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The ‘Northen Ring’ 2007-05-23 Wednesday

Posted by hoipoloi in Rides.
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Having already completed the ‘Southern Ring‘ it was time to ride the ‘Northern Ring’ yesterday. Splitting this circular canal route into two sections (north and south) makes sense as the full circuit (reportedly 25 miles) can be too much for someone as degenerate as myself. It also helps that home is located somewhere in the middle of the circle. For me this means the full circuit is split at the Goscote Hall Bridge (Slacky Lane) on the west side and Daw End Bridge (Daw End Lane) on the east side.
The distance between these two bridges using the southern ring is 16.35 miles as logged previously. Using the northern ring (logged yesterday) the distance is 9.57 miles making the total distance for the complete circuit 25.92 miles.

A few interesting photos from the ride:

The two faces of Winterley Bridge:
Winterley BridgeClick to go large

Canada geese goslings:
GoslingsClick to go large

Swan and cygnets:
Swan and cygnetsClick to go large

Coots and chick. The chick was under the towpath verge when I arrived, the two elder coots telling it constantly to stay where it is as I might be a threat. Eventually the chick made a run (paddle) for it and dashed to the opposite bank:
CootsClick to go large

Coopers Bridge, Clayhanger:
Coopers BridgeClick to go large

Yorks Bridge, Norton Road, Pelsall North Common. Also shows the Fingerpost pub and eatery, formally known as the Royal Oak. Presumably the name was changed following the murder of the landlord:
Yorks BridgeClick to go large

14.49 miles for the day


The ‘Southern Ring’ 2007-05-06 Sunday

Posted by hoipoloi in Rides.

I’m fortunate in being located more or less in the middle of what is believed to be a 25 mile ring of canals made up from the ‘Wyrley & Essington, the Tame Valley, and the Rushall Canals. I say believed to be 25 miles because the Walsall Canal Map (available from Walsall Council and all good libraries in the area) states this figure yet recent events suggest otherwise.

I set off on what was an exceptionally hot day towards the end of April fully intending to complete the full 25 miles of this circular course taking in Walsall, Darlaston, Ocker Hill, Sandwell, Rushall, Aldridge, Brownhills and Pelsall. The only problem was that after about 10 miles, and somewhere near the western end of the Tame Valley, I got a text message on my phone from the trouble asking if I’d remembered to open the greenhouse doors before leaving home. In my eagerness to set off I’d completely forgotten, and sensing a stay in the doghouse because of the greenhouse I decided I’d have to cut the ride short at the most suitable point. This happened to be around Daw End and meant a days mileage of over 18 miles, very nearly all of it on the canal route.

I’m guessing I’d have had far more than 7 miles to do to complete the full circuit, more likely around 12 or more. I will have to complete the remainder of the circuit, the ‘Northern Ring’ at a later date and check the distances. At least I managed to cover some virgin towpaths on this run and take a large number of pictures and bridge-to-bridge measurements.

Ducks Mommy duck and seven baby ducks. Spotted near Darlaston.

Dead Bike Tame Valley, dead bike.

Live heron Tame Valley, live heron.

The tomato plants were saved and I live to ride another day. 🙂

18.31 miles for the day

We’re off to see the wizard… 2007-03-13 Tuesday

Posted by hoipoloi in Rides.
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No cowardly lion, no scarecrow and no Judy Garland but I did come across the Tin Man in Brownhills. OK so it’s been there for nearly 12 months now but it’s the first time I’ve seen it face to face kneecap.

Brownhills Tin ManDoes it/he have a name I wonder, or is this giant tin miner (which is actually a coal miner, he’s from Brownhills not Cornwall) known simply as ‘Tin Man’?

He’s actually made of stainless steel so ‘Tin Man’ isn’t really correct. There’s more about him on the Walsall Council web site.

Our friend Kim reckons he’s got a cute butt, but that’s typical of Kim. Here’s a close-up of his face. If you want a close-up of his butt you’ll have to go to Brownhills yourself.

Tin Man close-up

Microsoft Live Search managed to catch a sat pic of the statue as it was being built. Enjoy Live Search if you’ve not seen it before. I spend ages looking to see what my neighbours have in their back garden 🙂

That is all.

9.44 miles for the day.

Where’s Walsall Gone? 2007-03-12 Monday

Posted by hoipoloi in Rides.

After my malnutritional experience at Reedswood (which is explained on my other blog as I wish to keep this one relatively moan free) I rode through Walsall town centre. My first thoughts, as I hadn’t been here for some time, was that I was in another town. Not that Walsall has improved aesthetically, just that so much of the old town has been removed, and not just the bad bits.

Here’s a bit still standing, the old Reginald Tildesley garage in Wolverhampton Street:

Tildesley nose pick

Another part that I recognised without too much trouble was the Arboretum. What I hadn’t expected was that cycling appears to be permitted in the park. As there are signs that say “Cycle With Care” I assume that’s a safe assumption. Here’s a picture to give Johnny Foreigner an idea of what I’m talking about:


Heading north out of Walsall the old church at The Butts is still standing. There is probably a good story behind (or underneath?) this church but I can’t be bothered to look for it today.

Cracked Church

Just what is it with churches at the moment? This is Rushall Parish Church. It is located just off the Lichfield Road and is badly in need of some bench seats for atheists to sit and eat their sandwiches (unless I’m mistaken and they hide them all on weekdays).

Rushall Parish Church

That is all.

10.61 miles for the day.