Sunday, 24 September 2017

Neath and Tennant Canal, South Wales.

The Neath and Tennant Canal are 2 independent but linked canals in South Wales. The section I was close to what the Tennant stretch of the canal running past Neath Abbey Business Park. The following info has been taken from Wikipedia as I know nothing about the canal but happened to be close by with time to kill.

George Tennant, born in 1765 and the son of a solicitor in Lancashire, moved to the area in 1816, after he had bought the Rhydings estate. The Glan-y-wern Canal was unused at the time, following Lord Vernon's distraint, but Tennant, who had no previous experience with canals, decided to lease it, enlarge it and extend it. He planned to make it suitable for barges of 30 to 35 long tons (30 to 36 t), which would gain access to the river Neath through a lock at Red Jacket. Where the canal turned northwards across Crymlyn Bog, he would extend it to the west, to terminate at a lock into the River Tawe, near Swansea harbour. He believed that Swansea docks would provide a better shipping point than Neath or Giant's Grave, and hoped that the canal would encourage the development of the corridor through which it ran. He attempted to gain support for the scheme from local landowners, but when none was forthcoming, he decided to fund the project himself. Lord Vernon's estate had been inherited by the Earl of Jersey in 1814, and so Tennant leased the Glan-y-wern Canal from him.

Work started in 1817, under the direction of the engineer William Kirkhouse, and the canal was completed by autumn 1818, running from near the east pier on the River Tawe at Swansea to the River Neath at Red Jacket. The canal was built to a grander scale than originally intended, and could be navigated by barges of 50 to 60 long tons (51 to 61 t). The main line was 4 miles (6.4 km) long, and the 1.4-mile (2.3 km) branch to Glan-y-wern was also reopened, for it supplied regular cargoes of coal. Other goods carried included timber, bark, fire-bricks and sand, but the volume of goods carried was not enough to make a profit. He negotiated with the Neath Canal, who gave him permission to build a lock into the river from their canal, either at Giant's Grave or Court Sart pill, but working canal boats across a tidal river would not have been ideal, and he did not build the lock. 

Instead, he decided to build an extension to link up with the Neath Canal basin at Aberdulais. Again he sought support from local landowners, including Lord Jersey, Lord Dynevor and the Duke of Beaufort, but again none was forthcoming. He decided to build it as a private canal, without an Act of Parliament, and work started in 1821. Engineering problems were experienced near Neath Abbey, where a 500-yard (460 m) cutting was required through what appeared to be quicksand. Eventually, an inverted masonry arch had to be built to contain the canal and stop the sand collapsing. The lack of an Act to authorise the canal proved to be a problem in April 1821, when L. W. Dillwyn refused permission for Tennant to cut through his land to pass under the Swansea road. In February 1822, Dillwyn obtained an injunction against Tennant, who then attempted to change Dillwyn's opinion by sending a stream of important people to argue his case. Finally, in the autumn, Tennant offered the Neath Canal terms for the use of the junction which were so favourable to them that they accepted. Dillwyn, who was a Neath Canal shareholder, was sent a conciliatory letter and eventually agreed to negotiate with Tennant, whom he described as "that terrible plague Mr. Tennant." The final section included the only lock on the main line, which was followed by a 340-foot (100 m) ten-arched aqueduct across the River Neath, and the junction with the Neath Canal. The total length of the canal, when it was opened on 13 May 1824, was 8.5 miles (13.7 km), and it had cost around £20,000, which did not include the price of the land or of the harbour at Port Tennant.

