I started the year with a 7 mile walk – into town via Chester Green and back via Markeaton Brook – and on 3rd I did 5 miles which included a wander past Darley Abbey Mill. A bit more over the next few days. On Saturday 11 I followed some of the paths opposite the University which I had not done before.
The following day I had the afternoon off and went to Rotherham to visit the South Yorkshire Transport Museum. They run a connecting bus from the station, but I missed it and therefore had a walk along the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation. Not the most beautiful walk, rather too much litter and dereliction, but then you come on a flock of swans and have a chat with two friendly fishermen.
The Museum is in a large industrial unit, and they had a welcoming tea room. An hour was a long enough visit, but I enjoyed my explore. Buses, trams and an interesting collection of vehicles, posters, tickets, signs, even milk bottles. Our first car was a mini – I had forgotten how small the original minis were.
Then a ride on a 1961 coach back to Interchange – there was one point when the driver “stuck his flipping hand out and jammed on all the brakes”. A Pacer back to Sheffield – Pacers will not be around for much longer, so it could be my final ride.
A bit more the following week, then a walk to Etwall (blogged elsewhere). On Thursday 23 January East Midlands Railway offered a £15 return to London – it would have been rude to say ‘No’.
I went on from St Pancras to Blackfriars, then had a walk along the South Bank, across Westminster Bridge, and a circle along the Victoria Embankment, through the gardens looking at some of the interesting monuments.
The Battle of Britain memorial was unveiled in 2005. It was built round a original steam outlet for the District line trains running underneath. The sculptor was Paul Day, and there is a lot of info at the website – http://bbm.org.uk/themonument/. Lovely figures, showing not just the Battle, but Wartime life in general. Very tactile, really alive.
The Iraq and Afghanistan memorial, in the gardens on the north side of the road, is also by Paul Day, and was unveiled in 2017. Two blocks of Portland stone with a bronze medallion in the centre.
The Memorial to the Imperial Camel Corp dates to 1921 and was the work of A.B. Burton and Major Cecil Brown. It commemorates 346 people who died in the First World War in Egypt, Sinai and Palestine.
Then I went on a Brunel Walk. It started with a boat trip down river to Masthouse Terrace Pier at the bottom of the Isle of Dogs, and then we walked along past the construction site of the Great Eastern. We went into Island Gardens, enjoyed the view across to Greenwich, and then caught the DLR up through the Isle of Dogs and back to Shadwell.
Then the East London Line (now the Overground) to Rotherhithe, through Brunel’s Thames Tunnel. I last did this trip with the St Edmundsbury Cathedral Railway Club, probably about 15 years ago. In those days they would turn the tunnel lights on and run the trains slowly. We talked on the platform, then went to the museum – https://www.brunel-museum.org.uk/. Well worth a visit.
Whenever I travel through London I go the pretty way. I got to St Pancras an hour before the train home, so I had a wander through the Goods’ Yard, beside the canal, and through the churchyard of St Pancras Old Church. Thomas Hardy was involved in the clearing of this graveyard, and it will be worth another visit. 5 miles walked in three different places.
We spent the final week of the month in Northumberland. A gorgeous day at Wallington National Trust property and Julie borrowed a tramper. We did 6 miles round the Estate.
I had a train ride from Morpeth to Hexham – a lovely ride along the Tyne. I then did a 3 mile walk, up the hill to the wonderful Cogito Bookshop (J had a book to be collected!), a nice chat with them. Then down through the park, and on to the river. I like Hexham.
The month ended with a couple of miles round the National Trust Cragside estate. 60 miles during the month, which isn’t bad.