Monday, 21 January 2019

The Admiral Nelson and beyond

Today is a murky Monday but, needing to walk, I decided to drive out to Braunston. I made a canalside pub, the Admiral Nelson, my destination. There I parked up and set off.

The Admiral Nelson, serving up good food in an interesting setting, is very
popular. Braunston, 21 January, 2019
In the summer this stretch of the canal, the Grand Union, presents a colourful sight with the locks constantly in use. Today a few 'barges' were moored up, in some cases with smoke billowing from their chimneys, but there was nothing on the move.

The Grand Union Canal, Braunston.
21 January, 2019
I crossed the canal bridge at this point, curious to know why so many vehicles also made use of this bridge. In about a quarter of a mile  I came to another bridge, this one crossing the trackbed of the Great Central Railway. Fifty or so years ago this was a busy line, with  'windcutter' trains hauling their heavy loads of coal down to London, returning later with a train of empty wagons making for the Notts, Yorkshire and Derbyshire coalfields. The Clean Air Act of 1956, introduced in the wake of dreadful London smogs, helped to bring an end to this traffic, making the line rather redundant.

The old track looks forlorn, with farm vehicles the only form of transport now using the route. Sadly there is no right of way.

Looking north along what was once the Great Central Railway.
Near Braunston, 21 January, 2019
In any case, an approach to the track would now be difficult, with thick mud surely deterring even the most resolute of ramblers - although there was evidence that someone or something (sheep?) had made an attempt.

This approach to the old railway track was mega-muddy!
Braunston, Northants. 21 January, 2019
The day remained murky. Looking back towards Braunston the church spire, normally a prominent feature in the landscape, was shrouded in mist.

The spire of Braunston's church is just about visible.
21 January, 2019

Brrr! Time to do an about-turn and make my way back to the car. There was just time to do a quick examination of fences and tree trunks for lichens.

Nothing exciting came to my attention but it was interesting to note how, as a tree grows and the trunk swells, any lichens present tend to split vertically.

Lichens had split vertically as the tree trunk had grown.
Braunston, Northants. 21 January, 2019

I had walked for about a mile and not seen a soul. I wasn't sorry to be going.

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