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.

20131103_Subscriptions + Notifications

Hi everyone,

I’ve just received this message from a person who subscribes to my blog …. I wont say their name, but thanks for contacting me, as I didn’t know the method I use for updating was annoying to anyone.

Nov 3, 7:43 pm

I subscribed to receiving emails updating me on your walks. I heard nothing until now when I have just received 19 of them in the last 10 minutes and I suspect they are still coming through. How do I stop them it’s very annoying. I am going to delete them so they don’t clog up my in box which is not what I wanted to happen.


Unfortunately, I don’t know how to stop the above happening, because, when I share my photo’s from Flickr to my blog, I have to do each one, on its own and it automatically posts it “live” to its own blog post. I then try as quickly as possible to then copy/paste the image into the relevant blog post where I want them to finally reside ….. I then delete the stand alone image/blog post as quickly as possible.

I wish there was a simpler/better way of doing this, as I’d like to share the pic’s into the walks diary post directly, but I’m told by the guys at flickr that this is not possible.

As it stands, it’s quite a cumbersome and time consuming method I’m using, but ultimately it does seem to work, with my Flickr images and WordPress blog both linking quite nicely to each other,

What I’ll try to do now that I’ve had this feedback, is ascertain from flickr whether it’s possible to share a pic to a draft WordPress post rather than a live post. If this is at-all possible, it would stop the multiple notifications to my subscribers.

I’m really sorry that this method has ended up being annoying,; because I don’t post as often as I’d like, I hope it doesn’t put you off reading my walks diaries and associated posts.

Best regards to all my readers,





20130113_Braunston Winter Canal Side Photographic Walk

20130113_Braunston Winter Canal Side Photographic Walk

When : 13th January 2013

Who : Just me

Where : Braunston, Northamptonshire, between Rugby and Daventry

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

Distance : Approx 4 miles (6.5 km)

Significant heights : None – Gentle rise up side of flight of locks – otherwise mostly dead flat on good tow paths.

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

20130113-33_Canal Side pump House + Narrow Boat - Braunston by gary.haddenSummary : A walk specifically for me to take some wintertime photo’s down on the canals in Braunston …. Grand Union Canal and Oxford Canal …. but it’d be a perfectly nice walk to do without a camera, not to mention a couple of pubs by the canal side and at least one more up in the village.

Click on a pic’ and it should launch as a larger image on my flickr photostream.

Well, the morning had been quite fine (for a change), and the afternoon was forecast to OK too. So, I decided that it’d be a good opportunity to go play with my camera and I decided the canals at Braunston would be an excellent place to head for. My beginners photo’ course tutor from last year at Rugby’s Percival Guildhouse [ David Harding ] often goes there and posts some images on his flickr account, so, as I both know and like Braunston anyway I figured it’d be worth a couple of hours “me-time” down by the cut.

I grabbed tripod and fitted a polarizing filter to the front of my Pentax K200D camera, wrapped up warm (it wasn’t raining but it was very cold) and headed off through 20130113_Braunston Winter Canal Side Photographic WalkDunchurch and down the A45, passing signs for Grandborough, Onley (Prison), Barby and Willoughby en-route to Braunston. Not quite a mile past Willoughby there was a space in a lay-by just before reaching Braunston – This is just 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 it would suit my purposes just fine. 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.

20130113-01_Frozen Flood Waters Braunston by gary.haddenAnyway, enough of the pre-amble; I set off by the side of the road, towards Braunston, soon crossing the main road where a path drops down to the tow path. Before going down here however, I noticed a finger post corresponding with a footpath I’d never walked on before; so I dropped down the bank to a stile and crossed into the grassy field. Well, I say grassy field, it was really an extensively flooded field, and more than that, it was a frozen extensively flooded field.

20130113-02_Winter Sky - Braunston by gary.haddenThe low sun, wispy clouds and a tiny arc of an ice halo (looks like a mini-rainbow) were quite beautiful and the atmospheric effect gave me my first photo opportunity of the day. The footpath, well that still remains to be walked in the future, apart from it heading off in the wrong direction, it also headed off straight through the middle of the flood and I really didn’t fancy skating out into the mini-lake! …. so, I returned to the road and dropped down the afore-mentioned path down to the canal tow path where I turned right.

