Friday, 11 January 2013

Walking Off New Years Eve

Decisions decisions, having had a rather wet Christmas and a wet few months leading up to it, opportunities for photography were still at a premium. On Sunday the 30th December I headed north to Shropshire to spend New Year with my Girlfriend and her family. With nothing wildlife related planned I thought I would do a little research to see if any Waterfalls were nearby, being an upland area around Church Stretton I hoped to find some kind of fast flowing brook or mountain stream. 

Little did I know one of Shropshire's more attractive walks just happened to be right outside of Church Stretton on the edge of the Long Mynd and area I have explored a fair bit over my regular visits up country. The Carding Mill Valley home of the Light Spout Waterfall within 8 miles of the house. 

Now as you can imagine, us southern folk are not that used to rocky streams and fast flowing water. So I got myself pretty excited about potentially photographing it the next day, New Year's Eve, so waking up to it pissing down with rain I was pretty annoyed, And I continued to be so for the majority of the day as it continued to rain.

So I had two options, as I was heading home around lunchtime on New Years Day, do I drink copious amounts of alcohol on New Years Eve that someone in their 20's probably should or do I get up early and wander up that way myself leaving Nat in bed enjoying a lie in.

Well If I had picked the drink I guess I wouldn't be writing this blog post, so just after 9am I packed my tripod and filters and headed up the road to the Carding Mill Valley. Now any other time of the year I am guessing the walk up the Valley would have been a nice steady climb, but after a weeks worth of Christmas food and about 8 or 9 cans from the night before, on several occasions on the hour or so assent I thought I was going to die.

Luckily at the turn off to the Light Spout Hollow, a rather photogenic scene emerged allowing me quite a breather and a good chance to mess about with some picturesque flowing water.

The Light Spout Hollow
The Ford Turnoff
Light Spout Hollow
Suitably refreshed, and spurred on by the large amount of people now starting to come up the path behind me I continued on up the The Light Spout Hollow for another 20minutes or so before finally reaching the falls. Luckily everyone who had passed me when I messed about lower down the water course seemed to have vanished, allowing the Light Spout Waterfall all to myself.

Due to the amount of Rainfall, photographing a waterfall at this time of year seemed like a good choice. Plenty of white plumes cascaded from above, although having seen a few waterfalls in my time, I must admit the 4 metre drop was a little disappointing, and I much preferred the wider lower falls another 30 yards back down the path.

The Lower Falls
The Light Spout Waterfall
But all in all not a bad way to spend the first few awake hours of 2013! And helping walk off the Xmas  Excess. The walk down was a lot easier than the walk up.

I am also glad I got up when I did as the further I descended back down the path towards the car park the more people I passed. They were everywhere. I wouldn't be exaggerating if I said I bet there was 500 cars parked/abandoned in the 3 car parks. National Trust wardens were directing traffic in from the main road, I've never seen so many people all together in such a remote location. I guess it was the Sunshine.

Also managed to get a few New Year Ticks - Raven, Carrion Crow, Buzzard, Blue Tit, Blackbird, Treecreeper, Robin & House Sparrow.

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