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.

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20120831_Upton House + Gardens Visit

20120831_A wander around Upton House and Gardens

20120831-21_Me on My 50th Birthday - B+W by gary.haddenWhen : 31st August 2012

Who : Me and my family

Where : Upton House and Gardens, Warwickshire, England

Summary :  A birthday day out for me – My 50th ! – To Upton House and Gardens, National Trust Property.

20120831-12_Upton House Gardens - Flower Border Terrace by gary.haddenLocation : Just off the A422 (Stratford-Upon-Avon to Banbury Road) midway between Ettington and Banbury. Once on the A422 it’s very well sign-posted.

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

Not a country walk as such really, but I thought I’d share this post as it was a lovely day out, very gentle, to celebrate my 50th birthday where I’d booked a day off as holiday from work.

Not working; Sun shining; No rain; With my lovely Wife and Kids; It couldn’t have gotten very much better.

20120831_A wander around Upton House and Gardens

The day panned out like this :-

  • Was allowed a bit of a lie in (doesn’t happen often).
  • Didn’t go to work (good start to the day!)
  • Opened my prezzies.
  • Successfully ran some errands in Town.
  • Good drive down The Fosse Way (B4455) to turn off onto the A422 to reach Upton House.
  • Got Priorities right as soon as we’d paid to get in = Cream Tea for lunch!(National Trust Tea Shops/Restaurants are consistently very good).

20120831-01_Upton House Gardens - Iron Crocodile by gary.hadden    20120831-06_Me - Myself - Yours Truly - I = Gary Hadden by gary.hadden

20120831-02_Cream Tea_Me - Myself - Yours Truly - I = Gary Hadden by gary.hadden

  • Walk around the steeply terraced gardens (Herbaceous Flower Borders and Vegetable/Fruit Allotments).

20120831-10_A secluded spot by gary.hadden

20120831-11_Upton House Gardens - Balustraded Steps by gary.hadden

20120831-16_Upton House Gardens - Alloments + Reflections by gary.hadden

  • Wander around the large pond and then the small pond (with giant coy) and later the Bog Garden.

20120831-13_Upton House Gardens - Pond + Alloments by gary.hadden

20120831-14_Upton House Gardens - Pond + Boundary Wall Border by gary.hadden

20120831-15_Upton House Gardens - Tranquil Reflections by gary.hadden

20120831-17_Upton House Gardens - Small Pond Reflections by gary.hadden

20120831-18_Upton House Gardens - Giant Coy Carp by gary.hadden

20120831-19_Upton House Gardens - In The Bog Garden by gary.hadden

  • And a walk around the inside of the House itself, with its huge selection of paintings (some very important and big names included – Some I liked, Some I didn’t, but isn’t that the nature of art!).
  • Dinner out at the Old Royal Oak / Hungry Horse Pub in Hillmorton on the Outskirts of Rugby (at the side of The Oxford Canal) – I had an excellent mixed grill, lubricated with a couple pints of bitter.
  • Ended of the day with a large glass of single malt whisky (Bowmore, from the isle of Islay = one of my prezzies) … Scrummy stuff indeed – Will it last ‘till Christmas ?
  • And finally, To bed, very relaxed and chilled.

I hope you enjoy my pic’s, even a fraction of how I enjoyed being there taking them :-

And, to sum up :- We tell our kids to find alternative, more descriptive words for “nice” when writing in their school work, but the whole day was eerrrrmm, well, dare I say it “NICE” …. even if I had reached THE BIG FIVE-OH, and I’m now in my 6th DECADE – oh well let’s be positive and not dwell on that !

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

T.T.F.N. Gary

20110819_A Sunset Walk Around Draycote Water

20110819_A Sunset Walk Around Draycote Water

When : 19th August 2011.

Who : Just Me

Where : Draycote Water (near Dunchurch).

Maps : 1:25000 OS Explorer Map no. 222, Rugby & Daventry.

Start Point + End Point : SP469,709

Approx Distance : Just over 5 miles (8 km).

Heights : Pretty much flat, some extremely gentle undulations.

Parking : On street parking in Thurlaston (as prettily and as considerately to the local residents as possible).

If you click on a pic’  it should launch as a larger image on my flickr photostream, or if you don’t wont words, use this LINK for a slide show with some extra pic’s as a bit of a bonus.

Summary : An impromptu summertime evening walk around the local reservoir hoping to be rewarded with a half-decent sunset.

