I go for a walk along the Kennet & Avon Canal every morning, on a weekday I usually walk from Aldermaston Wharf to just past The Rowbarge in Woolhampton. Over the weekends I often walk a bit further, past the old Lock Cottage towards Midgham.
Usually I’m walking with a pair of weights, today I decided to leave the weights at home and turn it into a photo walk. I left fairly early in the morning at about 6:45, which gave me some nice mild light for a while.
Here are 10 of my favourite pictures from this morning, click on the pictures for the larger version in the gallery:
A variety of pictures, from Swans to colourful boats to beautiful trees and reflections. I hope you’ll find something you’ll like. Maybe let me know of your favourite picture(s) in the comments?
After one of the worst storms in decades hit the south of England including West Berkshire with storm Eunice on Friday 18/Feb/2022 there was a lot of damage. When I write this on Saturday afternoon the village of Aldermaston (just over a mile down the road from where I write this in Aldermaston Wharf) still hasn’t got any power and might not get it back until late in the evening or potentially even Sunday. I know of at least two trees having come down and having hit houses in Aldermaston Wharf, luckily as far as I’m aware nobody was injured (and I believe there was no serious damage to the houses). This morning I went out for my regular daily walk (slightly extended as it is Saturday, where I usually go on a longer walk than on weekdays), here is some of the storm damage I spotted along the way:
(01) Canal boat hit by fallen tree(02) Damaged solar panels on canal boat hit by fallen tree(03) Fallen tree next to a field with cows and sheep(04) Fallen tree fully blocking the towpath(05) Snapped tree next to a railway line(06) Two fallen trees blocking the towpath(07) Tree fully blocking the towpath, this is where I turned around(08) Fallen trees at a footbridge(09) Fallen tree near a boat(11) Twisted off fallen tree(10) Two fallen trees in the woods(12) Bonus: The obligatory fallen fenceStorm Eunice damage along the Kennet & Avon Canal in West Berkshire (click on the pictures for the large versions)
One of the first things I saw was also one of the scariest, a quite large tree had fallen across the canal and the top of the tree had hit a moored canal boat (Pictures 01 & 02). The owners had already cleared most of the tree off the boat and as far as I could see there was no significant damage to the boat itself, only the solar panels were rather smashed up.
Not very far down the canal along a field with cows and sheep there was more damage: Three smaller trees had been snapped off (I suspect the wind had enough space to run up across the field and hit them hard) and were pretty much blocking the towpath (pictures 03, 04 &11). I managed to squeeze past two of them, for the third one I had to climb over the fence for a short ‘detour’ across the field (luckily the cows with their calves were far away, so it was safe). Luckily I didn’t have to do that when I returned about an hour later as kind boater had taken his chainsaw to the trees and cleared the towpath.
After that it wasn’t too bad on the towpath, of course there was branch debris pretty much everywhere, but there wasn’t really any blockage. The fallen trees were either away from the towpath or left enough room to get past them without much difficulty (Pictures 05, 08, 09 & 10).
But my walk was stopped by a fallen tree just before where I usually turn around anyway on my longer weekend walks. While I just managed to squeeze past the first tree (Picture 06) the second one, a large tree covered in Ivy, fully blocked the path (Picture 07) and I couldn’t find a way past it. So I turned around and walked back to Aldermaston Wharf.
Just before arriving back home I couldn’t resist the obligatory fallen fence picture (Picture 12), I believe that’s a standard for after the storm pictures. Interestingly the fence at the communal garden below my flat was swaying precariously yesterday, I think at least one of the posts is pretty much gone. So far it’s still holding up, but will it survive the next storm?
Over the last few weeks I’ve been watching a pair of Blue Tits in the trees opposite my windows. I think they’re nesting somewhere under the roof of my block of flats, although I can’t see that from my window as they are entering from the side. I can see them very well in the tree opposite my window though and with the warmer weather this weekend I used the opportunity to take a few pictures. They are only about 4 metres away, so I was able to take some nice close up shots, especially when they sat on one specific branch:
Two Blue Tits at the fresh shoots
Two Blue Tits talking
Blue Tit with its beak open
Blue Tit on a branch
Two Blue Tits back to back
Fluffy Blue Tit
Pair of Blue Tits from my window (click on the pictures for the larger versions)
I hope you’re enjoying the pictures as I’m enjoying watching the Blue Tits hopping around in the trees and flying over to where I think their nest is. Should I get a chance I’ll try to take some video of them over the coming weeks.
