Tag Archives: West Berkshire

Grass Snake going for a swim on the canal

Having only taken pictures from my windows for a few weeks I ventured out along the Kennet and Avon Canal when the lockdown restrictions were eased a bit. I stopped near Frouds Lane to try to take a few pictures of birds crossing the canal. That wasn’t very successful. I was just about to leave when I got lucky, although not with a bird. I noticed some motion on the other side of the canal and suddenly a Grass Snake swimming across the canal came into view:

I must admit I didn’t know that snakes can swim until I saw this one doing it. This snake had to cross the canal twice (and did it quite easily it seems): It came across only to realise that on the other side was a retaining wall about 2 ft high, so it couldn’t get out. It had a brief look, then turned around and swam back where it disappeared into the undergrowth (no wall on that side). The tongue was nicely visible several times and the head nicely reflected/mirrored on the water. I hope you like and enjoy these pictures. I certainly enjoyed the moment and watching the snake.

Steam Train passing Aldermaston Station

After the (luckily short) heat wave this week it was pleasantly cool this Saturday morning, also a bit damp as it had rained most of the night and still hadn’t fully stopped by the time I decided to leave for the train station. For it was time to watch and photograph another steam train passing Aldermaston Station.

Since the electrification of the line watching steam trains passing through isn’t the same any more, but then again some progress is necessary and I certainly prefer the electric trains over the old stinking and noisy Diesels we had before.

I haven’t bothered looking up the details of the steam engine pulling the train today, I hope you’ll still enjoy the pictures without that information. If you do know more about the locomotive feel free to leave the information in the comments.

Electric Steam Train in Aldermaston Wharf

No, of course there is no such thing as an electric steam train. But the headline made you curious, I hope. The reason for it is that the local rail line is currently in the last stages of the line electrification and the overhead power lines we put up about a month ago. While more environmentally friendly than the old diesel trains we currently have it’s not so nice for taking pictures of the steam trains passing through here every once in a while. Today we saw the first steam train coming through since the cables went up.

The train was the ‘Quantock Intruder’, pulled by SR Merchant Navy Class 4-6-2 no 35028 maintained by Clan Line. Here are the pictures I managed to take:

(click on the pictures for the larger versions and captions)

Big tree, cattle, butterfly

It was a very nice sunny spring day in West Berkshire today, so I went for another walk in the countryside near the village. I had hoped I might still be able to see some Bluebells, but couldn’t really find any. Didn’t see anything spectacular, so here are three fairly mundane pictures of a big tree, some cattle in the sunshine and a butterfly on a leaf:

(Click on the pictures for the larger versions)

I hope you had a nice weekend as well, hopefully spring and soon summer continue to be nice.

Steam train 60009 Union of South Africa passing Aldermaston

At varying intervals steam trains travel on the line past Aldermaston Wharf, passing through Aldermaston Station. Last weekend a steam train came through which I missed, luckily it returned this weekend for another pass. This time I was ready with my camera to take pictures of the 60009 Union of South Africa, here’s a selection of my favourite views:

Click on the pictures for the larger versions.