At the Swansea end, Tennant built a sea-lock, so that boats could enter Fabian Bay, and named the area Port Tennant. His terminus was destroyed when the Prince of Wales Dock was constructed by the Swansea Harbour Trust in 1881. It occupied all of the area which had been Fabian Bay, and so a lock was constructed to enable boats to reach tidal water by passing through the dock, and a wharf for the canal was constructed at the eastern end of the dock. Tennant's wharf was again destroyed in 1898, when the dock was extended. Wharfage was provided for the canal along the entire southern side of the extension, but no lock was built to allow canal boats to enter the dock, even though the Act of Parliament made provision for one. A new branch of the canal was built in 1909, which included a lock into the newly constructed Kings Dock, where a lay-by berth was provided on its north side.
Sometime before 1876 another branch was built along the south-western edge of the Crymlyn Bog to transport coal from a mine at Tir-isaf

Prior to its opening, Tennant estimated that the canal would carry 99,994 tons per year, and generate £7,915 in income. Traffic built up, and by the 1830s, annual tonnage was around 90,000 tons, but revenues were less than anticipated, and produced a profit of about £2,500 per year. Initially, it was known as the Neath and Swansea Junction Canal, but by 1845 it had become known as the Tennant Canal. The water was 5 feet (1.5 m) deep between Red Jacket and Aberdulais, and 7 feet (2.1 m) deep from Red Jacket to Swansea harbour. This provided a large reservoir of water, which was used to scour the tidal basin at Port Tennant. Boats typically carried 25 tons, which allowed them to work on the Neath Canal as well. Several short branches were built, including one to the Vale of Neath Brewery which opened in 1839 and was privately funded by the brewery. In the same year, the Glan-y-wern Canal was dredged and re-opened.
Goods carried were mainly coal and culm, but also included timber, iron ore, sand, slag and copper ore, with smaller amounts of foodstuffs and general merchandise. Establishment of industries at Port Tennant, which included Charles Lambert's copperworks in the 1850s and a patent fuel works in the 1860s, resulted in increased traffic of coal, from both Glan-y-wern and Tir-isaf collieries. Tir-isaf was served by a 1-mile (1.6 km) branch built in 1863 by the Earl of Jersey, but leased to the Tennants. Traffic figures reached 225,304 tons in 1866, and then gradually declined after that, but this provided a steady revenue until 1895. The river lock at Red Jacket had a chequered history. Once the line to Aberdulais basin had been opened, it was barely used, and Tennant thought about removing it in 1832. However, it was back in use some time later, and was unused again in the 1880s, only to be rebuilt in 1898.

I will remove this if Wikipedia requests it.

There are 2 albums of pictures available to view, one of 10 on Flickr full size or by the arrows on the picture below.

Neath & Tennat Canal.

The pictures were taken using a Nikon d3300 SLR on a wet early autumn evening on the 20th September 2017. The 2nd album of 7 pictures are available exclusively to Clickasnap and can only be seen by clicking the link below the picture.

There are 7 pictures there to view and each picture viewed on Clickasnap for over 10 seconds results in the photographer receiving a small contributors fee to help support there photography. The pictures on there are full size, resolution and without any watermarks.

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Sunday, 17 September 2017

Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote.

Timanfaya National Park established in 1974 in the south western part of the island of Lanzarote and covers approx. 20 square miles. It is cover entirely by volcanic soil and roads have been dug out of the rock formations for the touring coachers to travel along. There is no other public access to the site to protect the flora and fauna and the park has been designated a Biosphere reserve by UNESCO. The park still features 1 active volcano and there is a demonstration near to the restaurant where water is poured in to the ground, resulting in a geyser of steam (video below).

I visited on July 30th 2013 and although it wasn't what I expected I think it was perhaps one of the highlights of my visit to Lanzarote. I naively expected there to be volcanic flows viewable by the public, this is obviously not the case but I would recommend anyone to go there but I would suggest using an official coach tour as they get priority when entering the park. Cars were queuing for quite a while to enter. This was also the place where I started to take an interest in photography using my Samsung Galaxy Tablet at the time. The parks symbol is El Diablo by Cesar Manrique which is also the name of the parks restaurant.

I have 2 albums of different pictures with 1 available on Flickr featuring 20 pictures,
Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote.
Use the arrows to navigate the full or album or view full size on Flickr.

The following 3 pictures are also from the Flickr album, Click to view full size.
Manto de la Virgen, Timanfaya National Park.
Manto de la Virgen.

Timanfaya National Park, Lanzarote.
A view across the park whilst on the coach tour.

