Monday, 29 June 2015

The Other Direction.....

Following our canal path exploration the other day, on Saturday morning we thought we would explore the canal in the other direction...
The plan was to walk along the canal path as far as Devizes wharf.....not a long walk, only about five miles, but on a hot day and with a cafe stop and a picnic lunch planned as well, five miles was going to suit us just fine......

Heron on board the Puddle Duck
 There are lots of different types of narrow boat on the canal and just as many different characters on board....
We walked past a boat called the Puddle Duck but it wasn't a duck on board but a heron.... 

You can see quite a lot of these birds along the canal.... They can remain very still as they search the water for their next meal......
Hire boats being cleaned in preparation for their next occupants
A little further along the canal we saw some narrow boats owned by a hire company being prepared for the next set of holiday makers..... 
A week or two on a narrow boat seems to be a pretty popular holiday choice for a lot of people although it is something that I have never done....
One of the many locks
 Just as we were approaching one of the locks, we saw a water vole swimming across the canal. As we were watching it a large gull swooped down and tried to grab the vole.... I never thought that a gull would attack a water vole like that....maybe it thought that it was a fish swimming near the surface.... 
Anyway we never saw the vole again although it didn't appear that the gull had caught it......
The main flight of Caen Hill Locks
 One of the main attractions of this section of the canal is the Caen Hill Flight. 
This is a flight of locks that take the canal up the hill on the approach to Devizes.

There are 29 locks in all and 16 in the main flight which I have pictured above....
Apparently it takes between 5 & 6 hours to negotiate the entire flight......
Mighty hard work I call it opening and closing all those locks.........
A narrow boat in one of the locks
 I have to say that negotiating locks is one of the reasons I wouldn't want a narrow boat holiday.......!!
At the top of the main flight of locks there is a cafe and Anne and I took advantage of it with coffee & cake.
It was really interesting sitting there and seeing all the boats slowly making their way up the flight...
Canal side pub..
Just on the outskirts of Devizes there was a canal side pub on the opposite bank and judging by the number of people sat outside it was obviously doing brisk business.....

We carried on until we reached the wharf area where we found a seat near the towpath and had our picnic......

We had really enjoyed the walk...... apart from one thing......Cyclists!!

Yes folks I know..... I am a cyclist...but it is a good idea sometimes to see what impact something we do has on other people.....  

Throughout our walk, every minute or two we would hear a 'ding..ding' which was the bell of a cyclist. 
Because the towpath was very narrow in places we had to stop and stand aside to let the cyclist/s go past. 
The first couple of times we thought nothing about it, but as our walk continued it really did become annoying. 
I counted 56 cyclists in just one hour of our walk. Some of these cyclists were solo others were in twos or threes....

Now don't get me wrong, the tow path is a shared space and it must have been just as annoying for the cyclists having walkers 'in the way' as it was for us having to keep on standing aside.

However one observation that Anne (who is not a cyclist) made, was that very few of the cyclists actually slowed down....they just rang their bells and kept on coming. 
From Anne's point of view she found this to be arrogant...  ding ding...  we are coming by so get out of the way!

It is not often that I would ever ride along a towpath (although I have done a few times on my touring bike) preferring road riding, but it is good sometimes to experience things from a different perspective.....

On the road I'm probably an annoyance to motorists, although I must say that when I am driving I have never found cyclists such a pain as they were for me as a walker the other day........

6 comments:

Chandra Eswaran said...

I am a bicycle commuter, an automobile driver, a hiker and sometimes a slow walker. I too find the inconsiderate behavior of certain other road/path users somewhat maddening, Trevor. I am so glad you wrote about this.
I ring a bell too, but I also announce, in a calm manner that I am approaching and sometimes just get off the bike and let the walkers go by - why not you know? My legs could sometimes use the break.

Enjoy your journeys!

Have a Wonderful Day!
Peace :)

Trevor Woodford said...

*Chandra Eswaran*
Yes, unfortunately there are inconsiderate people in all groups of road/path users.
I get the feeling that the cyclists who road past us without slowing the other day would be just as arrogant when driving their cars......
It's the people that are the problem not their mode of transport......

Dave said...

I 've cycled this stretch and like on all shared paths different users have to appreciate that no particular party has the right of way. Just take it easy and be aware of all the other users. Paths like these are for everyone to enjoy.

Trevor Woodford said...

*Dave*
That was my point Dave... Unfortunately so many of the cyclists that rode by us seemed to think that they had priority.
I have to say that as a lifetime keen cyclist myself I found their attitude quite disheartening.

Chandra Eswaran said...

I agree with you, Trevor!
Isn't the 'mind' a nutty thing or what? :)

Trevor Woodford said...

*Chandra Eswaran*
A 'nutty' thing it certainly is :)