Monday, 14 May 2018

Chester to Barbridge to Middlewich

This weekend we decided to finally check out the Shropshire canal while the boat traffic was quiet due to the Canal breech at Middlewich. We bought new backpacks as the supplies we needed would not fit into our existing backpacks. We planned the walk using this link https://gb.mapometer.com/walking/route_578667.html and it was a perfect Saturday for a long 30+ mile walk back home. We set off a 10am and got back at about 6.30pm on the same day. I wanted to walk this canal as its one of the most rural canals on the outskirts of Cheshire and there were many beautiful spots along the way.
Along the route, I kept my eyes on the ground as during my research stage I found there to be a possibility of water voles being on some of the canal towpaths and we were not disappointed at all. In one spot the bank was littered with pringled box sized holes which is how you can tell who the owner of the burrow is. There were stalks of grass and dropping leading down a narrow channel to the water. 
There was another reason I wanted to see this canal as I'm looking into the possibility of a future boating life and this canal looks like a nice place to moor a boat due to the marinas have lush green woodlands/fields and reedbeds along the Cheshire plains below Beeston castle.
 Chester to the countryside
 Due to the canal being so quiet and no water flowing due to the lack of boats along the route due to there being no room to turn boats around, the local Carp seem to be breeding in good number this year and there were 30+ swimming around and feeding in a 10M stretch
 Not only were the fish making the most of the sunny weather as when we reached the end of the journey to my surprise I spotted a small Gunea pigged animal swimming in the water along the canal bank. We watched the watervole which disapeered behind some dry grass hanging over the canal bank suddenly we heard a few vocalization and then we saw a pair scrapping and chasing each other on the canal surface which ended in them both climbing up the brambles and into some scrubland alongside the bank. This was the first one I have seen for over 15 years when I first saw one on a local river before the so called watervole killers the Mink were thought to be wiping them out but I think humans are causing the decline with habitat loss 80% habitat loss and 20% Mink. I think the Watervoles are adapting on my local patch as this small colony should not exist as Mink are every were along the water coarses on my local patch, I will do a full post soon on this topic.
 This dog called Kelly kept us company as we left Tattenhall marina with his playfulness until his owner called him back.
No photographs of the Watervoles but with the canal due to be quiet for the whole of the  summer I'll be doing nightly last light walks by getting the bus into the countryside then walking back home past the watervoles location but as I have another precious few creatures to try and photograph including Otters and Badgers plus this little one that likes to play hide and seek with me.
Lots to post about including all my Early summer wildlife encounters
and my search for a minimalist life that may get me even closer to the nature that I love so much.
Kind regards

Mike

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