Slip-sliding along an icy canal towpath

What with having to attend that novel thing called a job during this iced-up week, my return journey back home gave me an excuse to walk back – and I use the term “walk” in the loosest sense – along a stretch of my local canal and take some pictures. So, here are the results of my slip-sliding drudgery in the quest of getting some interesting pictures, of course with plenty of Ducks thrown in for good measure!

First up, I spotted this Duck appearing decidedly sleepy with a funny-looking new friend!

Then, once people started tossing bread out onto the ice, things began to liven up a little, starting with this observant Mallard…

… through to this badling of excited Ducks, although technically they’re on the frozen surface of the canal so could be referred to as being a raft of Ducks…

… to another team of food-thrilled Mallards flooding down an overflow and racing towards the floating tit-bits…

… and on to this pair of Geese, who just opened one eye each to see what was all the commotion disturbing their sleep!

As the snaffling Ducks got stuck into their food, a strange-looking family of Geese appeared, starting with the male, who appeared in black plumage with a red face.

All of a sudden, a piercing call came from a set of Horse stables across the canal and after some squinting and peering, the culprit was spotted and its picture snapped. Now, if I thought the black Goose was weird then I was in for a bigger shock as it appeared I’d caught on camera either a long-forgotten Dinosaur of some kind or a UFO-related Chupacabra!

Stumped once more with the bizarre species now dwelling on the banks of a canal in North Manchester, I strove onwards along the towpath and past the canal’s frozen locks.

The sun was glaring through fractured, overcast clouds, flaring off the canal and revealing the animal tracks running all over its frozen, mirrored surface.

Then, flitting over me on stiff broad wings flew five or six Canadian Geese, hurriedly beating and honking as they went.

A Cat sat alone, in the cold, on the other side of the canal and watched me as I wandered past, seemingly oblivious to the inches of snow surrounding us both. Perhaps I’d interrupted a hunting session and for that was getting a stern staring at out of annoyance.

Just a little further along from the glaring Cat stood “Lenny”, an old canal work barge. Its hull was hemmed by the frozen surface and work had obviously been stopped in a hurry as “Lenny” still carried a lashed-down pipe across its black-painted, flaking length.

And within this winter hardship I was reminded of how much nature has to battle in order to just survive one day to the next: a Mallard with a broken wing, standing one-legged against the cold.

From the towpath and across open fields can be seen Tandle Hills in the distance, its war memorial jutting into the wintry sky and visible for miles around through all but the heaviest blizzards.

Now at the end of this stretch of the Rochdale canal after a rambling slog, there stood a frozen-solid lock. On closer inspection, freezing water had formed thick icicles which had exited through any gaps available between the two water gates, forming a white crystal waterfall.

So now there we have a little snowy excursion in pictures and all done and dusted, so keep your eyes peeled for the next installment and fingers crossed the snow and ice will have cleared for then!

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5 thoughts on “Slip-sliding along an icy canal towpath

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