20130113-03_Grand Union Canal - Braunston by gary.haddenImmediately, I liked the quality of light on the water and there were some super reflections, but I soon realised that the low sun and deep shadows would be a bit of a challenge for me, so I spent a few minutes playing with camera settings, determining in my mind to avoid using the auto settings on the dial as much as possible.

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 them but instead chose to take the right hand branch, going under the arch of the first bridge, before heading off to the south west on the well surfaced tow path. After a very short stretch I used a brick built bridge to cross to the other bank and then back down to the iron bridges and the canal tee-junction once again. Again turning 20130113-07_Church Spire Reflection - Braunston by gary.haddenright, I continued along the tow path; on the opposite bank here is a small area of light industrial units closely followed by The Boat House pub mentioned earlier. Soon after, I passed under the A45 as it crosses overhead via a utilitarian, but 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. 20130113-09_Brauston Marina off Grand Union Canal by gary.haddenThe major point of interest soon changes to the near bank however, as another arching iron bridge is reached spanning a side-arm of the canal heading into a large marina full of narrow boats and barges. The multitude of craft make a very colourful sight, all bar none painted in bright primary colours – Canal folk just don’t do pastels in their boat liveries, I don’t think there was a shabby looking boat in sight! Most of the boats moored on the canal side were equally pristine, and one in particular caught my eye with ropes sat on the rooftop coiled into perfect circles – most tend to just throw the ropes on top in a heap.

20130113-11_Brauston Marina off Grand Union Canal by gary.hadden

20130113-12_Coiled Rope - Narrow Boat - Braunston by gary.hadden

20130113-13_Narrow Boat - Grand Union Canal - Braunston by gary.haddenIt felt very cold down by the waterside, and there weren’t many boats moving around on the cut …. I was lucky enough to be in about the right place to take some pic’s as a bright yellow and green vessel came under one of the several brick bridges that straddle the canal. 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 hollows and cracks. The surface of the brickwork has certainly seen better times, but I like the unkempt look.

20130113-18_Moss _ Lichen - Canal Bridge Braunston by gary.hadden

20130113-19_Decaying Brickwork - Canal Bridge Braunston by gary.hadden

20130113-16_Silhouetted walkers - Grand Union Canal - Braunston by gary.haddenJust like the quietness of traffic on the canal, there were also considerably fewer people walking the canal tow path than I’ve seen before (in summer it can be rather crowded on the towpath), but there were are few hardy souls (just like me) who’d ventured out into the chilly afternoon. Half way alongside the marina is an old narrow footbridge that has to be negotiated (over another access from the canal into the mooring area). This bridge is accessed and exited via some rather steep steps; not too much of a problem for walkers, but decidedly awkward for 20130113-24_Narrow Boats - Grand Union Canal - Braunston by gary.haddenpeople pushing prams and equally awkward for cyclists which I witnessed first-hand as I waited patiently for a family to cross in the opposite direction. Still, it gave the opportunity to try to take some interesting pic’s of some more run down looking boats that were moored nearby. Once over the walkway, the way ahead was dead easy, and the boats moored (a holiday hire company predominantly) became much better maintained again, however there were lived-in boats hereabouts also, 20130113-25_Still Waters - Grand Union Canal - Braunston by gary.haddenevidenced by the smoke emanating from the small rooftop chimneys; the smoke instead of rising skywards seemed to be suppressed by the cold and hung around like a mini-fog around the boats. There was hardly a breath of a breeze, and this facilitated some super mirror like reflections, although finding a setting that worked well was a tad tricky in the falling afternoon light; in places it was becoming quite gloomy as the weak sun dropped towards the horizon. Still the sun did introduce a pinky-orangey glow to the sky, and warmed up the tones of the brickwork of the bridges, locks and canal side buildings.

20130113-27_Bridge Reflections - Grand Union Canal - Braunston by gary.hadden

20130113-29_The Admiral Nelson - Pub in Braunston by gary.haddenContinuing on, I’d now passed the small complex of old pump house, bottom lock, bottom lock cottage (shop) and boat-works and then past a number of locks including one adjacent to The Admiral Nelson pub; a super place for an evening drink in warmer conditions. I was tempted to head on inside for a warming drink before turning back down the cut to the car, but instead chose to continue up the flight of locks, past the top lock and thence on into a cutting to reach and stop at the entrance to Braunston Tunnel. I’d never been this far up the tow path before, and even with a tripod I found it difficult to set my camera up to cope with the now quite dark conditions down in the cutting. 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 Daventry/Welton end of the over 200 year old construction.

