I come from the coast originally, my childhood filled with memories of Morecambe bay and the Duddon Estuary swimming, paddling and scoffing ice creams next to that murky salty water.
The sea was always cold and always a thin chocolate colour, its one of the things I miss the most about moving south, a place to catch quiet whilst being battered by high winds and a place to think, the feeling your skin has after being at the sea-side in winds all smooths and ex-foliated.
Moving to the midlands means my closest sea Weston is around 2hrs away but just does not have the same appeal. Today I took a run out, hitting the local canals, winding my way around the black country. Its industrial heritage sometimes on show and sometimes now gone, in the UK we have some 2,200 miles of navigable canals, there is alot of section taken out of use with some sections still allowing an exploration by foot. I love the canals, they demand quiet, there is no forced rushing here only a considered pace
Water appears to move as the breeze gently caress the surface and the myriad of bird breaks the flow with gentle ripples. The West Midlands holds some 500 miles of canals and ive barely scratched the surface of most of them. You can see both the past and present industries, bardges meander by as you go from urban sprawl to rural idyll within a few miles.
Canals have become my sea, a place I can escape to, dampen down the busy life and enjoy my surroundings, even as I pass through the urban areas the graffiti and run down factories add to it a certain elegance and attraction. The broken and discarded remnants of life now part of its structure.
Todays run was no different, a 20 mile loop through much of the above. Life busies on as the old gives way, what were once smoked filled industrial power houses, where families scraped by a life, canal side appartements worth a small fortune adorn the waterside and it shows how the canals have slowly changed with the years and taken on new industries.
So get out there, wander the waterways and walk the past, search every spot as adventures lurks where you least expect. There easy to access and best of all free.
Canal and River Trust are your first port of call to find out all about the glorious waterways.