Coots

Confined to the canal towpath again. Rain has kept the bike under cover. I have felt closer to wildlife these last two days than a week on the moors. Foxes yesterday, herons, cormorants, and plenty of ducks, swans, and coots. This pair was hitching a ride in the rain on a log. The saying “as bald as a coot” actually refers to the white patch on its forehead but has come to refer to a lack of hair. Coots are resident in the UK year round but some do migrate south in the winter feeding on both plant and animal matter such as snails, dragonflies and beetles. They can live for up to 18 years.

TQ3696 map

Lee Navigation

Not my usual habitat. Down in London for a couple of days. After the drive down the Lee Navigation canal provided some fresh air of a sort. It flows from Hertford to the River Thames sometimes alongside the River Lea, sometimes parallel with it. A shortage of hills but I did see a pair of foxes. First time for years.

TQ3693 map

 

Bugsworth Basin

Being brought up in Nottingham I am quite familiar with the Derbyshire Peaks. Beyond Buxton however it was a mystery. I don’t recall ever being to New Mills or Whaley Bridge before. I was amazed to discover that at the end of the 18th century a canal was constructed through the steep sided valleys into the heart of the Peaks. Such a tremendous feat of engineering. The Peak Forest Canal was built to transport limestone, gritstone and coal to the factories and industries of the North West. Bugsworth Basin was one end of the canal and was once a hive of activity. The minerals and stone was brought down from the hills by horse drawn waggonways and loaded onto canal barges. At the height of working 2,000 barges full of limestone were exported each year.

Today the canal and basin have been restored providing a rare opportunity in these parts for level walking and cycling along the towpath.

Stockton Locks

This Stockton is near to Leamington Spa. I parked up along the Grand Union Canal last night in the campervan. So a very pleasant wander along the canal this morning. It made such a change with lots of bird life. Far more than I’m used to on the North York Moors. There are very few canals in the North East.
Stockton Locks are a series of locks which must be very hard work to navigate through.
The Grand Union Canal was formed in 1929 by uniting eight separate canals run by different companies. It created a direct route between Birmingham and London.

Paddington Basin

Passing through London. After two hours of being a tourist I had had enough. Found this little oasis of tranquility. An offshoot of the Grand Union Canal.