Route Map :

20110819_A Sunset Walk Around Draycote Water

20110819-23_Sunset reflections + Swans_Rainbow Corner_Draycote Water by gary.haddenThe night before had turned out to have a lovely pinky-orange gentle glow, just before dusk had taken over completely, and driving home from work I felt the skies promised something similar for this evening. Then, once our family dinner was served, eaten, and tied away I decided to get out and about hoping that a half decent repeat would happen again. I figured the angles might be about right to get some reflections across Draycote Water, although I set off more in hope than expectation that my plan might indeed come to fruition.

The car journey lasted all of five, well, maybe ten minutes, as I parked up next to the small church (near the windmill) in the village of Thurlaston. My plans had started to look a little dodgy as a shower had necessitated windscreen wipers as I pulled into the village and it was still spitting as I set off through a large gate to head down the slope ahead on a wide concrete drive. The sky didn’t look heavily laden with rain so I set off anyway and I was proven right as that was the last rainfall of the evening.

20110819-02_Toft Bay or Shallows_Draycote Water by gary.haddenAfter a couple of hundred yards at the bottom of the hill the path heads into a wooded area (just to the right of some large metal utility gates) and soon crosses a small footbridge and equally as soon, emerges out onto a tarmac’d roadway. This roadway is the perimeter drive that creates a full circuit of Draycote Water, which is by far the largest body of water for miles around and as such is a magnet for waterfowl of all sorts, including a large colony of gulls and various varieties of ducks, grebes, cormorants and other water loving birds. In turn, these attract birdwatchers and there is a bird hide near Toft Bay in the north-east corner of the reservoir. Also, fishermen, sailors and windsurfers use the water; there is a sailing club on the bank almost directly opposite where the path from Thurlaston meets the perimeter road.

I had a decision to make, not an easy one, but with only two options, so I had a fifty-fifty chance of getting it right … a) Turn right on the road to go around anti-clockwise or b) Turn left and head on the road in (you’ve guessed it) a clockwise direction. My difficulty was trying to predict how long any sunset would take to develop and then how long it might last for and where the best place would be to get the best reflections.

I decided to turn right and headed off lickety-split at a fair old pace but it didn’t take long for the clouds of midges to force me off the road and down to the water’s edge where there was a stronger breeze and fewer flying insects. Also, I was in luck in that the waters were quite low and a soft verge, almost like a sandy/muddy beach allowed me to walk around the lake shore with relative ease; occasionally I just had to be careful of the softest mud so that I didn’t start to sink!

20110819-04_Swans taking off_Dunns Bay_Draycote Water by gary.haddenI was generally heading into the sun as it sank towards the horizon, but as yet it hadn’t coloured up at all, but was quite dramatic with the broken clouds and light dancing on the reservoir’s waters lapping at the shore – almost completely monochrome. I particularly liked a small group of four swans at one small bay, and was lucky enough to see two of them sprint across the water before taking to the air as I approached. The other pair were quite happy to see me just walk by, maybe no more than ten feet away.

20110819-05_Swans_Dunns Bay_Draycote Water by gary.hadden

20110819-06_Draycote Water North Shore nr Valve Tower by gary.hadden

20110819-08_Valve Tower_Draycote Water by gary.haddenI now needed to return to the road, and got my head down to pick up the pace once more (staying aware of the handful of lone cyclists that passed me by in both directions) and soon arrived at the northern end of the western dam. This is marked by the valve tower sat in the reservoir and probably in very deep water and is linked to the dam via a walkway (no public access). Although utilitarian, the construction has some degree of design about it, and sort of reminds me of the old round cafe in the lower precinct in Coventry not far away. I think I like it, but I can’t quite put my finger on why, as I don’t generally appreciate “modern” building. I think having the glow of the low sun on the walls helped.

20110819-09_Draycote Bank (Dam)_Draycote Water by gary.haddenIn fact, the sunset had now started to colour up a little, and lit up the grassy banks of the dam’s slopes so that the dry grass almost glowed a rich yellowy colour. This counterpointed with the now two roadways disappearing into the distance in parallel lines converging at the horizon. I tried walking across the dam at a fast pace, but was continually slowed to view the ever changing light playing on the clouds with a small sliver of orange building on the horizon.

