Saturday, 28 November 2015

Jan said I should have gone yesterday

Jan told me I should have gone for the walk yesterday when the weather was better.  I hate it when she is right!  The temperature this morning was 1°C in the cratch  so I opted to put on a thermal vest and lightweight fleece under my lightweight rain jacket.  My error (do I make them) was in not taking my waterproof over trousers.  The plan was to complete a 24km walk to the NE of Ellesmere recording a number of public footpaths not on the Open Street Map (OSM).  I would return via the towpath.

The planned route is shown as the purple line in the map screen dump below.  My actual route is a combination of the green and red lines.

Ellesmere NE Walk

Of course the minute I left the outskirts of Ellesmere it started to rain getting steadily worse the further I got from Waiouru.  Some of the farm houses in this area are rather substantial.

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We have an expression in NZ “Never met a poor farmer!” Smile

The countryside around here looks slightly similar to some of the lower NZ sheep county.

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Although it would be fences rather than hedges.  Gorse is the curse of NZ.  The climate is perfect and it has no predators.  It was just past this point that I discovered I would have to back track and seek an alternative route.  The dairy farmer was disposing his milking shed effluent by allowing it to run down the hillside.  He had marked the boundary with an electric fence which was to keep his stock out and I didn’t feel like wading through the stuff.

A couple of kilometres later I realised the batteries in the gps were going flat and if I wasn’t careful I might find myself taking the long route back.  To my surprise the footpath led to a substantial brick arch bridge.  I was anticipating a stream but the ground under it was dry.

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Then I realised I had reached the former Whitchurch and Aberystwyth Railway.  Railways appeared in this part of England during the mid 19th century and by the mid 1960’s they had all been closed.  You can read more about them here.

Shortly after the bridge I deviated from the planned route and headed back towards Ellesmere along the A495 road.  I turned the gps off along this part of the walk which is why the route appears as straight lines in the map screen dump.  There is a road junction between the A495 and the A528 above Ellesmere Canal Tunnel (photo in yesterday’s post).  From there I walked the familiar towpath back to Waiouru where I received a warm welcome “Told you you should have walked yesterday!” After peeling off my soaking wet trousers I discovered my legs were cherry red with the cold.  Nothing that a hot shower couldn’t fix.  Now all I need to do is upload the recorded footpath data.

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