the rough grassy verge by the side of the road, although you may find this surprising, away from Braunston and the canal. This wasn’t by accident or bad map reading, no, on the drive down the A45, there was a superb view of Braunston’s church spire silhouetted against the pale blue sky and in front, the land was striped with shadows formed by some ancient ridge and furrow field structures. In order to try and capture this image, I had to head back up the road to find a place where I could see over/through the large hedgerow alongside the road. Despite walking several hundred yards and being well over 6-foot tall, I still needed my long zoom to get anything like an acceptable shot.

Turning around through 180-degrees and once back past the car I reached where the road crosses a canal; near here the church was more hidden from view but the ridge and furrow field was far more evident and the views up the canal were very pleasant with a couple of boats moored in the icy waters.

20141231-03_Braunston_Frosted Barn

Frosted Barn – Braunston

20141231-05_Braunston - Moored Narrow Boats Oxford Canal

Moored Narrow Boats, Oxford Canal, Braunston

From here I crossed the main road, to where a path drops down to the tow path, where initially I turned left, under the quite ugly steel and concrete road bridge and continued up the tow path for several hundred yards. I had to adjust my camera settings to suit the different quality of light by the cut, as I was in quite deep shadow now. Anyway after taking a few shots here, I about-turned, walked back under the utilitarian road bridge and continued on the tow path (water on my left/hedgerow on my right).

It had been a very cold night (and it was still a very cold morning), so much so that the canal was completely frozen over, the narrow boats moored along the banks being iced in and the local ducks appearing very bemused. One pair were walking, (well slipping) about in the center of the canal, I suppose looking for some clear water to swim in.

20141231-07_Braunston - Mallard Ducks - Skating on Ice

Bemused Ducks Skating on Ice

20141231-08_Twin Arched Bridges_Braunston_Grand Union+Oxford Canal

Approaching the Twin Ironwork Bridges, Junction of Grand Union and Oxford Canals, Braunston

20141231-10_Braunston - Life Bouy - Seen Better Days

Seen Better Days – Please do not fall in here !!!

A little further on, as the canal takes a sweeping left bend, there are a couple of attractive arched black and white iron-work bridges; the perfect twins forming a double span over a Tee-junction of canals. I could have just crossed straight over the pair, but instead chose to take the right hand canal branch, going under the arch of the first bridge, before heading off in a south westerly direction on the well surfaced tow path. I particularly liked the way the low sun picked up and highlighted attractive patterns in the ice and whilst I was composing a couple of photo’s here, a couple walking over the bridges stopped to pass the time of day with me and then moved off towards where I’d come from a few moments earlier.

20141231-11_Braunston - Look-out cat - Window frame

Look Out Cat, Braunston

After a very short stretch along the towpath, I used a brick built bridge to cross to the other bank and then back (north-eastwards) towards the iron bridges and the canal tee-junction once again, passing a brick-built cottage en-route. An emergency buoyancy aid caught my eye hung on a wall here, but I don’t know how much I’d trust it, as it looked well past its best. A cat was sat in a widow frame here also, obviously enjoying the warmth of indoors watching the world go by, rather than braving the chill outside.

20141231-12_Ice Breaker_Arched Bridge_Braunston_Grand Union+Oxford Canal

Hector – Breaking the Ice – Hard to turn the corner.

As I reached where the canal splits left and right, a strange loud cracking scraping noise suddenly struck up. It was very odd and I just couldn’t place what it could be. It didn’t even seem to be coming from a particular direction, the sound seeming to fill the cold air all around.

 

 

20141231-13_Ice Breaker_Arched Bridge_Braunston_Grand Union+Oxford Canal

Hector – Didn’t manage the bend Hit the bank with a glacing bump !

It soon became apparent though, as the couple who’d I spoken with earlier had unmoored their small narrow boat and as they moved off they were breaking the sheet ice on the water’s surface. In fact, as the boat tried to negotiate the bend the ice resisted the crafts desired path forcing it over into the bank with quite a bump.

 

 

20141231-14_Ice Breaker_Braunston - Grand Union Canal

Hector – Moving on. Alls well now 🙂

The blow turned the bows as the boat glanced off the bankside and allowed the chap on the teller to move off in the right direction.

I guess his journey to where-ever he was heading wasn’t going to be an easy one, especially when passing other boats on the cut.

 

 

20141231-15_Ice Breaker_Arched Bridge_Braunston_Grand Union+Oxford Canal

Ironwork railings – One of the Twin Arched Bridges

I then turned my attention to trying to create some arty shots of the double span of bridges. At the very least, I tried to find some different angles/view points compared to previous visits as I’ve taken pic’s here on numerous occasions in the past. I’m sure they must be one of the most photographed features around Braunston – I defy anyone with a camera to just walk by without taking at least one photo’ despite how many times they may have been here before … These bridges really are very photogenic.

