Cycling On The Canal Towpaths


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Just picked up your thread Carni. Very enjoyable read with plantfit and compo's contribution. My bikes are not suitible for canal work but I sometimes use and old ladies Dutch bike on the towpath to go fishing. We live close to the canal, in fact in Victorian times the front of our house was a chandlery for the busy barge traffic. If you are not far from Litchfield then Gt Heywood and Cannock Chase are good cycling venues. A canal ride from Heywood to Stone via Weston (our home) is about 8 or 9 miles. Cannock Chase has graded routes for all abilities and is well worth a visit.

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I'm sure the poor lady is distraught.  At times like that one is not worrying about which thread one is in.   Re.  the digression in this thread.  It was a little banter about a side issue w

This happens all the time TRD.  I doesn’t bother the majority of posters at all.  Just a single word can spark a memory for someone, but in this recent instance Chulla was referring to a comment that

I have reopened this thread and added my todays activities here, instead of the "Hows your Day". Because most of my days have a cycle ride involved.

Today we decided to visit friends on the other side of W-ton. The cycle route took us along part of the Birmingham Main Line Canal. We joined it at a Place called Aldersley Sports Village, at no 21 lock, and then we had another 20 locks to cycle up in a two mile stretch!!! A bit of a tester for the casual cyclists like us. For safety reasons we walked up 4 of them. It was such an interesting journey, that we were stopping to chat and photograph the wildlife etc all along the way. When I can master my camera I will add photo's at a later date.

There were parts of the journey, you could almost imagine you were in the 1800s, with the remnants of old buildings and unmodernised towpaths up the side of some of the locks. You can use your imagination to see what it was like, when the barges were pulled by the horses. It must have been quite a skill for the man controlling the horse. Not like today, when the need to stop is just a matter of switching off the engine or going into reverse. I imagine the timing was essential as when the horse stopped, the Barge would carry on going for a while!

We saw so much wildlife today, Little families of Coots, Moor Hens, a Swan, Canadian Geese hissing as we passed by their babies, Ducks, two families with a little yellow duckling among the babies, even a rat ran out of the hedge, saw us and ran back in! Beautiful Water Lilies, not quite fully opened yet, probably need a bit more sunshine. I will put some photo's on, when i have a selection. Oh what a Lovely day, and I never fell off Mi Bike once. I forgot to add, this link to the damage done to the canal recently by vandals.

http://www.expressandstar.com/news/local-news/2015/06/17/vandals-open-locks-to-drain-wolverhampton-canal/

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Enjoyed reading that Carni.

I attended a meeting of the Canal and River Trust recently as a representative of our fishing club. The Trust It's about protecting, and sharing the waterways with everyone. There is talk about using horses again - that could be fun when there is a fishing contest taking place :biggrin:

Unfortunately some angler think that the canal is there just for them, forgetting that if it were not for narrow boat enthusiasts etc., there would be no canals to fish in! I see the canal and towpath as a very sociable throughfare and always have a cheery word for passers by whether they be in narrow boats, on bikes, jogging or walking the dog.The 'thinking' canal angler will not take a shed load of kit or obstruct the towpath with poles and paraphernalia.

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Cracking post carni, I was almost there with you both,look foward to seeing the photo's,keep us upto date with the canal rides or any of your rides,always interested in reading other peoples adventures on two wheels (or sometimes three)

Rog

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This morning we decided to cycle our 12mile circular route to Wombourne along the disused rail track (Nature Trail) and return along the towpaths.14miles in all, taking in the bit from home to the start of the trail.

We left the house at 9.30am and one hour later, we were still only two miles from home, in the mud with my bike upside down and Chris repairing a puncture in my new £6 puncture proof innertube. He used one of our Co2 bombs to blow it back up, but it promptly went back down again. Mmm, expensive business. He replaced that one, with our standby puncture proof innertube, and yahoo, it stayed up!

We had a nice couple of hours peddling, with a break for toasted teacakes at the Wombourne station, converted into "Tea rooms"

You would be surprised at the things we see on our towpath rides (No, nothing rude,Yet) today at the side of one of the locks, was a young man, 20ish, quite nonchalantly riding up and down on a one wheeled cycle? and further along, we watched as a little boat, passed by, With a happy looking chap and at least six little dogs all sitting there, taking in the view. We have a Badgers sett, just down by the canal near where we join the path, that has been in the local news. I had a nice time feeding the ducks today ( with the bread that I couldn't use at the Arboretum yesterday, apparently duck feeding was banned) and surprisingly, Moorhens alongside them. Most unusual because they usually steer clear of the ducks. I am really sorry i can't give you any photo's, we are still having problems adding them, but I have got some ready for when i can add them. . The other day we saw a Caraboat? Anyone ever seen one of those?

