Sunday’s snowfall certainly changed the outlook, even though by 9 a.m. it was already beginning to turn to slush. I managed to get out out at daybreak when it was at its best, transforming the canal and its banks. I first walked along the track on the north side, looking nervously up at this massive oak tree’s snow-covered branches; they won’t last forever:
Further on, I had to duck under the branches of smaller trees bending under the weight of the snow. I’d have had to be a limbo dancer to get under this lot by the second footbridge, so I stayed on the north side:
Further on, I crossed the drainage channel by ‘Bridget’, the mini-footbridge, and looked back:
Past Chaddington Lock, I was passed by an intrepid runner, legs reddened by the cold…
… and on to Bincknoll Lane where I turned back:
It was nearly 8:50 by the time the first train sped eastwards from Bristol towards Paddington.
Some friends walking their dog completed the scene; you can just spot their camouflaged Dalmation to the right.
Note the snow being whipped up by the speeding train.
At the second footbridge I managed to push the overhanging branches to one side so that I could walk again on the north. It looked far better than the towpath side because there were so many trees covered in snow.
I’d almost retraced my steps to the first footbridge when I heard a tremendous creaking, then a crack.
A tree branch broke away from its trunk which then bounced back to the vertical position. It was easier to spot this morning, now that the snow has almost completely melted.
I’d tried to get past the fallen bough on the well-worn woodland track earlier in the week, but I only just managed to squeeze to one side without ripping my coat. Although I usually carry a pair of secateurs to trim back the odd bramble, I wasn’t equipped to deal with this blockage, but today I was armed with my long-handled loppers in my backpack plus a junior hacksaw.
I knew the hacksaw wouldn’t be big enough to get through the entire trunk, but it proved sufficient to weaken it so that I could break it by hand once I’d cleared away some of the ivy that must have been holding the tree up. Here’s a before-and-after view:
Now there’s no need to try a limbo dance, I can vary the daily walk once more.