Middlewood Way

Rather a lovely walk today heading down the old railway and then back along the Macclesfield Canal. The railway stops now at Rose Hill Station in Marple, but used to continue all the way to Macclesfield. Today, this stretch of line from Rose Hill Station to Macclesfield is a lovely path on which you can walk, cycle or ride your horse.

Commemorative Plaque along the railway

There seems to be many of these old railways dotted around the northwest of England. You can’t help but wonder if they’d not been scrapped would we have less traffic on the roads? I suspect our love affair with the car would have still made certain lines redundant, but I do sometimes wonder. It’s interesting that in many cases the area has developed its population quite significantly since the demise of the railway making its viability rather more positive than when it was scrapped. Oh well, we can at least enjoy the walk along the route.

Macclesfield Canal

We walked down the old railway from Rose Hill Station down to the Nelson Pit visitor centre where we crossed over to the Macclesfield Canal to do a circular walk back to Rosehill Station. It was lovely. There were a few people about, but most people behaved and observed social distancing.

Bridge Number 9 on the Macclesfield Canal

There’s plenty to see as you walk along the towpath with some lovely bridges. All up it was about an 8 mile circuit, but mostly flat and quite easy going. Definitely a lovely walk and somewhere we’ll return. If you want to find out more click here for a PDF of the route.

Worsley and the Bridgewater Canal

Entrance to dry dock at Worsley

Well, what a treat! Very close to Manchester, yet feeling like we were miles away. Lovely old buildings, and rather peaceful considering how close it is to the M61 motorway.

The canal was opened back in 1761 and is one of, if not the very first cut canal in the world. There’s some glorious old timber framed buildings in Worsley of which the Packet House is a fine example. This is the building from which tickets were purchased to travel along the canal. Both coal barges and passenger boats travelled along the canal. Check out the Bridgewater Canal at Worsley webpage for more details.

Packet House,Bridgewater Canal, Worsley
Packet House,Bridgewater Canal, Worsley

It was a lovely walk along the towpath through Worsley Woods and then back through the town of Worsley. I took just my 28mm lens and that was perfect for the walk. Not too heavy or cumbersome so I could enjoy the walk, but just the right focal length for the views and scenes along the way.

Boathouse, canal boat and very special bridge in the background.

I like the story behind the old bridge you can just pick out in the background of the shot above. Called the Alphabet Bridge due to the number of planks making up the span (26) and the way local school children practiced their alphabet on their way to school.

Hunting and fishing lodge, Worsley

The above photo looks across Warke Reservoir to the hunting and fishing lodge built for the 1st Earl of Ellesmere.

A trip to the seaside!

We’ve not been to the sea for months, so, for a change, we headed out to Lytham and Lytham St. Anne’s. We arrived at Lytham first and parked the car near the windmill. It didn’t take long for the carpark to fill up and we’d have been struggling to find a park if we’d been just a little later. As you can see from the photo’, the sky was a bit threatening, but thankfully we didn’t get any rain whilst we were here.

The windmill at Lytham.

Built originally back in 1805 as a corn mill this building has quite a bit of history attached to it. January 1st 1919 apparently had the sails spinning out of control in a gale. Sparks from the brakes caused a fire and the windmill was derelict for a few years until used for a variety of purposes. Only comparatively recently has some restoration work been carried out to return this building to the appearance you see now.

Sea view near Lytham

Heading away from the windmill towards St. Anne’s is a very pleasant flat walk, but the sea remains somewhat distant and looked rather grey and uninviting. However, by the time we got to St. Anne’s the sun was out and things looked much more summery and bright as you can see in the first photo and the shot below of the pier.

St. Anne’s Pier

The beach at St. Anne’s was lovely. There seemed to be a lot of people about going off the amount of traffic on the road, but the beach was so large there was plenty of space for everyone … and it is a proper sandy beach. Very nice indeed … and … if you were feeling adventurous, you could even have a donkey ride on the sand.

Donkeys on the beach

Up early

I’ve been enjoying early morning walks around Doffcocker, Barrow Bridge and The Woodland Trust’s Smithills Estate. It’s easy to think of Bolton as a largish conurbation with few green spaces. Driving around there’s a significant number of terraced houses with no gardens … and even houses with space for a garden seem to prefer concrete onto which they can park their cars. So, when you get to the outskirts of the town and stroll down some of the footpaths it’s a real joy to see natural scenes bathed in the golden light of the rising sun. Not wishing to be over burdened with heavy camera gear I usually just take an old manual focus, manual aperture 28mm lens with me. The lens is old, and worth very little, but it’s light and just suits me fine. It takes a little longer to get the shot as focus and exposure are all manually done, but it’s quite enjoyable and gives me an excuse to have a breather before setting off walking so:e more! Below are a couple of shots of a pond near Old Hall Lane in Doffcocker.

Old Hall Lane Lake
Old Hall Lane Lake
Early morning on Old Hall Lane
Early morning on Old Hall Lane

In the backyard

Quite a pleasant day today with quite a few insects enjoying the nectar on garden flowers. The photo above is of a Hoverfly I hadn’t noticed before. This particular fly seems more black and white that the usual yellow and white varieties I usually see. Shot with a reversed 50mm lens and using a diffused snoot to get some extra light onto the creature. With the lens reversed the viewfinder is very dark, so quite a challenge focussing!

I’ll post a few photos of the wee beasties below. The first two photos below are taken with a reversed 50mm lens and a speedlight to get a bit of extra light. If you can identify any of them please leave the details in the comments. I’ve just called them “small hoverfly”, “thin hoverfly” and “Coming in for the nectar”.

Small Hoverfly
Thin Hoverfly
Coming in for the nectar

This last photo was taken with a 28mm lens and then cropped to get in close. I must admit to being very impressed with this lens. It’s a manual focus Nikkor 28mm f2.8 ais I found on eBay and it’s become a firm favourite.

Japanese Anemone

I’d seen this plant growing through spring and couldn’t imagine what is was going to be. To be honest, I thought it was a weed. It seemed vigorous and kept getting taller and taller with quite lush leaves. Next there was a dramatic increase in the number of buds on the plant. The photo below, taken with a reversed 50mm lens, shows the buds on this plant.

Japanese anemone flower buds.

Several days after the buds appeared a few started to open and they are glorious as you can see in the main photo for this post. Seriously relieved that I didn’t pull these plants out these blooms are proving to be very popular with the bees. These plants would also seem to be very easy to grow!