20120129_Urban Photographic Project – Coventry – Big City Small Citizen

20120129_Urban Photographic Project – Coventry

Big City – Small Citizen

When : 29th January 2012

Who : Just Me

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 5 km (3.1 miles)

Significant heights : None really (Unless you climb the old Cathedral Spire like I did).

Summary : A photographic exercise set during a beginners course I’m taking at the moment.

The Set title = CITYSCAPE WITH PEOPLE … within this very broad title, I devised my own sub-title BIG CITY SMALL CITIZEN.

My thoughts were to show how small and insignificant an individual can appear against the backdrop of mostly concrete and hard landscaping that is Coventry … and Coventry has got plenty of that and precious little soft landscaping.

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

[ Or just use this link to go straight to a slide show ]

20110924-22_Styhead Gill backed by Great End by gary.haddenThis is a departure from the normal country walking I write about in my blog and the complete antithesis from the Lake District walks I last posted about.

Coventry is a place I am very familiar with, it being my home town and where I still work. The photography on the other hand took me out of my comfort zone completely – Substituting CITYSCAPE for LANDSCAPE is hard enough, but the set project included having PEOPLE as a central plank of the exercise … taking the emphasis away from what could have developed into a purely architectural exercise …. The photo course leader/lecturer is a good-natured gent’ called David Harding, a Rugby based Photographer with his own web-site and flickr account and sells his images via various means including Alamy.

20120129-04_Coventry_Whittle Arches + Millennium Clock by gary.hadden

20120129_Urban Photographic Project-Coventry-Big City Small Citizen
I’ve plotted the route I took on WalkJogRun and found the distance covered was just over 3 miles in total, but this really isn’t important as I took hours upon hours on the journey, criss-crossing bits of the same ground several times. I ended up only covering about a quarter of the city centre …. but I think this allowed me to capture (at least in part) the essence of how I feel much of the city has become: Grey, ugly, scruffy, impersonal, and really not a very good place to be. This pains me!, as it’s my home town, I grew up there, I learned my trade there, I still work there and as such it pays my way in the world, and I have family that still live there … 20120129-66_Coventry_Redevelopment_Trinity Street-Broadgate by gary.haddenbut successive years of under-investment, bad investment, kowtowing to developers’ every whim and ignoring (no, destroying) what I think ordinary people need at least a little of – Green space!

Of course, this is a purely personal view; I’ve got no agenda;  No profit motive; No real reason to write this other than I hope someone in authority, a city Councillor maybe, reads this and looks at my images 20120129-15_Coventry_Community Support_Plastic police or real deterrent by gary.haddenand sees what I saw and tries to turn it around to be a vibrant, colourful and above all, a friendly place to go …. at the moment I don’t think it’s any of these things. If you think I’m being too negative, then you’re entitled to your views and I wish I didn’t feel the way I do.

I did the exercise on a cold, grey, overcast, gloomy (but dry) Sunday in January, which you could argue gives a slightly distorted view of the city. But I figured it would allow the real fabric of the city to be seen warts and all …. Of course some places are more attractive than others, like around 20120129-25_Coventry_Canal Basin by gary.haddenthe Cathedral, but on the whole the place is a bit grotty. You could also argue I only did about a quarter of the city centre and I’d have to agree, but I maintain it’s fairly typical of the area inside of or just outside the ring road and I did visit three of the supposedly feature areas of the city :- In and around Millennium Place, The Canal Basin and The Cathedral Area.

20120129-58_Coventry CIty Centre - The Precinct from Old Cathedral Spire by gary.haddenIf you open my pic’s on my flickr account, some will have a little more text, to give a bit more context and some [I hope] will just speak for themselves. Also, not surprisingly really, I took one or two pic’s with no people in them; it’d be almost impossible to resist the temptation to go slightly “off task” when out and about for so long without taking some non-people images.


20120129-23_Coventry_Crossing The Canal Basin Bridge by gary.haddenAnd finally, the people in the images are anonymous – I have absolutely no idea who they are – They just happened to be in Coventry at the same time as I was … If, in the unlikely event the people are recognisable, that wasn’t my particular motivation or intention, and if anyone depicted really objects and contacts me then I’ll remove the image as soon as possible – On the other hand, if they want to add their names and maybe their views on the city then they’d be very welcome to add them as a comment.

Well, from here I guess I’ll just let the pictures take over, with a few titles just to give an idea of where they were taken.

Fairfax Street,

20120129-02_Coventry_Small against Stark Buildings by gary.hadden

Millennium Place / Motor Museum Area.

20120129-08_Coventry_Looking Small - White Street-Hales Street by gary.hadden    20120129-06_Coventry_Crossing the Time zones - Millennium Clock by gary.hadden

20120129-07_Coventry_Crossing the Time zones - Millennium Clock by gary.hadden       20120129-10_Coventry_Blue Bridge above Millennium Place by gary.hadden

White Street / Under The Ring Road / Towards the Swanswell Area.