Timanfaya National Park El Diablo Grill, Lanzarote.
The El Diablo Restaurant users volcanic heat to cook the food like this.

There is a 2nd album of 13 images available to view on Clickasnap. These are a different set to my Flickr pictures and by taking just 10 seconds to view them there you help support my photography.

For each picture you view on there the photographer receives a small contributors fee from them of currently $0.0014 per view of over 10 seconds, so not really a get rich quick scheme but every little helps. The album link opens in another window.

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Wakefield to Brigg in less than 7 Minutes.

Recently I had to drive from Wakefield to Brigg due to work and I thought it might be a bit of fun to film it and speed up the results to reduce a 1 hour 10 minute journey in a truck down to just 6 minutes 40 seconds. I then over laid the film with waltz of the flowers by Tchaikovsky.

There wasn't much notable in the way of scenery as the camera was forward facing, so here's a few notable points in time along the film,

Trinity Walk Shopping Centre, Wakefield   0.03
M62 Motorway   0.59
Ferrybridge Power Station   1.35
M18 Motorway   3.15
M180 Motorway   4.05
A18 Junction  6.08

The start of the film shows the currently being redeveloped Kirkgate A61 roundabout in Wakefield and then follows a route up past Pinderfields and through Stanley to the M62 at junction 30. Once on the motorway there were road works until after junction 32 but after that it was a straight forward drive through Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire to Brigg.

The video is available to view here or full size on YouTube

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Saturday, 16 September 2017

Winter at Copley Valley.

These are a selection of 7 pictures taken on the 16th January 2016. This was the day I purchased my Nikon d3300 SLR and despite the wintery weather I wanted to get out and try it.

This area of the Copley Valley has undergone major changes since these were taken and now features and industrial estate of 5 units and a major new housing estate split by the River Calder. There is also a new nature reserve and when I took these pictures the new road and bridge had recently opened. Before the development this area was the former sight of Sowerby Bridge Sewage Works, Sterne Mills and the former home of Triangle FC a local amateur football club.

There are 5 pictures featured on Flickr and here and 2 pictures that are exclusive to Clickasnap which can be viewed by using the links below.

Copley Valley before the Buildings.
Copley Valley just after the completion of the new link road and before the commencement of the new industrial estate. The flat ground at the side of the road is now covered by 5 warehouses and before development was the Sowerby Bridge Sewage Works. The River Calder and new housing estate is just beyond the trees to the left of the picture although work on the estate had not started yet when I took this picture.

Winter Lake at Copley Valley.
Taken from the new link road of the south side of the new Sterne Bridge looking over what I think is part of a flood defence strategy as this area flood quite easily due to the proximity of the River Calder and the nearby streams flowing down from Norland.

Winter at Copley Valley
The album of 5 pictures can be viewed by using the arrows or by clicking to view full size on Flickr.

The following 3 links connect to the pictures available to view on Clickasnap, 2 of which are exclusive to there. Please take a moment to view them as for every view of over 10 seconds I receive a small contributor's fee from them to support my photography.

Taken from the edge of the former football field showing an overgrown and snow covered former field which now has become the Milner Royd Nature Reserve.

The bridge crossers the main railway line alongside the Milner Royd Signal Box. The path over the bridge was accessible by the public until it was diverted in 1893.

This picture can also be seen on Flickr and shows Milner Royd Lane with a light covering of snow.

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Sunday, 3 September 2017

Lumbutts & Mankinholes, Nr Todmorden.

These are a set of pictures I took on New Years Eve 2016 in Lumbutts and Mankinholes, Nr Todmorden, West Yorkshire. Lumbutts and Mankinholes are 2 small hamlet's under the shadow of Stoodley Pike where things of notable interest include the former Lumbutts mill water tower, Lumbutts Methodist Chapel and the 4 small dams that stand near the chapel.

The pictures I took are available to view below. and also of the nearby Stoodley Pike which were pictured on a number of other occasions.

