Sunday, October 6, 2013

A Sunday morning canal walk

I think that miss IQ is having a bit of a sleep regression as this morning and yesterday she point blank refused her nap. It ended up with screaming and sobbing when I attempted it this morning so I got dressed, wrapped her up warm and took her for a walk.

I'm very lucky to have the beautiful Brecon and Monmothshire canal on my doorstep. We had to walk up a moderately hefty hill to get to it but it really is beautiful. The canal is a 35 mile stretch of canal passages through the South Wales valleys, running from the Brecon Beacons right down to Newport. I'm lucky enough to live on the 'Crumlin Arm' of the canal which connected Crumlin and Newport. It was built in 1794 and was used right up until the 1940 to transport goods, mainly coal, through the valleys. Sadly, the canal has been broken up in to small sections over the years as houses and road have been built around it but you can still walk nearly the entire length of it.

While we walked, I thought about the last time I'd walked on that stretch of canal. It must have been well over 10 years ago since I last visited and it is still beautiful. I smiled to myself when I realised I was a child on my last visit but now returned as a woman, a wife and a mother. That made me feel very proud.

Along our walk we crossed paths with lots of dog walkers, couples on their Sunday walk and cyclists on their way up to the Cwmcarn Scenic drive, though I'm sure some of the older riders weren't going to be attempting the downhill track. What warmed my heart the most is that every single person said good morning, to myself and to IQ. Everyone was just so friendly. This is a part of the valleys I really did miss. The act of greeting a stranger with a smile and hello is a lovely feeling, even if you're a bit shy like me and only manage a quiet 'mornin' you still get a smile in return. Lovely.

There was so much wildlife out on the canal and that's something you don't really pay attention to as a teenager. I was as excited as IQ when we saw a large group of ducks on their morning commute from one bank to the next. IQ loves shouting kaaak (quack) at the ducks. We also saw a heron which was a first for IQ and she didn't look too sure about it. It was having a fish on the opposite bank and was moving very slowly through the water - I think that's what confused IQ.

We also saw a cheeky little squirrel precariously dangling on the thin branches overhanging the canal. There must have been some pretty good berries/nuts at the end of it! IQ saw the squirrel and shouted CAAAT. I suppose I can see her confusion but she can be forgiven as this was also a first-time viewing of a squirrel.

I also saw a gorgeous kingfisher. I didn't manage to get a photograph though as they're so very fast. But so so beautiful.

Across the canal are some beautiful stone bridges. I have fond memories of my Grandfather pretending to be a troll under the bridge and challenging my brother and I to sneak past and not get caught. I can't wait for IQ to do that!

Thankfully she fell asleep on our way back home and that's where she is now. At least she can have an hour nap and recharge before we meet my parents for lunch. Have a nice Sunday everyone!

On a side note -
I spotted some metal gates and fence posts along the canal that I really want to yarn bomb! So if there are any other Risca/Crosskeys knitters/crocheters out there please get in touch as I'd love to collaborate on it! (too much work for one person I think!)

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