20120129-12_Coventry_A flash of Yellow - Taxi on White Street by gary.hadden

20120129-17_Coventry_Below The Ring Road (Swanswell) by gary.hadden    20120129-16_Coventry_Community Support_Plastic police or real deterrent by gary.hadden

20120129-19_Coventry_CCTV_Big Brother is Watching You by gary.hadden  20120129-18_Coventry_Below The Ring Road (Swanswell) by gary.hadden

Canal Basin Bridge over The Ring Road / Canal Basin Area.

20120129-21_Coventry_Concrete Jungle Walkways-Bishop Street by gary.hadden  20120129-20_Coventry_Crossing The Canal Basin Bridge by gary.hadden

20120129-24_Coventry_Boarded up by The Canal Basin by gary.hadden         20120129-29_Coventry_Boarded up + Sad_Admiral Lord Codrington Pub_Canal Basin by gary.hadden

20120129-27_Coventry_Reflections at The Canal Basin by gary.hadden

20120129-28_Coventry_Reflections at The Canal Basin by gary.hadden

Bishop Street Area.

20120129-33_Coventry_Two of Three Spires from Bishop Street by gary.hadden      20120129-34_Coventry_Striding out - Bishop Street by gary.hadden

20120129-36_Coventry_Ethnic Dress - Bishop Street into Silver Street by gary.hadden     20120129-37_Coventry_Boarded up - The Old Grammar School - A Criminal Waste by gary.hadden

Palmer Lane and Back to Millennium Place + Priory Place.

The backs of the buildings of the Burges in Palmer lane are possibly my favourite little bit of Coventry, where the River Sherbourne is visible for just a few yards.

20120129-41_Historic Coventry_Palmer Lane - Behind the Burges by gary.hadden    20120129-42_Historic Coventry - River Sherbourne Behind the Burges - Palmer Lane by gary.hadden

The area of Millennium Place up into Priory Lane is far from being my fave bit.

20120129-43_Coventry_Waiting Taxis-Millennium Place by gary.hadden  20120129-45_Coventry_Crossing the Time zones - Millennium Clock by gary.hadden

20120129-46_Coventry_Priory Place and The Whittle Arches by gary.hadden  20120129-47_Coventry_Priory Place Fountain by gary.hadden

The bit between The Cathedrals, The Herbert Art Gallery and Cov- Uni. (with a bunch of skateboarders).

20120129-49_Coventry_Clergy on the New Cathedral Steps by gary.hadden      20120129-55_Relaxed - Skate Boarders_Coventry Cathedral Area by gary.hadden

20120129-56_Moving off - Skate Boarders_Coventry Cathedral Area by gary.hadden

20120129-57_Moving off - Skate Boarders_Coventry Cathedral Area by gary.hadden

Part of Coventry University.

20120129-50_Coventry_In Your Face Yellow_Cov University Buildings by gary.hadden

20120129-54_Passing by_ Coventry University Buildings by gary.hadden      20120129-52_Passing by_ Coventry University Buildings by gary.hadden

20120129-53_Shirt Number 58_ Coventry University by gary.hadden

The Cathedrals.

20120129-48_Coventry_How Long_Parking at The Cathedral by gary.hadden

20120129-61_Looking Small in  Coventrys Old Cathedral from The Spire by gary.hadden  20120129-62_Looking Small in  Coventrys Old Cathedral from The Spire by gary.hadden

20120129-60_Coventry_Chapel of Unity_New Cathedral from Old Cathedral Spire by gary.hadden   20120129-63_Old meets New-The Cathedrals Coventry by gary.hadden

And finally …. A short trip into the Shopping Precinct.

20120129-67_Coventry Upper Precinct - Heading in all Directions by gary.hadden

20120129-68_Coventry_Coffee and a Text by gary.hadden

The photo’s are either “as taken” or with minimal editing, such as straightening, a little cropping and maybe a little brightening/contrast 20120129-65_Coventry_Redevelopment_Trinity Walk-Trinity Street by gary.haddenadjustment … but there’s no way you could describe the images as “photoshopped” … they are virtually straight off the memory chip.

The equipment used :- Pentax K200D DLSR body with the 18-55 kit lens, I don’t think I used a filter at-all and I used a mixture of hand-held and tripod mounted shooting. In fact the tripod was bought just days earlier with some Christmas pressie money, so I was kind of playing and getting used to it having never used one before.

And finally, back at the photo course, as a bit of fun, we all submitted a small selection of our project images, and then we all marked each others anonymous images against various criteria such as technical ability, composition, etc, … and … I came third  (out of the eight of us).

T.T.F.N. Gary ….


