Friday 14 December 2018

Walks By The Water

Not all the walks I take produce a hatful of pictures. Here are a few photos from three recent strolls, all beside water in various quantities.

In The Fens

Just over a week ago my brother and I took a walk beside the River Cam going northwards from Clayhithe.

We set out along the riverside flood bank opposite the Bridge pub with dredging equipment and a bright red narrowboat bringing a little colour to a grey day.

Boats going through Bottisham Locks. You can see from the size of the lock that quite large vessels can make their way up to Cambridge, and in former times they often did.

Some of these boats are lived on throughout the year. Behind it is the pumping station needed to keep the Fens drained, as much of the land is actually below the level of the rivers. Flat land, flat light - not ideal for photography, so we turned around and made our way back to that pub.

Mist On The Mel

On Saturday I helped out with my village's footpath volunteers spreading wood-chippings on the path beside the River Mel. There were plenty of us and we shifted two lorry-loads of chippings with shovels and wheelbarrows in just over two hours.

A couple of days later I passed that way again and was rewarded by a spooky mist rising from the water and being lit by the low sun.

This lovely Little Egret was enjoying a little fishing by the river till I disturbed him, though I'm sure he returned as soon as I'd gone.

A Man-Made Lake

We have no natural lakes in East Anglia and with the land being so flat it's difficult to find places where a reservoir can be easily accommodated. Grafham Water, which was constructed in 1965, is the exception. My brother and I (we try to meet up at least once a week) went for a walk there earlier this week but didn't do the full ten-mile circuit, but a five mile walk at the east end.

I sometimes think walking is an eccentric pastime, but then I see an angler standing waist-deep in the water and I don't feel so crazy.

There were lots of winter ducks on the water including hundreds, possibly thousands, of Tufted Ducks. Some Goldeneye, Gadwall and Wigeon were also there in smaller numbers. And lots of Mallard along the water's edge. And two of those white spots in the photo above - you'll just have to take my word for it - are Whooper Swans just recently returned from the Arctic to spend their winter here.

We turned "inland", making our way through woods and along a disused railway line, to the little village of Grafham.

By the time we got back to the car park the weather was beginning to look decidedly gloomy.

Take care.


  1. Walking is perhaps the greatest pastime of all. I fear that as I get older my knees are giving me ever more grief and the days of my long walks, or those involving a lot of downslope walking, may be coming to an end. Loose soil or gravel, or deep snow, really give me problems these days - and I have walked all my life.

  2. I would love to see inside one of the canal least that is what I call them. Lovely photos...I cannot see standing in a lake, but Roger and I used to wade the creeks and fish. That was quite fun!

  3. Your countryside is so pretty. I follow a couple of UK bloggers and seeing your photos makes me want to come visit.

  4. Nice walk by the water there. The skies remind me of winter here on the north coast of California. Lots of misty, blustery, gray above rivers and bay, with ducks! Beautiful.

  5. It all looks so damp and British!


    I'm glad you mention what that was in the water. To me it looked like a cat just sitting there...I was at a loss for words!

  6. I really love the view of those canal boats. To me they seem typically British, but I don't know if that's true.

  7. Fens is one of those words that never really made the crossing of the Atlantic. The lock reminds me of our Canal locks somewhat.

    1. The Fens were once an area of marshy land which were then drained and the rich peat soils then supported a thriving agriculture. The locks are exactly the same as canal locks though here they are to allow boats to pass the weirs which exist to control the water-levels. Management of flood waters here is every bit as important as it is in the Netherlands which have a very similar landscape. Indeed Dutch engineers were largely responsible for the major drainage works.

  8. Good photos as usual John - I just love that little egret.

  9. Nice to see the Egret down by the river. Hopefully he found something good to eat. Nice water scenery, John.

  10. Some nice scenery John. Yes fisherpersons, not only do they stand in the water, what I find strange is that they build little tubular platforms and sit out int the water. Why cant they just take a seat and sit on the bank.?

  11. Living on the boats, travelling along the canals--that sounds like a misty dream

    Good photos. We would love to see this all in person.

  12. Those narrowboats are interesting looking. I very much enjoy joining you on your walks about the countryside!

  13. Great collection of photos, and glad to hear of your "giving back by shoveling the wood chips" for pathways. My favorite might be the mist rising from the water. Or maybe the wonderful red narrow boat.

  14. Whooping swans ! Awesome.
    Lots of grey skies your way too.

  15. Wonderfulphotos of three different walks. Grafham Water looks an interesting place to visit. Love your photo of the Little Egret:)

  16. I don't think walkers are strange at all! It's the very best way to see things. You miss so much going any faster. I love all the different views of water and countryside.

  17. You're lucky to have so many 'watery' places to walk. I'm fascinated by all your canals and the narrow boats.

  18. The misty shot has mystery. Perfect!


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