Ilkeston - Down By The Canal
w/e 13 March 2011
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

Erewash Canal

Encouraged by the spring flowers in Ilkeston's parks and cemeteries last week, I thought I'd look in the more natural surroundings along the Erewash Canal at the eastern edge of town to see what it would yield as winter slowly gives up its grip and spring begins to take its place.

I accessed the canal towpath off Cantelupe Road midway between Station Road and Potter's Lock and was almost immediately greeted by some flowering forsythia although the plastic bottles apparently growing off the same plant were strictly man made additions.

Heading towards Potter's Lock the dead grasses and partially decomposed leaves showed little signs of spring and even the trees either side of the towpath still seemed lifeless.

Closer inspection of the trees though showed that they are indeed sprouting new growth and the leaf buds are forming well.
Muddy Path

Although it was a fine afternoon, the surface of the path was quite greasy in parts and with Potter's Lock coming into view, one section in particular needed some careful navigation through the mud.
At Potter's Lock

At Potter's Lock I had the option of continuing across the playing field to the right or crossing the bridge to the opposite side of the canal. Knowing that the far corner of the playing field where it rejoins a path along the canal side tends to become waterlogged, I opted for the latter and crossed over the old bridge.
Patch Of White

One thing that I noticed whilst walking along the path was the amount of litter (like the plastic bottles in the forsythia) that had been carelessly and needlessly discarded and as I joined the path after crossing the bridge I noticed a patch of white on the other side that looked for all the world like another plastic bag caught up in the reeds and grasses.

I quickly found out that the patch of white was created by two preening swans together with one of last year's brood that has not yet flown the nest. The only other waterfowl I saw were along this section were a few coots and three or four mallard ducks. As the year progresses there will hopefully be an increase in their numbers.
Quiet Train

The coots were swimming noiselessly in the canal and on the other side of the towpath an engine swooshed (is that a word?) by almost as quietly southwards along the adjacent railway line.
Green's Lock

As I approached Green's Lock there were one or two more birds in the canal but my quest for more signs of spring had not been as successful as I had hoped. Nevertheless I had enjoyed a pleasant walk in the sunshine which, as the canal continued on its journey to the south, was almost directly ahead. It was also a stark reminder as to why I normally follow the path in the opposite direction when out taking photos.

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