Hopefully, my next post will be prettier and decidedly more positive in outlook.


20080217_ Cawston in the Frost Walk

20080217 Cawston in the Frost
When : 17 February 2008
Who : Just me
Where : Rugby – Warwickshire – England
Map to cover the area : 1:25000 OS Explorer Map 222 Rugby & Daventry
Grid Ref : 47,73 general area


There isn’t much to say about the walk per se, other than to say that I woke up to a beautifully cold and frosty Sunday morning and decided that it would be a shame to not take advantage.

In fact this wasn’t a walk in the sense of ruck-sack, packed lunches, etc., although I did wear walking boots but only as they’re the warmest footwear I’ve got.


I’ve decided to add this post just to show how you can get enjoyment straight outside your own front door. Anyway, I donned warm clothing and headed out for a bit of a wander.

I like the dry frosty crispness that we occasionally get; it’s much nicer than the normal grey dampness that our winters seem to consist of most of the time now-a-days. That’s despite the cold making my nose run and fingers soon not working very well (I kept taking gloves off to operate the camera so I guess that’s my fault).

The low sun sparkled on the frost and made superb silhouettes and long shadows. I especially liked the shapes and patterns made by the old wooden fence alongside the A4071 main road. 


The poor miniature daffodils, just starting to flower, bowed their heads as if in shock. Just a few weeks later they made a fantastic display, welcoming visitors not just to Cawston, but to Bilton Village & Rugby as well : Well done the local parish councils and Rugby Borough for the extensive planting – brill’, it’s a great way to give a good impression of a place and now they’ve established in their beds they are looking better every year.

I hope they do the same where the A4071 and the new Rugby bypass (currently under construction) join near Potsford Dam.

There weren’t many people about, just one or two hardy souls walking their dogs, other than that, I had the estate to myself and the area was beautifully quiet, the cold muting what-ever sounds there might have been. A lovely early morning had, then it was back to reality and family life as “Taxi-Driver Dad”!



For another local walk around Cawston (a proper 6¼ miler) please visit the following link, or go to the “Cov, Warks” category folder for my local walks posts.


I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….

20081019-21_Lake District – 3 Day Break

20081019-21 : Lake District – 3 Day break
When : 19th to 21st October 2008
Who : Me and Janet
Where : The Lake District – England


Twice in 4-months – To do some walking – Excellent.


This post gives an introduction to another short break in what I think is probably my favourite place to walk in England, this time with my sister Janet. She had been in the Ambleside/Rydal area for a short time earlier in the year with her family and had done a little bit of walking with them. She’d done a walk from Bob Allen’s book “Short Walks In The Lake District” that I had leant her for her trip.

The walk she’d done was “Lily Tarn on Loughrigg Fell from Rydal”. This 3½ miler had given her a hankering to do some more walking up there and a little more strenuous to boot.

We found ourselves organising a trip together, basically Janet leaving it to me to sort out some routes and accommodation, but with the request that at some point we’d include Grasmere and Rydal Water Lakes.

She had just touched on the outflow from Rydal water when there earlier in the year and wanted to explore further. She had seen another walk, this time in my copy of Bob Allen’s “On Lower Lakeland Fells” book, entitled “Grasmere and Rydal”. In the past, I’ve done several variations of walks, taking in these two charming mid-sized lakes, and had no problem in revisiting the area again.

I took the opportunity to start playing with my new “Memory Map” programme (1:50000 scale mapping) I had just bought, [http://www.memory-map.co.uk/]  and with reference to my OS 1:25000 scale maps,  I sorted out several routes as the basis for the 3 days, but with the proviso learnt over the years of “weather permitting”, especially as this was the end of October!


I booked us into one of the two Youth Hostels in Grasmere village, Butharlyp How. http://www.yha.org.uk/find-accommodation/the-lake-district/hostels/Grasmere-Butharlyp-Howe/index.aspx

We were supposedly booked into separate Male-Female dorm’s, but on arrival found they had in fact placed us in the same room together, just for ourselves. We glanced at each other deciding whether to object, but decided what the hell, we’d cope. I suppose we’ve reached the age where we’re not overtly shy, but we reckoned it was probably about 35 years ago since we’d last shared a bed-room (probably when our Gran’ had stayed over for Christmas when we were kids and I had to vacate my bedroom for her to have my bed). Anyway, all it meant was strategically turning our heads at the right times!

Despite the potential for embarrassment a few goods things came out of the arrangement.

  • As it was just the two of us in a room to sleep four, we had a bit of extra space to spread out a bit.
  • Again, as there were just two of us, we could both have a bottom bunk and not have to climb steps to the top bunks.
  • We could lock the door to the room and not worry about the security of our “stuff”. In a shared room I guess there’s always a higher risk of things going missing, although in approx nearly 30 years of hostelling I don’t think I’ve ever had anything stolen from a dorm’ (from a drying room yes, but a dorm’ no).