20110819-13_Warwickshire Sunset from Draycote Bank_Draycote Water by gary.hadden

20110819-10_Flock-Murder-Storytelling-Muster-Parcel or Horde of Crows by gary.haddenA heron kept flying out ahead of me down by the water’s edge, always just out of reach of my camera lens, so I switched focus onto a very large congregation of crows sat on the grassy slopes. I figured they’d maybe all fly off en-masse and hoped to get them silhouetted against the sky, but they didn’t really oblige, instead of flying upwards above the horizon they all stayed low so I didn’t quite get the result I’d hoped for. After that I did indeed pick up the pace and soon reached the southern end of the dam where the two roads merge back into one as they take a sharp turn eastwards.

20110819-16_Sunset reflections + Swans_Rainbow Corner_Draycote Water by gary.hadden

20110819-20_Sunset reflections + Angler_Rainbow Corner_Draycote Water by gary.haddenThis corner was populated with a smattering of fly fisherman, some out in small boats, others wading out to stand almost thigh deep in the water. The sunset had now intensified considerably and I lingered for some time trying to get some half decent images …. I’ll let you decide if you think they’re any good, but I like them so that’s probably all that matters really. 20110819-22_Sunset reflections + Swan_Rainbow Corner_Draycote Water by gary.haddenI can’t decide if I like the ones with the fishermen or the ones with the feeding swans best.

After a while the glow diminished and the gloom of dusk started to roll in – and I still had almost half of the circuit to complete! So once again I headed off at a good pace on the perimeter road, in fact I even broke into a run (not easy in hiking boots). This was not so much down to a sense of time, but because of the incredible clouds of midges, gnats and mosquitoes around here – Some of them were huge and I didn’t want to hang around with them buzzing around me, getting in ears and nostrils and potentially biting great chunks out of any exposed skin.

20110819-28_Yacht Masts_Sailing Club_Draycote Water by gary.haddenA slight rise brought me to the back of the sailing club, with a multitude of masts pointing skywards. I’ve tried numerous times to get a decent photo of yacht masts like this – there’s an good image there somewhere – but I always seem disappointed with my results – today was no different, and I’ve only kept one from about half-a-dozen this time round and I’m not really convinced by that one, but it helps tell the story of what the walk was like that evening.

20110819-30_Small fishing boats coming in at sunset_Draycote Water by gary.haddenLeaving the yacht club, I dropped down to the start of the eastern dam and almost as soon stopped again, this time to try and get some images of the motor boat marina and the fishermen returning from the far corner before night benighted them out on the water. I set off again across the dam, reaching the north eastern corner known as Toft Bay with the sun now gone completely. 20110819-31_Toft Bay or Toft Shallows at Dusk_Draycote Water by gary.haddenJust a soft blue glow and wispy (almost stormy looking) clouds allowing me to navigate along the road, but this was to almost disappear as I entered an area much more wooded. It was so gloomy that I walked straight past the set-back gate and path back up into Thurlaston and that was despite looking out for it. It only took a minute or two to realise I had started to reprise the outward part of the walk and soon back-tracked and rose up the concrete drive to the church and my parked car.

The whole walk had taken less than 2 hours, which given the time spent taking photo’s, I think is remarkable, showing that when I was moving I must have been moving quite rapidly. Perhaps I’m regaining a little of my old fitness levels? But there again, perhaps not! … to be really tested on the next walk planned, with The Midland Hill Walkers, in the Brecon Beacons on the following Sunday (diary and pic’s of that walk to follow at some point I’m sure).

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.

20090405_A Before Breakfast Walk in Brixham

20090405_A Before Breakfast Walk in Brixham

When : 5th April 2009

Who : Me and Craig

Where : Brixham, Devon, England

Map Used : OS 1:25,000 Pathfinder Series sheet SX85/95 (quite old now)

Start + End Point : 917,558

Approx Distance : around about 2.5 miles (4 km) perhaps, (maybe a tad more?)

Heights : None

Parking : We were parked at our guest house (The Melville), but there is parking in Brixham

Summary : An early (very early!) walk around the harbour area in Brixham.

My little boy Craig had woken very early and as normal he was wide awake long before the rest of us would have even stirred …. We’ve kinda learnt how to cope with this at home, but it certainly didn’t bode well for a couple of hours in a family room with the four of us in fairly close proximity.

Anyway, I’d half planned for this very eventuality and had packed my camera in its bag ready for an early start. I’d read how good “the light” was just before sunrise especially by the coast … I think proper photographers (not me I’m afraid) call it the “magic hour” or the “golden hour”. Anyway, Craig and I dressed as quickly and as quietly as possible and we slipped out of the room promising to be back for breakfast, leaving the girls of the family to snooze a while longer and get up at their leisure.

