All Change

Today should have started, as many others, with a two mile walk from Saltley to work along the Grand Union Canal. However, I left the house a tad early, catching an earlier bus. This enabled me to get off a few stops earlier and take a three mile walk to work, crossing the railway and walking down Aston Church Road to join the canal.

Walking past Taroni’s scrap yard, I did notice these gates which are, apparently, in constant use.

Judging by the amount of soil piled up along the bottom they must be in constant use – as a wall !

After work, the plan was to walk the two miles back along the canal and then catch the bus home. However, a last minute change meant that my planned longish walk tomorrow couldn’t happen so I swapped it to today. I quickly booked a train ticket, got changed and left the building.

A brisk walk from work to New Street Station got me to platform 9a just as the 16:49 to Nottingham pulled in. I boarded the train and two minutes later, we pulled out of the station.

After a further fifteen minutes, I left the train at Wilnecote (luckily the train had stopped) and headed out along the busy B5404 towards Fazeley.

At Fazeley, I joined the Coventry Canal, for a short distance, to it’s junction with the Birmingham Fazeley which was then followed towards Kingsbury Water Park.

As I was heading towards the bridge near to Drayton Manor, I looked up and saw what I thought was a parachute. As it got closer, I detected the sound of an engine and noticed that the parachutist had a stonking big fan on his back.

I snapped this photo with my iPhone so it’s not the best but click on the picture and zoom in and you can just about make out the fan.

A little further along, probably at the next bridge, I noticed a broad track running towards Middleton Lakes. Recalling a recent visit to the aforementioned lakes, I remember seeing a track heading towards the canal. Time to go exploring.

I walked along the track which I could see was heading straight for the lakes. It was, I got closer, that I noticed a small stream blocking my way. It was just a tad too far to chance jumping. Hoping to find a narrower stretch, I walked alongside Gallows Brook and eventually found a bit that I could and did jump.

Now back on a proper path, I picked up the pace as I moved through the RSPB’s Middleton Lakes reserve, passing a few bird hides before having to drop back onto the canal tow path just before Kingsbury Water Park.

Both Middleton Lakes and Kingsbury Waterpark have been reclaimed after gravel extraction activities.

I made a brief loop of one of the lakes that make up the water park, enjoying a lovely sunset before returning to the tow path yet again.

Once the sun had disappeared from view, I had to rely on my own lighting, namely a head torch and Lil’ Larry. I was enthusing about what a great combination these two made but I’m having a rethink after Lil’ Larry’s battery died. I’m not too sure how long the two AAA batteries did actually last but it didn’t seem all that long. I’ll have to do a proper test.

I carried on along the canal past The Dog & Doublet pub, Curdworth and Minworth. Just after Minworth, at The Boat pub, I left the canal and double backed along the road and on to Water Orton.

Arriving at Water Orton, I was still a little shy of my projected twelve miles so did a little loop arriving outside the chip shop as the watch read 11.92 – close enough.

As a reward for walking off 1,457 calories I did my best to put some of them back on by treating myself to a mini fish and chips which I ate on a very casual stroll home.

One thing I neglected to mention was the new socks. I had these delivered to work and they had arrived earlier today.

Changing at work, I slipped on these babies to give them a test drive. They are a bit of a fiddle to get on making sure there’s one and only one toe in each sleeve. Once on, I can say that they fitted like a glove !

During the walk, I found my injinji socks very comfortable. I may get another pair or two.


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