20130113-26_Late Winter Sun - Braunston by gary.hadden

There is a plaque that commemorates the Bicentenary of the opening of the tunnel (1873 m / 1.9 km / 6145  feet / 1.16 miles long) and the 9 mile stretch of what was then called The Grand Junction Canal between Braunston and Weedon on the 21st June 1796. I find it quite incredible how something approaching 217 years old is still being used – It’s a superb feat of longevity – I wonder how many modern pieces of civil engineering being built today will not only survive but continue to prosper in the year 2213 and beyond ?

The only way to continue would have been up the side of the cutting bank on a large path. On my map this leads to a track running above the tunnel; I assume, as there is no tow path through the tunnel, this would have been for the unhitched horses that used to pull the barges (before motorisation) and leading them to the other end whilst the boats were “legged” the long distance through the tunnel. Legging is where two people lie flat on their backs on a plank laid cross the boat and then “walking” the boat along by placing their feet on the tunnel’s ceiling/sides … Can you imagine how hard this would be, even with an empty boat, but when fully laden it must have been an incredibly hard task and claustrophobic at the same time. I’ve read that eventually after an unsuccessful attempt at a powered rope haulage system, a steam tug was introduced with costs varying depending on the weight of the load. The tunnel is so long that there are air shafts dropped down to it from the surface, with chimney shaped constructions above ground. I’ve also read that the Georgian engineers building the tunnel got it just a little wrong, where their tunneling from each end didn’t quite meet up perfectly, resulting in an S-bend in the middle.

20130113-34_Bottom Lock Cottage (shop)- Braunston by gary.haddenAnyway, that’s by the by, I didn’t walk up the side path, instead turning around to retrace my steps all the way back to the car. Although the same distance, this took considerably less time as the light was fading quite quickly now making my camera almost redundant, although I did get a few images where I spent a bit of time setting up and “playing” with settings.

20130113-36_Narrow Boat - Grand Union Canal - Braunston by gary.hadden

20130113-38_The Boat House Restaurant_ Canal Reflection Braunston by gary.haddenEventually I reached and passed The Boat House pub, crossed the twin iron bridges at the junction of the Grand Union and Oxford Canals and reached a modern concrete and steel bridge where the A45 passes overhead and near to where I’d parked my car.

20130113-39_Modern Bridge A45 over the Grand Union Canal - Braunston by gary.haddenI kind of liked the way the soft reflected light bounced off the steels, but it wasn’t easy for me to get a usable image in the last of the days light. 20130113-40_Frozen Flood Waters Braunston by gary.haddenI thought that was probably that, for my photo-taking, but upon reaching the road side, I decided to try and capture a last shot or two of the fading sunlight playing on the still frozen flooded field and then to try and get some “light-trail” pictures of the passing cars by using long “bulb” exposures. Looking at the exif data on my images between 1 and 2 seconds at F/5.6 seemed to work best.

20130113-43_Head Light Light Trails Braunston by gary.hadden    20130113-41_Tail Light Light Trails Braunston by gary.hadden

Well, that’s about it for this walks diary write up. By the time I got home, it really did feel that night had arrived and I settled down for the evening with my family in front of the TV.

I’ve attached a selection of photo’s from the day above, but there are more to be seen on my flickr account if you want to go see, just use this link.

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.

20110824_Sunset wander and photo experimentation.

20110824_Sunset wander and photo experimentation.

When : 24th August 2011.

Who : Me and my 15 y.o daughter Katie.

Where : Cawston (near Rugby).

If you click on a pic’ it should launch as a larger image on my flickr photostream.

Summary : An evening wander  from our front door [hoping for a nice sunset over Lawford heath from the old Lias line railway track-bed] which turned into something just a little bit different.

20110824_cawston (Rugby) Sunset wander and photo experimentation.