Off to the Manifold Valley tomorrow. That's about an 18mile route, looking forward to that.

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Thanks Dave, I am having a problem with the Link. Every time I click on it, all I get is an arrow going down the side of my screen and then nothing?

I googled Caraboat and got this link. I have added it because i thought it interesting to read that the Caraboat was invented at Nottingham in 1971 by a Tom Carr. I have to say I had never heard of one until three weeks ago.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nottingham/content/articles/2005/04/20/features_miscellaneous_2005_04_caraboat_feature.shtml

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Here are a few of my canal photo's, I have added a couple of old building pictures, one of the original towpath by the lock, to show times gone by. Sorry I am no photographer, this is my best effort. There are some lovely things to see by the Canals, but as you can imagine, the moment is lost in the time I take getting my camera out. The cows are always at the far end of the field until we sit on the bench across the canal, they then stroll towards us and drink the water. You can see my better half on the picture of the old lock, also if you look closely at the pic of the swans, you will see a fishermans line, entangled around a cygnet, thankfully it got untangled.

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Good thread this, I used to do a lot of canal boating, starting some 39 years ago when my son was just one first few trips out he was tied to the boat on a long line so that he could reach both the bow and stern but no further.

Just one point Carni, you say you don't do hills, but 21 locks is either a long way up or a long way down.

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The 21 locks are very hard going for us. The place we join that particular towpath is Aldersley, at lock no 21. then up hill to Broad Street Basin and no 1 lock. We only go that way, when visiting friends on the other side of town. We do tend to walk a few locks, if you see the pics that I have posted, you will see the condition of some of them is quite uneven. Coming back is the best part, as it is downhill. We do avoid hills if it is possible.

Today we cycled the "EasyRoute" on the Manifold Valley. Waterhouses to Hulme end. The round trip was 17miles, and even that had some gradients to tackle. We set off at 10.20am and arrived at the Tea Junction just over 8miles at 11.20am. we spent 40mins sampling their delicious sandwiches with home made chutney and home made "Coffee and Walnut cake" without the walnuts? as the lady described it.

We set off on the return journey at 12noon precisely and arrived back at Waterhouses at exactly 1oclock. Both outward and homeward journeys took exactly 1hr each way! A very pleasant 3hrs spent in the lovely Manifold Valley trail. The easy one of course.

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carni, if ever a bright red narrow boat called Muchgigglin' comes by, give 'em a shout and a wave, it's my hubby's cousins. They're always out and about on their boat, on one canal or another. You'll hear it before you see it, the engine is an old one that chugs!

After having no luck spotting the Muchgigglin' over the last two years. (Even though we have had a lot of laughs searching) We have just had the pleasure of meeting Your Hubby's cousins Katyjay and not only have we seen the elusive Muchgigglin, but treated to a guided tour by the two lovely people who own it. Many Thanks Katyjay. We got there in the end.

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As you probably know I love my cycle rides on the towpaths. The only thing that could make them better would be if I could sometimes be on the towpaths around Nottingham.

Anyway for anyone living around the city who may be interested in the Narrow Boats; here is a Link to The Nottingham Canal Festival on Saturday from 10am. If I have read the advertisement correctly; it is the first Festival. Could be a pleasant pastime for anyone interested. Weather permitting. :)

http://www.experiencenottinghamshire.com/whats-on/nottingham-canal-festival-2015-p661431

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What a lovely day it was yesterday, the sun shone and we made the cycle trip on the Manifold Valley. Stopping half way for lunch at Hulme End from Waterhouses. Such beautiful scenery, and so peaceful. It is a very popular place for people our age to walk and cycle. I must say the last two miles on the return journey sorted us out, with the gradient when we could really do without it. Anyway we made it back to the car. Just! 16miles.