This is just 1 of the pictures available to view on Clickasnap. The Picture shows Lee Dam and the full album of 8 pictures can be seen at,

Lumbutts Water Tower.
Lumbutts Water Tower is a Grade II listed structure that used to power the nearby Lumbutts Corn Mill. The Mill was the scene of the Mankinholes riots in 183 when the townsfolk refused the Board of Guardians demand for money as per the 1834 Poor Law Amendment Act. (This bit of information I found on the Malcolm Bull Calderdale Companion.)

The next picture is 1 of the 8 that feature on Clickasnap, It shows the view across Heeley Dam to Stoodley Pike.Again you can see the full set of currently 8 pictures on Clickasnap via the link below,
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Saturday, 2 September 2017

The Rushbearing Parade Passes By.

The Rushbearing is an annual parade held in Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire traditionally on the first weekend in September. The following was taken from Wikipedia describing it's historic origins, Rushbearing is an old English ecclesiastical festival in which rushes are collected and carried to be strewn on the floor of the parish church. The tradition dates back to the time when most buildings had earthen floors and rushes were used as a form of renewable floor covering for cleanliness and insulation. The festival was widespread in Britain from the Middle Ages and well established by the time of Shakespeare but had fallen into decline by the beginning of the 19th century, as church floors were flagged with stone.

The current Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing was revived in 1977 and this year celebrates a continuous 40 years of celebration with the parade, shops, crafts, bands and dancing. Traditionally the revelries start on a Friday evening with a get-together at a local pub, before getting down to the parade on a Saturday morning. The first days march tends to start at Warley St John's Church before heading down the valley to Sowerby Bridge stopping at a number of pubs along the route for morris dancing and bands to entertain, as well as stopping at Christ Church and St Paul's Church in the town. The day tends to end with a get-together and celebration in one of the towns public houses. Sunday's celebrations tend to start with a church service at St Peter's Church, Sowerby before moving on through the villages of Cottonstones, Triangle, and finishing at St Bartholomew's Church, Ripponden with a songs of praise service.

For more information please take a moment to view the website of the Rushbearing at,

The video can be viewed below or on YouTube, sadly due to the really poor sound quality I have had to change the background music, this does not in my opinion take away from the parade going past. The music I have overlaid is Ceremonial Medley by the United States Marine Band.

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The M62 from Ainley Top to Milnrow.

This is a short film I took whilst driving along the M62 motorway from West Yorkshire to Greater Manchester on the 1 September 2017. This stretch of motorway is the highest in the United Kingdom reaching a peak height of 372 metres (1221 feet) just after junction 22 at Rishworth Moor. It was opened 1970 after a period of construction that started with planning in 1961 and spades in the ground from 1963.  The speed has been increased so that a near 20 minute journey only takes just under 9 minutes. The background music is Cylinder Seven by Chris Zabriskie.

The journey starts at the bottom of junction 24 motorway slip road at Ainley Top, between Huddersfield and Halifax and passes Outland, Scammonden, Rishworth Moor, and Windy Hill before finishing just after junction 21 at Milnrow, Rochdale. The start of the film shows a quite lovely English summers day but by the time I am passing the slip road at junction 22 Saddleworth the motorway visibility is greatly reduced due to fog. When building the motorway this was considered one of the hardest sections to complete due to the ever changing weather.

The video was doubled in speed as I was driving a truck and whilst it may look dangerously close at some points to the Abbey trailer I wasn't and at that point he was really struggling for power as we were barely doing 40mph and I couldn't get out to pass.

A few notable points of scenery, blink and you'll miss some to look out for and the time in view,

Outlane junction 23 slip road and Outlane Golf Club 1:30
Scammonden (Rainbow) Bridge 2:42
Scammonden Reservoir and Water Tower 3:01
Rishworth Moor 3:38
Stott Hall Farm barely visible to the right of the picture 3:46
The fog comes in to view and reduces the long range visibility 4:37
Junction 22 Saddleworth 5:58
Highest Motorway in England Sign 6:08
M62 Pennine Way Bridge 6:18
Rakewood Viaduct (Windy Hill) 7:38

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