A Tale of Four Bridges

There’s a cold wind, but it should stay dry. Maybe there’s a chance of some sunshine? Not really – certainly none of the deep blue that we had between the morning’s sharp showers. Down in the valley, walking between Ironbridge and the Coalport bridge, it’s sheltered and pleasant enough. To avoid what would have been a very muddy path, we’re crossing the Severn twice more – using the Jackfield memorial footbridge and lastly, the new “Free Bridge” – that’s four metal bridges in a row, all significant in their own way.

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Rain, hail and snowdrops

We needed to call into the shops in Ironbridge – “We could walk down, have lunch and walk back the long way”. We did! It’s not warm, but we soon warm up, and it feels pleasant after last week’s Siberian snowfall. There’s a possibility of showers, apparently, maybe of hail or snow – and yes, there’s hail (which bounces off) and a little rain (which doesn’t). After the rain, the skies clear – to reveal more shower clouds approaching. We’d better not hang around.


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Coalport cakes

They were an unexpected bonus – we hadn’t realised the hostel cafe was open, and despite the cold, there was enough sunshine and shelter for us to sit outside. Other than the café, a couple of lambs and some catkins, there are few signs of spring. We’ve got some cold weather to get through before things warm up.

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A day on the tiles

The weather’s disgusting – the morning’s snow has turned to rain. It’s grey, dull and cold, certainly not a day for outdoor activities. The tile museum at Jackfield is a pretty good standby on such days – warm, dry, and full of colour.

Jackfield Tile Museum – Ironbridge Gorge Museums

Photo footnote: It’s dark in here, not ideal for photography. Most of the pictures were taken on my D90, mostly at f:1.8, and at high to very high ISO speeds. At the other end of the spectrum, several of the close-ups were taken on a smartphone, its camera set (in “Pro” mode) to ISO 100, then placed flat on the glass of the display cabinets. The quality of these tiny cameras is amazing!

Ice-cold in Coalport

I exaggerate – but a friend said there had been snow in Wellington this morning. We certainly wouldn’t have wanted to be caught in one of the morning’s sharp showers, but the afternoon would be bright and sunny (and cold, and it will be good to stay out of the wind…). Yes, the weather forecast was right. The colours are so much better at this time of year, aren’t they? There’s only one problem – the tea shop in the youth hostel is closed during the winter months. We’ll have to make do with chocolate (it’s what camera bags are for, isn’t it?)

Coalporting

A much-needed leg-stretch down to Coalport (for well-earned tea and cake…), on a grey Saturday afternoon. We may not be past July, but there are signs of seasonal change – the wheat looks ready for harvest, there are some hefty (but undoubtedly sour) apples by the farm, and ripe (but rather blobby) blackberries, with many better-looking specimens to come. Could be an excellent crop in a few weeks time… And at last the butterflies are playing to the camera!

Steam in the streets

Sat. 13 May: as part of the celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum, around 30 steam road vehicles – traction engines, steam rollers, steam lorries – have assembled at Blists Hill – and at 10am, they’re off to explore the local roads. They’ll be coming up Bridge Road into Broseley, down the High Street, then down the Ironbridge Road and off to the Half Moon for lunch. At 2pm, they’re off again, past Craven Dunnill’s, over the level crossing (it’s an awfully long time since so many steam engines crossed here!), past the Black Swan and back across the river. I’d better get out with the camera – record this wonderful one-off event, and perhaps incorporate some of the local landmarks to complete the picture.

Coalport on a grey afternoon…

…so we’ll do it in black and white! It’s a pleasant circuit, down to Jackfield by hidden paths in the jungle, then across to Coalport and along the old railway track to Coalport bridge. We cross the Severn again and walk along the other old railway, before joining Pound Lane and heading for home.

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