Today, we did our usual nature trail ride to Wombourne.On arrival it was snack time in the railway station cafe and then a return trip on the tow path.12miles. I prefer the towpaths, so much to see on the canals. Still plenty of Narrow Boats, and wildlife. The herons that stand so still that you don't realise how close you are until they rise up in front of you, so graceful and they always have a prehistoric appearance to me? Today the timid Moorhens were in the majority to the ducks and geese, I always make sure they get plenty of bread, as the ducks seem to bully them at feed times.

Still lots of Blackberries, Damsons, Crab apples and elderberries to be picked, and Nuts not quite ready (but I am watching and waiting) Though the best of the fruit is dwindling. Lots of people and dogs out walking, making the best of the weekend weather. As we cycled along, I spotted a little grebe( dab chick) I think? We pulled up to watch it for a while, as it would suddenly turn upside down and disappear into the water only to reappear about 12ft further down, always interesting to spot which way it would go? Now for the very very very best bit of the day. As we watched the grebe, suddenly from the side of the canal, shooting off from one side to the other, just above the water was the most beautiful Blue Flash. You Guessed it! A Kingfisher! We were over the moon, the first one for at least two years, Brilliant. :biggrin:

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Just got home from a cycle ride, about a 12miler. Cold, Wet, Worn out. Nothing pretty to see by the Canals at this time of year, except a few Ducks and the occasional Heron up to its knees in the water, motionless, waiting to pounce on its dinner.

Still see the little Grebe; alone, that keeps diving bottom up and appearing further up the Canal. I hope it finds a mate for next year, I'm sure we saw two earlier this year, Lots of dangers about for them. Perhaps it became dinner for one of the Herons or Water Rats. Lots of moored up Narrow Boats along the way. It's surprising how many people live full time on them. I just love the smell of the wood burning as we pass them by.

Well that's my exersize for today. A lovely casserole ready to be dished up now in the kitchen, some prezzie wrapping and that's it for today. And Relax.

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Nice write up again Carni. Thank you.

Been walking the dog on the towpath recently and last week saw a Mallard duck leading her new baby chicks along the margins. Almost newly hatched in November! Doubtful if they will survive the Winter cold and lack of food. I'll be on the canal fishing tomorrow and I'll feed the chicks if I see them.

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The lack of food could be remedied if there were enough people around, like yourself who cared enough to feed them through the winter months PP. Sadly the weather is out of our control, and the chances of survival are slim as you say.

We have never seen chicks as late as this, though we did see a tiny new Moorhen around the end of September early October. It was so small, easy prey I imagine for the Herons, as we have a Heronry in the trees by the Shropshire Union Canal. I don't know if it survived as we never saw it again.

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Hey, folks, don't get fooled by carni's canal towpath good-exercise regime. I know different. It turns out that she was cycling down a towpath one day and on the other side of the canal was a stark naked man. When she told me I asked her if he was young or old, and she admitted she didn't know - she didn't look at his face. So now you know, she wants to take a beta blocker and have another look.

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What a beautiful morning again, we were down by the canal at 8.30am and as usual not many people around at that time. We saw our first family of newly hatched ducklings today; nine in all, small enough to fit two in my small hand. Quite comical to watch as seven of them were waddling about on the towpath with Mum and Dad and the two tiny ones frantically swimming up and down, throwing themselves at the side in an attempt to get on the land. Pleased to say they made it. Apparently, witnessed by a daily Towpath walker, yesterday was the first time they had been seen, so they were very new.

Also, we saw a last years model swan, all alone. We don't usually have swans on our part of The Staffs and Worcs canal. The nearest family we know of is usually based about three miles further up, and they had three Cygnets last year,(I put a photo of them on,further back on this thread) perhaps it is one of those, it seemed a bit lonely, hope it finds a mate!

One more Newby this morning. A Coot, again all alone, the nearest to our area that we have seen Coots is again about three miles away, past the 21 locks on the Birmingham Main Line, It must have flown over the locks. Again, hope it finds a mate. No sign of the little Dipper (my favourite), but it's early days. Can't wait until tomorrow morning, I just love it down by the canal. Hope it doesn't rain. :biggrin:

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Chulla #74 - When I was a child growing up in Hucknall, there was man who regularly climbed out of the attic skylight onto the roof naked when he's been drinking...........All the old dears used to scream in horror and supposidly cover their eyes, but they could all describe him, face and various other parts of his anatomy to a tee to the police when they arrived to arrest him........

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