The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Another Bit Of The Chase

As we were going to be crossing the Chase yesterday, and as we had a bit of time at our disposal it seemed like a reasonable plan to stretch our legs. Without enough time to walk our usual circuit my mind turned to a 4.5 mile route that involves leaving the car park in the opposite direction to usual, and passes a couple of big ponds, which I was hoping would be snowed over and looking rather pretty.

According to the Met Office, were to enjoy wall-to-wall sunshine all day*. The reality was that it was snowing quite convincingly as we left the house, and even more convincingly as we left the car park. It didn’t last the whole walk, although in the final stages we got a number of flurries that seemed to be falling out of a blue sky.

Perhaps it was the falling snow that put everyone off, as it was as quiet as I have ever seen it (plenty of bikers, mind; just barely anyone out on foot). Even in the vicinity of the ponds, which is one of the honey-pots, we only saw two people.

A family did pass us later on, with two of the children pulling sledges. Only a few minutes earlier, as the track we were on started descending steeply, I had contemplated the fun that could be had there with a toboggan. A few moments after passing this family the children caught sight of the steepness of the track, let out whoops of delight, and started running up it, dragging the sledges behind.

We were out of sight by the time they reached the top, but we still heard the excited screams and whoops and they slid back down.

There were people around the Visitor Centre, although not many. In fact, the number of people was probably on a par with the number of huskies. Nine huskies can’t half make a racket when they get going, you know!

Of course, I took lots of photos, and here’s a selection of them:

Snowing as we set out



The smaller of the two ponds


Mick demonstrates that the snow isn’t very deep


The larger of the ponds (the bits that aren’t iced are where the smaller ponds flow into this one)


The cloud-factory at Rugeley, working its hardest to create more snow-clouds




Cold trees




(*I’m a bit distrustful of the Met Office this week after they were reporting latest observations at Heathrow on Wednesday afternoon as being ‘rain’. At the time the view out of the window told me that it was snowing quite heavily. If they can’t get reality right, what hope have they with forecasts?)


  1. Beautiful pictures! It sounds like a great walk.

    (If they can’t get reality right, what hope have they with forecasts?)

    Too true!

  2. Enjoyable pics and writing. I see from number three that you retain your penchant for photos of signs! Is this one going into your "signs" folder?

  3. That picture of Mick's finger is making me think. (Doesn't happen that often, so go with it, gently now)

    Did he stick his finger in the snow all the way to the bottom? Or is this a bit like the ducks on the pond - the water only comes halfway up the duck. If there was a muddy end to his finger I would have more faith in the picture.

    I think Mick was trying to make you believe the snow was only 'that' deep, wanting to see you plummet into a bottomless ditch full of snow.

    He's like that, y'know.

  4. PW - I'd like to claim a new-found artistic ability that has improved my photo-taking skills, but I think that it's just that snowy scenes lend themselves to making even snapshots look good!

    Conrad - The sign will make it into the 'signs' folder. Even though this one was technically correct, I did of course only include it in the shot was because it didn't appear to be correct. (Incidentally, I did like the one you sent on Christmas day - we all had a good titter at that one).

    Alan - I see your point! However, what I didn't include in the photo was the picnic bench next to which Mick was standing. He didn't have to stoop down to stick his finger in the snow (and not because the snow was 3 feet deep). Rather, he measured the depth of the snow on the picnic bench, which explains the lack of a muddy finger-tip (although I suppose the frozen ground would have also explained the lack of mud). I'm pleased to say that (on this occasion at least), I fell prey to no ploy to land me in a snow-filled pit!