My first real day out for over a year since the pandemic started, my last big day out before was a trip to Oxford on the day I picked up my new car (which stiil has less than 2,000 miles on the clock) at the end of January 2020. Spurred on by memories of May 2020 where we had some beautiful sunny weather (but couldn’t get out much under lockdown) I had decided to take a week off in May 2021 for some first tentative steps to get out a bit further than the local walks and weekly trip to the supermarket. Of course the weather didn’t really cooperate, although I probably picked the best day for the only real trip I managed to get in:
After not having been for probably more than a decade I decided to visit Westonbirt Arboretum, in the hope of some nice spring colours. A few days before I pre-booked my ticket online, for the time being admission is only with pre-booked tickets so that they can control visitor numbers and make sure it doesn’t get overcrowded, allowing social distancing to keep everyone safe. After an uneventful drive I arrived at 11:00 to some mostly cloudy weather with occasional showers. Luckily the clouds broke up early afternoon, giving me some beautiful sunny intervals to enjoy the colours. My hopes for some beautiful May colours were certainly fulfilled, lots of plants in bloom and a lot of fresh greens (and reds). I took a lot of pictures, here are 10 of my favourites:
Three colourful trees
Wet red flowers
Big tree behind Bluebells
Bluebells in a sunny meadow
Colourful woods, red, green, amber, blue
Shades of red and green
Green leaves and pink Rhododendron
Red Rhododendron behind Bluebells
Lime Avenue at Westonbirt Arboretum in the fresh May green
Three trees behind Bluebells
May colours at Westonbirt Arboretum (click on the pictures for the larger versions)
I spent the whole day until closing time at 17:00 walking around, discovering new views, new trees, new colours, new plants, revisiting places for different light after the sun came out and more. It wasn’t busy most of the time, I think through a combination of the pre-booked tickets and the not very promising weather forecast (with the weather turning out much better than forecasted luckily). Some features (e.g. small parts of the treetop walk) were closed to ensure social distancing, but the vast majority was open. My enjoyment of the arboretum wasn’t diminished at all. The staff was friendly and helpful when I needed them. All in all a great day out, I felt safe pretty much throughout and enjoyed the May colours I had come for.
On my return journey I decided to a small bonus and made a detour to an old haunt of mine, a place I had visited many times when I first arrived in the UK, Avebury. I didn’t stay long, but had a nice time revisiting familiar views.
I arrived back home in the evening very tired, but also very satisfied after a great day out.
Having decided not to travel to Islay because of the Covid-19 pandemic this year I had a two week staycation at home in West Berkshire. Unfortunately the weather didn’t turn out as nice as I had hoped, so I didn’t get out for walks as much as I had thought (I ended up visiting a Swedish furniture store and completing some home improvements I had thought about for a while instead). Still, I managed to squeeze in a few short sunny walks along the Kennet & Avon Canal allowing me to take a few nice autumnal pictures (click on the pictures for the full size gallery):
(1) Colourful trees from the window
(2) Autumnal trees reflecting in the canal
(3) Canal boat in the autumn sunshine
(4) Chestnuts in their autumn colours along the canal
(5) Boat moored under colourful autumn trees
(6) Canal boat cruising through fallen autumn leaves
(7) Colourful autumnal trees along the canal
(8) Autumnal trees and floating leaves on the canal
(9) Colourful autumn tree next to the canal towpath
(10) Looking up a beautiful autumn colour tree
Except for the first picture (which is from my flat overlooking the canal in Aldermaston Wharf) all the pictures are from the towpath from Aldermaston Wharf walking west towards Woolhampton. Some really nice autumnal colours around, especially over the second week. All the pictures were taken with my large wide angle zoom lens (14-24mm, mostly towards the 14mm), allowing me to capture some big views of the trees and their autumn colours.