20141231-18_Ice Breaker_Arched Bridge_Braunston_Grand Union+Oxford Canal

Twin Arched Bridges – Very Photogenic. Junction of Grand Union and Oxford Canals

 

20141231-19_Relections in Ice - Braunston

Icy Reflections

Moving on, I took the tow path away from the bridges (water on my left again). On the opposite bank here is a small area of light industrial units closely followed by The Boat House pub mentioned earlier. The pub is a tad modern and twee to be truly photogenic, but I did like the distorted reflection of a far more pristine looking buoyancy ring in the ice-covered water.

20141231-21_All Saints' Church - Braunston - Cathedral of the Canals

All Saints’ Church – Braunston

Soon after, I passed under the A45 road again as it crosses overhead via another utilitarian and not very attractive modern bridge.

The dominant view here is across the canal to the opposite bank with fields and hedges rising up to the church spire and some impressive looking houses which kind of draw the eye away from the canal and moored boats.

However, I did like the smoke emanating from a few of the boats’ stubby little chimneys, obviously some kind of coal/wood burner inside keeping the residents warm and cosy.

 

20141231-20_Braunston - Moored Narrow Boats Grand Union Canal

Approaching the old Toll House

The tow path then led me past the old toll house, where the major point of interest soon changes back to the canal on the near bank, as another arching iron bridge is reached, spanning a side-arm of the canal heading into a large marina with a plethora of craft moored in a multitude of lines. As I’ve written before, the craft here always make a very colourful sight, all bar none painted in bright primary colours – Canal folk just don’t seem to do pastels in their boat liveries. As always, I don’t think there was a shabby looking boat in sight!

Normally, I would walk straight on here, over the bridge to continue on the tow path. But, today, I chose to head up into the marina itself to try and gain a different perspective on the area including the boat-works just a short walk along the water’s edge.

I think here would be a good point to switch to the second blog-post as this seems a kind of natural break in the time-line of the day. To continue reading please use this link : GO TO BLOG POST-2 OF 2.

T.T.F.N.
Gary

Coming Soon

Sorry it’s been soooo long since my last walks post …. There is another coming soon.

Why’s it been so long ?

Cause my current photo course homeworks and experimentations just seem to have taken over from my writings at the mo.

Flower Posy-01_Cropped+PSd a touch

Been experimenting with a fair bit of still life from flowers, to light and shade on an egg to hand-tools (inspired by Edgar Martins), and Faeries and fairy lights ….and outside, Coventry City Centre to Rugby Town in the rain, and a simply stunning sun-rise over Rugby Cement (Cemex). And, I’ve been doing some photo stuff for the sales and marketing team at my work as well. Oh and I nearly forgot, some portraits of our guinea pigs

The Past in the Present and Future_14_Screw Drivers on Sparkle Black

20150222-04_EGG - Eggcentric Circles

20150221-07_Guinea Pig_Cavy (Portrait Patch)

Problem is, I probably take far too many pic’s, they all need sorting as either keepers or deleters and the keepers all need some post-processing and eventually choosing which to upload to my photostream on flickr and submitting for the next week’s class.

20150131-04_Rugby in the Rain - Library Building

20150206-04_Sun-Rise over Rugby Cement (cemex)

20150129-09_Faeries with Fairy  Lights _ Still Life

20141016-23_Coventry's Elephant _ Street Furniture

In amongst that, I HAVE been writing my next blog post …. A cold and frosty photograhic short walk around Brauston just over the Warwickshire border in Northamptonshire …. and there are loads of pic’s to sort through for that too. At least it combines my two hobbies, country walking and photography.

So please watch this space … the next walks post IS coming soon … and that’s a promise!

Cheers, Gary

PS: If you want to go see more of my non-walking pic’s, please visit my photostream on Flickr using this link 🙂 ….. TTFN. G.

20141016_Urban Photographic Project – Coventry City Centre

• 20141016_Urban Photographic Project.
• A return trip to Coventry, centred on The Cathedral Area.

20141016-43_Foraging _ Grey Squirrel_Holy Trinity Church Coventry

 

 

20141016_Photographic wander in Coventry

When : 29th January 2012
Who : Several Photo Course Members & Our Tutor David Harding – but essentially most of the time on my own.20141016-14_Outside Stained Glass Windows - Coventry New Cathedral
Where : Coventry City Centre, England, UK
Maps used : None
Start and End Point : Ford Street Car Park (Off Cox Street, Near Fairfax Street Sports Centre/Swimming Pool Entrance)
Distance : Approx 3.5 km
Significant heights : None really (Unless you choose to climb The Old Cathedral Spire, but I didn’t this time, but if you’ve never done it, it’s well worth the effort).

Summary : A photo-course trip, to take some photo’s.
The brief : Take photo’s within various possible broad suggestions

• Establishing Shots.
• Muted Colour.
• People / City Scenes.
• Black & White.
• Old & New.
• Reflections.
• Outdoor Flash.
• Details.
• Splash of Colour.
• Aerial.
• Symbolism / War Symbolism.

