Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tales of the unexpected–the limitations of canal guides

What’s this?  Water pouring down some steps.

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Zoom out a bit and we get this

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So where is it?  Knowing where we’ve been recently you might guess it’s somewhere in Birmingham.

Nope, its on the Stratford Canal somewhere north of Lapworth and right out in the sticks.  Either side of this on the canal are farm pastures and wooded cuttings. Nothing else for miles! My Nicholson’s guide shows the spot as the outskirts of a small village, so you can imagine we were a bit taken aback when we cruised past.  I guess it’s a very recent build.

Even when things have been unchanged for years, the maps and guides can’t really tell you what a place is like.

Take this spot on the Birmingham and Fazeley canal a few minutes south of Tamworth.
drayton bridge map

I’m not sure what I expected, but it wasn’t this:

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and then the bridge you see towards the bottom of the map:

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The map gives no clue as to the feel of the place, or of course the wonderful quirkiness of the footbridge, which has little spiral staircases at either end.

I love reading the guides before we cruise anywhere, but they never really tell what a place is like.  And best of all, most places are better than you expect.

3 comments:

Julia & Mark said...

Dicken's Heath, weird place, a bit like a set for "The Prisoner" & usually deserted except at the Tesco express!

Adam said...

Dicken's Heath was being built when we did the Warks Ring in 2005. It's true there's seldom a soul to be seen there!

VallyP said...

I've just left a comment on Halfie's blog saying he's provided my weekend's reading. I'll have to include your last posts too! Looking forward to it.