My Monday walk this week was done the day after my walk round Belmont; another morning of blue sky and sunshine was just too good to miss so as soon as I came out of work I took myself off for a walk round the nearby Jumbles reservoir though this time I was minus the dogs.
The lane leading down to the reservoir was perfectly clear and I didn’t see any sign of snow until I got to the path going down and across Ousel Nest Meadows. There were a couple of icy patches where water had run off the land and down the path a little way but other than that it was fine for walking. At the far side of the bridge near the dam I had a choice of going left up the steps or right up the long zig-zag slope; even without the snow the steps are uneven so I took the slope and got to the car park at the top with no problem.
At the far side of the car park and looking across the main part of the reservoir I could see a thin layer of ice covering much of the surface while further along by the second bridge the offshoot was almost completely iced over, the ice in turn being covered by a layer of snow. Walking past the wildlife area where the water was only a foot or so below the level of the path I could hear the ice cracking with the movement of the thin trees growing out of the water. A small patch of water caught my eye and I watched for several minutes as the ice formed different patterns whenever the water moved beneath it.
Further along I came to the narrowest part of the reservoir and at the far side of the next bridge the water in the old quarry was almost completely covered in a layer of ice and snow. Hoping that the weir on the nearby brook may be frozen and I could get some icicle-type shots I followed the path upstream for a short distance but I was out of luck, I could see before I got there that Bradshaw Brook was flowing normally so I retraced my steps back to the bridge.
At the far side of the bridge I went down to the water’s edge on the quarry side, and standing there with the water and ice less than a yard from my feet it was hard to believe that only nine months ago, in May last year, the quarry had got so dry in the continuing warm weather that I actually walked along the bottom of it.
From the end of the bridge the path took me away from the water and through a tree shaded area for a distance before bringing me out at the small picnic/fishing area near the cottages and just as I got there a real commotion came from the nearby slipway. Someone must have just put some food down for the ducks and along with a few geese they were coming out of the water in droves; there was such a feeding frenzy going on it looked like the whole of the north west’s duck population was there.
Leaving the ducks behind the path continued over a small creek and past the back of the sailing club premises, meandering through another heavily tree shaded area before reaching private land where it continued past a couple of small paddocks and a stable block and eventually joined the bottom end of the lane which would take me back towards the main road and the lane down to work.
Walking up the lane I could hear the noise of machinery not far away – it sounded like there may be some road works up ahead, which wouldn’t surprise me as it seems everywhere I go in this town at the moment someone is digging a hole in a road somewhere. It wasn’t road works however, the noise was coming from a generator which was operating the facilities in a horsebox recently converted into a mobile snack bar; serving tea, coffee, hot chocolate and toasted sandwiches it had only opened on the last weekend in January. Apart from the noise of the generator I thought it was a good idea, especially in the recent very cold weather as the only other place walkers can get a hot drink is the cafe right on the other side of the reservoir.
I was very tempted to get something as I’d only had a brew at work but even in the sunshine it was far too cold to sit on the nearby wall, so with one final shot of a nearby field I headed back along the lane to collect the van from the works car park – just a ten minute drive and I could have a late breakfast in the warmth of my own home.