Thursday, 21 February 2013

Cromford canal wharf

Today, we have had our new car for a week and I am now used to driving it.  We ventured out to Cromford to walk along the canal and see if we could photograph some of the little grebes (Dabchicks) which tend to be feeding there at this time of year.  They were present in small numbers and calling with their distinctive shrill warble.
About a mile along the canal is the loading wharf for the old railway that used to run up to Middleton Top.  The trackway is about two and a half miles uphill from the wharf and it is a recreational footpath now.  Any fit rail enthusiast would enjoy this walk.
At the bottom of the incline are two old guards vans.  These were the rear brakes and crew rooms for the old steam powered trains.  The guard seats had a clear window view of the front and  rear aspect of the train and there was a coal fired stove to keep the guard warm in winter.
The interior of these vans is in plumb and cream, with a white brake wheel in the centre.  The guard is the one who would signal the driver with a flag or lantern to identify if the rear of the train was safe and clear, especially when reversing into sidings.  Application of the brakes at the rear of the train prevented the carriages or trucks buffering the engine as it slowed down.  It could take up to two miles to stop an express train.
Back home, I was delighted to see that we have a visiting pair of greenfinches.  These birds, once common, are an extremely rare visitor now.  This pair has been around for several days and I would hope that they will stay over the summer.
I was delighted to see goldfinch and greenfinch feeding on the same feeder.

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