Sunday 19th Oct : A Grasmere Circular Walk, including :
Grasmere Village ; West/South shore of Grasmere Lake ; Loughrigg Terrace ; Rydal Caves ; Rydal Water ; Rydal Village ; White Moss Common ; Alcock Tarn ; Greenhead Gill ; Return to Grasmere Village.


Monday 20th Oct : A Grasmere Circular Walk, including :
Grasmere Village ; Lower part of Easdale ; Helm Crag ; Gibson Knott ; Moment Crag ; Calf Crag ; Far Easdale and waterfalls ; Easdale Tarn ; Sourmilk Gill and waterfalls ; Easdale ; Return to Grasmere Village.


Tuesday 21st Oct : An Elterwater Circular Walk, including :
Waithwaite Bottom Car Park ; Elterwater Village ; Little Langdale ; Slater Bridge ; Colwith Force ; Skelwith Bridge ; Skelwith Force ; Elter Water Lake ; Return to Elterwater Village and Waithwaite Bottom Car Park.


I can’t remember the last time I’d spent 3-days on the trot with Janet, probably on a scouting event when we were in our teens (‘struth what a long time ago!), but we’ve always got on very well and this trip was no exception and it was good being able to chat about anything and everything, important and trivial … My other sis’ Julie now wants in on the next trip we organise … Hey, ANOTHER trip, that sounds good …. Ermmmm, we’ll have to start planning where and when.

Anyway, preamble over, that’s probably more than enough background to the trip, the more interesting stuff will follow on separate pages (ie. the walks themselves). I’ll be publishing diary posts for each of the walks, when I get around to writing them up and editing which photo’s I want to add.

I’ve added another post just for Janet’s panorama photo’s, as she had just learnt how her camera could do this, so I think I’ll make a special post just for these.

Some direct links to my walks diaries follow below, otherwise have a look in the “Lake district Category listing for some more stuff …..





One last comment; a few days after we’d been there, the 2008 OMM event (Original Mountain Marathon) was held just a little further north in the Borrowdale/Buttermere area and the story became national headline stuff. I’ve made a little comment post which you can access via my Lake District Category, or direct using the following link : https://tothehills.wordpress.com/2008/11/05/20081019-21_lake-district-omm-comment/

I hope you enjoyed my scribblings ….


Hello and a very big welcome to my blog “tothehills”.

(Started September 2008) 

My site, as I add my diary posts, will build a retrospective look back at country walks I’ve done, in what I hope is an informative and entertaining way for you to share.    

Country Walking, Rambling, Hiking, Hill Walking, Mountain Walking (or whatever you want to call this great pastime) is my most enduring passion and as such I have tried to convey this in my writings.

Please dip-in and find out about the walks I’ve done and places I’ve been.

I hope my diaries give you walks ideas for yourself.

 [I’d welcome comments/feedback if you feel inclined or if there are any questions on my walks please ask …. I’ve also a large back-catalogue of walks done across England and a bit further afield in my head (and on film) since about 1980 when I did my first walk (Kinder Scout from Edale to Hayfield) so if you think I might be able to impart some knowlegde please ask … one day I might actually be able to get them down in print!]

Site Navigation :-
There are a number of ways to move around my site.

  • The simplest is to just continue to scroll down from this home page; this will show my diary posts in the order in which they were published, most recent at the top. This maybe isn’t very intuitive if you’re looking for something more specific, but fine if you want to see what I’ve just written.
  • Use the search box (next to the tabs at the top of the page) … type what-ever you want to find – you might get lucky.
  • Use the categories in the side-bar area on the right, or click on the links below, which will take you to the groups of diary posts associated with regions where I’ve walked.

Coventry, Warwickshire and Close By     Lake District     Peak District

Yorkshire     Cotswolds     England-Other Places     Wales

With The Midland Hill Walkers     With The Coventry CHA Rambling Club

Walks on Long Distance Footpaths     Charity Walks

The interesting stuff (I hope) :-
I intend to separate my walks diaries into several regions in order to make Navigation as easy and as intuitive possible (see above). It may take some time to post something in each category, but I hope to populate each “folder” in time.

My diaries are written in an informal style describing the walks I’ve done, combining general route descriptions with comments about anything related to the walk, whether it be the weather, particular views, emotions, etc.

The boring stuff (perhaps) :-

 I will also add some pages that describe who I am, general interests, and various scribblings related to my walking activities and my views and opinions.

These are not essential to read before dipping straight into the walks but I hope they convey a bit more about me and how country walking has been a huge part of my non-working life.

Because walking in the countryside has its hazards and risks please read my disclaimer.

I hope you enjoy reading my walking diaries and scribblings.