Then and now

Nearly six years ago, we stood beside the road, high above the Severn near Leighton, to look at the floods – and in doing so, recorded the scene downstream, taking in the then still active power station at Ironbridge. This afternoon, as the sun neared the horizon, I stood in the same spot and pointed the camera as before.
See “Deeper and Higher” for more on the February 2014 floods, and “Bang!” for the recent demise of the cooling towers.

Grey days at the year’s end

A linear walk from home, out to Willey and Shirlett (from where, if the phone’s working, I’ll arrange a lift). There’s a hint of colour in the south-western sky, otherwise the landscape is dull and grey – except in the woods, where there’s colour under the trees. These are quiet places – exceptionally so today, just the sound here and there of running water, accompanied by occasional birdsong. Just what’s needed!


Midwinter meandering

Circumstances (not least the weather) have conspired to keep the camera indoors for a couple of weeks – it was suffering from lack of exercise (so was its owner). Today it’s bright and dry – time for a local leg stretch. Our last outing was to see the cooling towers meet sudden destruction – I’ll look down on the site, and see how it compares with our last view from this position, high up in the woods on Benthall Edge.


Sorry – it’s hardly original. The eagle-eyed will have spotted one or two not-very-cryptic photo captions relating to Ironbridge power station, which operated for the last time just over four years ago. Since then, it has been decommissioned, and now is undergoing demolition. So far, such work has not been obvious, but this morning, at 11am, the towers came down. They were so big that they always seemed to be nearer than they were – the closest was about 2/3 of a mile away from our vantage point, the furthest not far short of a mile. Just before 11, we heard warning sirens – and then the towers began to fall. The boom of the explosive charges, like the crack of thunder following a nearby bolt of lightning, came when the towers were well on their way down. Yes, we know why, but the laws of physics can easily be forgotten in a moment of excitement.

Now they’re history. The intentionally salmon-pink towers were quite an icon in this part of the world, and it was a sad sight to see them being reduced to rubble (and an awful lot of dust!). However, the Severn Gorge already looks more rural, like it did in the early 60s, and when the chimney and turbine halls have gone, the riverside here will look completely different, in closer accord with a greener future.

To the Wrekin!

For complex (and mildly embarrassing*) reasons, a walk on the Long Mynd became a walk up the Wrekin. The hill is lower and the walk shorter, but it’s not an inferior substitute – it provides us with a very enjoyable leg stretch and a good place to sit and enjoy our sandwiches. Afterwards, tea and cake in Much Wenlock replace the intended refreshments in the Carding Mill pavilion – similarly, not at all inferior. A most enjoyable little outing!

*I forgot my boots!

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