- Walked: 13 January 2007
- Distance: 14m
- Total time 4.5 hrs
- Terrain: very flat with surfaced paths all the way
- Summary: linear walk along Cloud Trail and Trent and Mersey Canal starting at Worthington.
- map: Explorer 245
I've used the Cloud Trail before as part of a circular walk. The beauty of cycle paths and canal towpaths is that they're flat, surfaced and easy to walk. Although the seemingly optimistic weather forecast had turned out to be remarkably accurate, this is now the middle of winter and we've had lots of rain recently, so the unsurfaced rights of way would consist of puddles and knee-deep mud.
A linear walk means walking for a certain distance before turning about and walking back again. I don't think this is such a bad thing, because a route looks so different from the opposite direction. On any walk, it's a good thing to turn around occasionally and take in the view behind you. It's sometimes a pleasant surprise to find that it's more beautiful than the view in front of you.
There's another big advantage to linear walking; if you're on a time limit, you can time your walk almost to the minute by walking for exactly half of the available time before heading back. Today I walked along the canal until just past Swarkestone, making a round trip of 14 miles.
To make things more interesting today, I decided to keep my eyes peeled and see how many signs of life I could spot and photograph at this apparently very dead time of the year. I'd love to write that there's a remarkable amount of life if you look for it, but unfortunately I can't! Not counting farm animals, exotic things in people's gardens, and things that were too quick for me, like the odd pigeon and rabbit, here's what I saw:
That's ivy, a squirrel, some hawthorne berries and some fluff on a tree. (I'd be grateful for some help identifying this.) The ivy was still in berry in many cases and remarkably prolific, growing all over anything which stands still. I thought I was so lucky to photograph the squirrel, but as I walked on I found that there were lots of them on this part of the route.
Back to the walk. This is the start of the cycle route - which is National Cycle Route number 6. They're well signposted.
Breedon Church is in view for most of this walk. Here we're crossing the A42 and can see the church on the horizon. The cycle route follows an old railway line, which doesn't cross the A42, and so you have to skip up to this road, over a bridge and along the 42 for a little way before re-joining the disused railway.
Being an old railway, the route goes under many wonderful old bridges like this one.
Although these sliver birches are leafless, they looked so dramatic reflecting the direct sun against a blue sky.
We've had a lot of rain, so the Trent has 'burst its banks' (as they like to say on the news) and was occupying the flood plain either side. It's difficult to pick out the usual course of the river.
I picked up the canal towpath here. It's still part of cycle route 6, and so the towpath surface is good.
Click the map below, and then each image attachment in turn to see all photographs from today's walk.
Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Map image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.