On the Chase in June

We’re heading for Cannock Chase – the weather forecast says it should stay dry (it did), while showers would affect western Shropshire in the afternoon (they did). It’s not a great day, photographically – the clouds are heavy and ominous, and there’s no real sunshine – but it’s very enjoyable to explore the heathland, which varies in appearance and feel as we make our way around. A fairly long one today – just short of 10 miles – so we’ve earned our tea and cake at the visitor centre…

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=399085&Y=317611&A=Y&Z=120

Silver Birch

…on Cannock Chase. There are forested areas, and there are wide expanses of heathland – the latter well-scattered with silver birches. On this chilly, clear and sunny January afternoon, the silver-white of the birches stands out against the blue of the sky. There are warm tones in the winter undergrowth of grasses, heather and bracken, but there’s little else – the leaves are long-gone, as are all those colourful toadstools we saw on our last visit. The bacon baps in the visitor centre are, of course, much as they were last time – just the thing for a cold day.

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=398945&Y=316431&A=Y&Z=120

It’s never dull at Statfold

Even when the weather is gloomy… Today was the first of this year’s open days at the Statfold Barn Railway. The March event can be really great for photography if the sun shines – but apart from a few minutes when the sky was (partially) blue and the sun shone, the weather was unremittingly dull. At least it didn’t rain. There was plenty of interest, and lots going on – and a real eye-opener in Oak Tree shed. A “Rail Diaries” page will appear tomorrow or Monday – in the meantime, here’s a taster.

Beech and birch…

…on Cannock Chase. It’s a perfect late-autumn morning, ideal for a walk over the Chase, to the visitor centre for lunch. We’ve earned bacon baps today, though the real reward is the colour in the remaining leaves, especially when seen against that clear blue sky. There are few left on the silver birch, but those on the many beech trees which line the edge of the coniferous forest are glowing in the sunshine.

Cannock Chase Visitor Centre

View OS map on Streetmap http://www.streetmap.co.uk/map.srf?X=398845&Y=316371&A=Y&Z=120

Flying Fox

…was the first A3 I “saw”, too many years ago. There are no A3s at Foxfield (which is probably a good thing), but lots of retired industrial steam locomotives, fighting-fit and ready for action. Sadly, it’s not the best of days, but at least it’s stopped raining (mostly…), and we’ve time for a quick look. Visit Foxfield – a flying visit on Geoff’s Rail Diaries – now!

Statfold; 1 megapost

Saturday 10 June: the latter is nothing to do with the former. This just happens to be the 1,000th post on this blog (which started life just over 11 years ago, on Blogspot*). What better way to celebrate (given that I noticed quite by chance that no. 1,000 was approaching) than a coincidental trip to the Statfold Barn Railway, for the June open day. It was a lazier day than usual – not good weather for photography (though the rain held off), and the increasing numbers attending make photography more and more difficult too, in more ways than one. It’s still a great day out though!

Statfold Barn Railway

*I moved the posts across to WordPress

Staffordshire Centenarians

100 years old: Stanhope

Sun. 14 May – a birthday celebration in Staffordshire. Stanhope and Diana are both 100 this year; their friends Joffre and no 9, also actively attending, are 101 years old. Roger will be 100 next year – and his little friend Jennie is just 12 years old… Yes, it’s the Apedale “Stanhope” gala weekend. For more pictures, and (a little) more on the day’s events, visit “More Birthdays at Apedale” on Geoff’s Rail Diaries.