20110824-14_Light-Trail Experiment_Green on Dark Green by gary.hadden

This is one of those short posts that really isn’t a country walk, but a bit of fun really … The evening looked like it could develop to have a nice sunset and I mentioned I might go out for a wander with my camera for company …. Then, low and behold, my daughter (who doesn’t “do walking”) said she’d come with me – Well you could have knocked me over with a feather, but readily agreed.

We set off on the estate’s perimeter paths, ending up joining the old and disused Lias Line (Rugby to Leamington) railway near Drummond Road. The railway has a path running along the old track bed which over the years has proven to be rather over-grown at this time of year, with bramble, briar rose and other scrub plants trying to bar the way. However, due to the sterling efforts of a small band of volunteers the path was easily passable, the undergrowth having been cut back considerably earlier in the year.

20110824-03_Evil Eyes - Cawston Sunset - Rugby by gary.haddenThe old Lias Line Railway is being transformed into a local nature reserve and is becoming known as Cawston Greenway. The volunteer group has obtained a little sponsorship and with advice from conservation groups are making clearings etc. to encourage a wider diversity of both flora and fauna … a fantastic effort that will be an asset to the whole local community (especially when Sustrans improve the section south of Potford’s Dam). The “Friends of Cawston Greenway” are easy to find on the internet and I believe the next round of work-days are soon to be started, now the bird nesting season is over for the year. I’m also sure they’d welcome any new-comers to the cause.

Anyway, as we walked northwards chatting, we soon reached a break in the trees giving a view over the farmland of Lawford Heath (out beyond the new Rugby Western Relief Road not more than a 20110824-04_Evil Eyes - Cawston Sunset - Rugby by gary.haddencouple of hundred yards away). We lingered here for a while, taking a few photo’s of the pretty but hardly spectacular sunset over to the west. The most remarkable thing was some breaks in the clouds that (with a little imagination) looked like angry devils eyes glowering down on the gloom covered landscape below.

Compared to some sunsets we sometimes get hereabouts, I was a tad disappointed with this evening’s offering, but despite this we moved on, further away from home, still on the greenway and soon reached a modern concrete 20110824-12_Light-Trail Experiment_Yellow on Blue + Beige by gary.haddenunderpass next to one of the old Victorian brick built bridges. The underpass takes the path below the Cawston link road out onto the relief road. It was here we climbed the quite steep bank to reach the road into the estate …. very quickly we reached a still unfinished traffic island with tall lamp-posts lighting up the gloom.

20110824-08_Light-Trail Experiment_Yellow on Green + Orange by gary.haddenA very poor photo, looking past these lights (low light + slow shutter speed x hand held camera = very shaky image) was instantly deleted. However, this gave me an idea for an experiment. I put the camera setting to B and kept scene on Sunset, then, whilst wiggling the camera about, I held the shutter release button down for several seconds giving a long exposure. Katie loved the resulting effect (I think her very words 20110824-09_Light-Trail Experiment_Pink on Blue + Purple by gary.haddenwere something like “Oh Wow, That’s Cool” or at least something very similar …. We then stood for some time playing, trying to get the best effects we could. Once it started to get properly dark (the sun had gone completely now, with just a faint glow in the distance), we headed home – just a few minutes away along the road.

20110824-13_Light-Trail Experiment_Pink on Purple + Brown by gary.hadden

20110824-10_Light-Trail Experiment_Pink on Purple + Orange by gary.haddenLater, myself and my 10-y.o. son Craig played around with the better of the images on the computer, enhancing/intensifying/distorting the photo’s to make some very colourful results; I quite like them, I hope you do to …. They are certainly a major departure from the landscapes I normally take, upload to flickr and attach in my blog.20110824-11_Light-Trail Experiment_Pink on Cerise by gary.hadden

Well, that’s that, I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….

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


T.T.F.N. Gary.

20101207-10_Hoarfrost -Coventry War Memorial Park

After yet another night and morning of early winter freezing fogs, the mists lifted to reveal a lovely blue sky and a dazzling hoarfrost on vitually everything.

So I took part of my lunch-time to grab my camera and take a wander in Coventry’s War Memorial Park …. and this photo’ is one of the results ….

There’s a bunch of other pic’s I’ve uploaded as a set; I’ve probably rushed them out onto flickr, but hey it was quite stunningly pretty and I wanted to share …. Please click on this link to go see.