When I plan to go somewhere for a walk, especially in the mountains, checking the weather gets to be a bit of an obsession. There are a few sites I use, the Met Office or the Mountain Weather Information Service. The problem, and joy of the weather in Britain is its wild variety, and so after the long-range forecast let me down for a North Wales dash, I headed instead towards Bath and the rolling hills South of the city.
I was expecting to get wet today, showers were in the air, but I had my lunch, coffee and plenty of time to enjoy the changing face of this stroll out through open farmland to then turn homewards following some of England’s industrial history in the form a canals and train lines no longer used. We are lucky in this country to have a network of by-ways, bridleways and footpaths that remain open and available to everyone. Linking villages, old work sites and woods or farms. Most have been in use for hundreds of years, and exploring them gives you the chance to see the country from an older and slower perspective.
I strolled, took pictures, listened to the sounds of the Buzzards calling to each other. I pondered the missing parts of bridges and the strange empty canal, with its towpath intact, meandering through fields and woodland. It slid quietly past villages, and on towards Bath, leaving behind the legacy of a flight of locks, empty, leading uphill still, though now towards nowhere. I wonder how the boatmen and their families felt as more rail lines were laid around the country, and more of their business traveled on the fast and noisy trains that where flinging themselves across the country. On one of the locks you can see the wear of hundreds of feet by the gate housing, where the men and women would push open and closed the wooden gates of the lock.
These locks were built somewhere in the late 1700’s and they are now being repaired, becoming part of the Limestone link walk. The work has survived though nature is also a hard worker, slow but sure if left to her own devices.
There is so much detail, each stone cut to size, faced when it is placed. Skilled and hard work, with knowledge of what the material could be made to do. How it could be made to last, a pleasant thought in the modern life we lead of throw it away and get new. Things aren’t built to be repaired anymore, shame really, I do enjoy taking things to pieces to see how they work.
It was a better than expected day, the sun shone, I stayed dry, had lunch sat by an old canal while listening to the nearby river, the birds singing and a breeze to cool the day. One thing I have tried is a new software set-up for my camera, a Canon Powershot. It seems some bright software developers have created a new firmware set. This has allowed me to try out bracketing for the first time since my old film camera. I want to try some HDR shots, so I’ll let you know how that all works out. First I need to get some new software, PShop 7 seems hopelessly outdated for this kind of thing, I will try to get an upgrade for it.
After that note I’ll leave you with some views from around the walk,
While we talk about our small island, about how the world is pressing in, it is pleasing to find that within ten miles of Bath city centre there are still quiet old roads to travel. Views to be found over open fields and woody lanes to explore. We should never forget what is closest to us, the world nearby is as fascinating as the wider spaces we so often travel to. Enjoy your roads where-ever they lead.