Having tip-toed down the several flights of stairs, we surprised the owner of the B+B, by the front door. I’m sure he doesn’t get many guests up and about before sunrise in the normal course of things. ( http://www.themelville.co.uk/ )

Stepping out into the early morning air transported me back to some of my childhood holiday memories, of going down the paper shop for a newspaper with my Dad. Perhaps Craig will have the same feelings stored in the back of his memory banks to resurface some time in the future. There’s something special about the crisp chill in the morning air anywhere, but especially so by the seaside and even more so when you live almost as far from the coast as you can in England, as we do!

We quickly made the distance into the town, having walked the route the previous evening helped, knowing where to go. Just shy of the front I decided to nip into a newsagent’s, where I bought a paper for me and (after much deliberating over the one he wanted) a comic for Craig … I think we settled on “The Beano” eventually ….

We also picked up a couple of bottles of water for a drink as by now I was feeling my thirst needed a good quenching.

A few more steps brought us to the harbour side, very close to the statue of William of Orange. We turned left, passed the statue and then passed the replica of the Golden Hind and headed off down the quayside in front of the row of restaurants, shops and seafood stalls, eventually ending up on one of the inner harbour walls.

 

Looking out over the marina, the light was indeed quite beautiful as we watched the sun slowly lighten the sky from behind Berry Head. (Berry Head is the peninsula that protects Brixham from the prevailing south westerly weather).

I found the scene quite stunning, and Craig pointed out how he liked the trees silhouetted on top of the hill; quite observant for a seven year old I thought.

Turning around by 180 degrees, the early light lit up the bright colours of the fishing vessels in the harbour and the pastel painted walls of the houses above. I found it amazing how the vibrant colours contrasted with the almost monochrome scene when looking directly towards the sun rise.

 

There was hardly a whisper of breeze and the marina, sheltered behind the long breakwater, was like a millpond – lovely.

 Heading back towards the Golden Hind, I just couldn’t help but click away with my camera, although I’m technically not very proficient with my new DSLR, I tried hard to pick my subjects and compose what I hoped would be interesting shots, or at least hold it square and steady! ….

 

             

Can anyone tell me why images of lobster pots never quite seem to work very well? They ought to, given their locations, textures, colours, etc., etc., ….

Perhaps practice makes perfect, but I wanted to head off around the other side of the harbour, so we moved on leaving the crustacean traps behind for another time.

Upon reaching the western side of the harbour, the rising light levels made the town on the other side almost glow.

Although the tide was pretty low, there was enough water to give some super reflections. The whole scene was quite fantastic.

 

 Carrying on, we passed some posh new apartment blocks built in a modern style, quite nice but somehow they felt almost sterile when compared to the older traditional terraced houses perched on the slopes above the harbour. Perhaps the new will mellow and blend with age, but somehow I wouldn’t be surprised if they just start to look faded in time.

It didn’t take long to reach the lifeboat, the iconic shape and instantly recognisable blue & orange colours standing out against the multitude of predominately white modern yachts in the marina.

 

http://www.rnli.org.uk/rnli_near_you/southwest/stations/TorbaySouthDevon/history

http://www.torbaylifeboat.org.uk/

Soon after, we reached the landward end of the outer harbour breakwater. The small lighthouse in the distance beckoned us onto the almost 1-km long construction and Craig set of at the run … My word he’s got some energy for a little-un ….

We eventually reached the seaward end and the white washed lighthouse, where I took a couple of pic’s, and Craig turned around and promptly started running back towards land … I think he was competing against the half-a-dozen joggers using the wall in their training routine. Given the age and size difference, I think he gave a pretty good showing of himself.

Anyway, the raised pace wasn’t a bad thing, as time had flown by and we had to make tracks, back past the outer and inner harbours; through the town and back out to the guest house. We barely made it back in time for last call for breakfast …. I got a couple of glowering looks from my lovely wife and daughter, and one or two (probably deserved) pointed comments to-boot! … A pot of tea, cereals, juices and of course a traditional and hearty English breakfast went down a treat … We’d certainly worked up an appetite on our little expedition.

Following are a few web-links that I’ve found ; you might find them of interest :-

http://www.torbay.gov.uk/index/leisure/heritage/brixham-history.htm

http://www.devonperspectives.co.uk/brixham.html

http://www.goldenhind.co.uk/

http://www.brixham.uk.com/Pages/Resort.htm

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings (and my pics) ….

Next walk = 20090405_An Afternoon Stroll onto Berry Head.