20141016-02_DETAIL_Choir Statue - Coventry Old CathedralThis is a departure from the normal country walking I write about. In fact, it’s almost the complete antithesis from most posts I’ve “published” before. However, City walks have their place in the walking world and I did walk a little distance. So, for anyone thinking of visiting Coventry, I hope you can glean a little info from my trip, albeit via a slightly odd-ball set of photo’s.

Just as an aside, if you like this post, you might also wish to visit my earlier post from my first photo-course trip to Coventry from a couple of years ago.

We were to meet on The Cathedral Steps near to the iconic St. Michael and The Devil sculpture and after gathering as planned on what turned out to be a very grey, dull and quite frankly uninspiring day we all headed up the steps into The Old Cathedral (sometimes known as The Cathedral Ruins).

The obvious category that applies here is “Christian Symbolism / War Symbolism”.

20141016-07_Remembrance Poppies + Cross of Reconciliation - Coventry Old CathedralYou don’t need to know much about the history of Coventry, to know the significance of The Blitz and the fire storm that reduced the magnificent medieval building to nothing but a shell. However, with the phoenix of Coventry rising out of the ashes the remarkable movement of reconciliation symbolised by the cross of nails grew too. This was cemented by the completely contrasting modern New Cathedral built adjacent to and only yards away from the old one.

20141016-03_Home Front Memorial - Coventry Old Cathedral (b+w)In fact several of the suggested categories lent themselves to the imagery within and around The Old Cathedral and this is where we all started. However, personally I was kind of struggling to find some real inspiration; I think with Coventry being my home town, my familiarity [and somewhat negative view of the city centre] was getting in the way, but I persevered and as we all fragmented and went in our own directions, I started to “see” things that I could try and make some interesting images of, whilst trying to avoid the normal clichéd shots taken by thousands of people over the years.20141016-10_Reconciliation Statue - Coventry Old CathedralAnyway, my zig-zaggy route taken for the day was :-

• Ford Street Car Park + Fairfax Street.
• Priory Street.

20141016-27_Silver Birch_Urban Environment_Coventry       20141016-28_Silver Birch_Urban Environment_Coventry
• Cathedral Steps (next to the Devil).

20141016-17_St. Michael's Victory over the Devil (Sir Jacob Epstein 1958)• The Old Cathedral Ruins.

20141016-01_Stained Glass Window Fragments - Coventry Old Cathedral• Bayley Lane.

20141016-13_Bayley Lane + Guildhouse from - Coventry Old Cathedral• Outside of The New Cathedral.

20141016-15_Outside Walls + Windows - Coventry New Cathedral• Sir Jacob Epstein’s “St. Michael’s Victory Over The Devil” sculpture.

20141016-18_St. Michael's Victory over the Devil (Sir Jacob Epstein 1958)• Priory Street (and Coventry University Buildings).

20141016-24_A Coventry Boy _ Industrial Heritage Statue   20141016-29_Curved Steps_B+W   20141016-25_Coventry University Buildings - Abstract

• Cope Street (behind the Main swimming pool and sports centre).

20141016-31_Rear View of Coventrys Fairfax Street Swimming Pool20141016-34_Coventry Sports centre (Shape of an Elephant)• Beneath Junction-3 of Coventry Ring Road.

20141016-37_Coventry Ringroad + Underpass (b+w)• Cox Street.

20141016-41_Motion Blurr_Coventry Bus + Zebra Crossing• Cuckoo Lane, Priory Row and Down the side of Holy Trinity Church (with brave squirrels).

20141016-22_Georgian Buildings near Coventry's Old + New Cathedrals20141016-45_Foraging _ Grey Squirrel_Holy Trinity Church Coventry• Hill Top (a rare bit of old Coventry).

20141016-40_Hill Top (Walkway Passage) Coventry City Centre• Back to re-meet my fellow photography friends in the Cathedral area.

20141016-19_St. Michael's Victory over the Devil (Sir Jacob Epstein 1958)• (A Wetherspoons pub for lunch at the top of Trinity Street).

• Ironmonger Row + Cross Cheaping in persistent rain, across to the West Orchards Shopping Centre (for some Christmas pressies).

20141016-50_Rainy Pavement Reflections_West Orchards Coventry• Pedestrian shopping precincts/Trinity Street.

20141016-52_Crepes_Reflections_Coventry Precinct Cross• A quick stop-off at Millennium Place and Whittle Arch (I was now running a bit late to get home).

20141016-55_Rainy Reflections_Coventry_Millennium Place     20141016-57_Sir Frank Whittle Statue_Millennium Place  Coventry     20141016-56_Rainy Reflections_Coventry_Millennium Place Big Screen

• And then back to the car-park via Hales Street/Fairfax Street.

Rather than just take the “over-view” of this little tour, I tried to take more odd or detailed types of shot. I quite like some and I like some not quite so much. I’ll let you decide if you get anything from any of them.

If you click on a pic, it should launch larger on my photostream on Flickr.

Or, please visit my set on Flickr for some more pic’s not shown on this post.

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings and my photo’s. Please feel free to comment on anything you wish.
T.T.F.N. Gary