Thursday, 6 August 2009

The ups and downs of the caped crusader...

It wasn't sunny by a long shot, but at least it wasn't raining. It's been a crap summer AGAIN. You just don't know what to expect when you go out. You may start the day in a T-shirt, find yourself battling a storm by lunchtime, and then sweltering in tropical humidity all afternoon.
Anyway, the environment had stabilised sufficiently to risk going out for a walk. I headed off north west to the hill known as The Wrekin. I decided to give the easy path to the summit a miss and elected to take a more direct route straight up the steep section through the woods. The gravity was particularly strong that day (that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it), and a 12kg rucksack packed to cope with every eventuality probably didn't help, but I found it hard going.
By the time I'd reached the top, I was completely knackered. I lay motionless on the rocks until I'd recovered, only to realise that the resident crows had gathered around me, hoping that I'd died and they were in for a mighty meal. Not wanting to disappoint them I shared some of my picnic. They repaid me with some ariel acrobatics, soaring and skiffling in the increasing wind.
A Peregrine Falcon put in a brief appearance, but not for long enough for me to grab a photo. I've never seen a bird move so fast, pull such G's, or dive in such a death defying way... incredible.

Much recovered, I donned my picnic blanket as a cape (capes are making a comeback) and strode off against the now gale force winds.


The path of choice was steep and direct, and I soon found myself at the bottom. I stood up and made my way back to the car.



Exploring some twisting country lanes, I came across the towns of Coalbrookdale and Ironbridge. This area is known as the birthplace of the 'Industrial Revolution'.




The whole area is bathed in history. Everywhere you look there is some legacy of invention. The famous bridge built over the River Severn (completed in 1781) was designed by Abraham Darby III. It was the first arch bridge in the world to be made out of cast iron, a material which was previously far too expensive to use for large structures. The Darby family developed advances in smelting that allowed cheaper and higher quality casting as demonstrated by the amazing way this bridge is slotted together using mortise and tenon, and dovetail joints.





These new smelting and casting processes allowed almost anything to be produced and led the way for machines to move forward, and outwards across the world.
You realise how dedicated the town was to this newly invented industry when you see that even the kerb stones were made of metal.
I clambered into my new fangled metal perambulation engine, and headed for home...






6 comments:

Lesley said...

I love that bridge! So green, guess that is what happens when you get lots of rain.

3D said...

Hubba, hubba superhero!!

Great pics.

Keep smilin!

Lavender said...

"The gravity was particularly strong that day"
ROFL thats a great one, I will remmeber that
And I would suggest that you add some safety glasses to your pack - the eyes are the best bits!

Great shots and very cool history, Thanks Mate!

Elisa...life as we know it. said...

Wow seeing ironbridge is bringing back memories of the past.
My Grandad was the first person to take me there.

BTW, the cape is very fetching on you!

patty said...

neat stuff... love the bridges

Russell Hill said...

LOL, love the cape!!