Britannia

She may rule the waves, but she doesn’t rule the weather! The Met office thought it would be sunny at 1pm – and through the afternoon. No chance – but at least the fog cleared. Still hazy though. Here’s 70000 Britannia getting along nicely at Preston Boats, just a mile or so to the east of Shrewsbury, on the first of this week’s driver training runs.

(“The East Anglian”? Not today!)

Wyke and Benthall in January

The fine cold spell continues: this afternoon we’re walking from Benthall Hall, along the lanes to Wyke, thence to Benthall Edge via the Vineyards, completing the circuit on muddy field paths. The air temperature may have been around 5-6C, but in the warm sunshine (which the new lambs at Wyke appeared to be enjoying) it felt like early spring.

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Icy!

A cold day on Brown Clee… Apart from a brief look to the west near the Five Springs, we’re staying on the eastern side of the hill. There, we’ll be largely out of the icy wind. Boyne Water is frozen over, there are some interesting displays of ice sculpture where streams run down the hillside, and the tracks are quite slippery in places. The wintry sky begins to clear late in the afternoon, moments before the sun sets – too late!

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Snow on the Chase

“We haven’t always parked here – once, we parked in Brocton and walked up that old railway line – was it called Tickety-boo?” Close! The Tackeroo was the WW1 military railway across the Chase – we’ll cross its trackbed a couple of times today, but for once we won’t be walking along it for any significant distance.

There’s been a fall of snow up here: there’s little trace of it on the heather or the trees, but the paths remain mostly well-covered. The sun comes out on schedule (well done, Met. Office) and it’s a glorious January day on Cannock Chase, cold but pleasant in bright sunshine which really brings out the colours. I should add that the snack lunch at the visitor centre is worth the walk too…

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Rindleford and Bromley

A walk on the far side (we try not to cross the river too often – it’s a strange and different world over there) – through Rindleford and up the stony-sided valley of the Worfe, returning along quiet lanes and the hamlet of Bromley. Not always an easy walk – many of the surfaces are hard-frozen and slippery – but it’s pleasant out on this fine and mostly sunny afternoon.

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Weather-watching

There’s a lot of weather around this afternoon! Clear air, an icy breeze, bright sunshine followed by some darker cloud, distant snow showers – and it’s great to be out on the Hope Bowdler hills. They’re no great height but they provide a wonderful viewpoint for the surrounding country, with some extensive views. We can see the Brecon Beacons, more than 50 miles to the south-west, and the snow-topped Llangollen hills perhaps 40 miles to the north-west, beyond Chirk’s eye-catching chipboard factory. (We can also see Wolverhampton some 25 miles to the east, but we won’t go there, so to speak). On days like this, it’s a shame to have to leave the hills, but the sun’s dropping behind a huge cloud to the south-west. Time for home!

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