Camping: Kingsbury – Easter 2016

blog 1
Our posh new tent (pic: Ian Wordsworth)

It’s been a long while since I had chance to update anything on the blog, and I have a little bit of catching up to do. So I’m going to start with our very brief sojourn into Kingsbury at Easter, when we tried out our lovely new blow-up tent.

blog 2
Ian, blowing up the posh new air-bed (pic: Diane Wordsworth)

We were going to buy a trailer tent, and that’s what we were researching when we saw our first blow-up tent … and we were smitten, and the poet didn’t want anything else. So we started to save up and we bought a Vango Airbeam Capri 500XL.

Easter was our first chance to try it out and with things going on back home in Birmingham and us wanting to be not too far away, we decided to go along to the Camping & Caravanning Club site at Kingsbury Water Park in the Midlands. We’d discovered the site on a walk here earlier in the year, and decided it was so lovely, it was as good a place as any to start. And while we were there, we joined.

blog 3
Our posh camping pantry (pic: Ian Wordsworth)

We arrived quite late on the Friday afternoon (Good Friday), having dropped off on the way to visit the poet’s parents in Doncaster. So we let my dad know we’d arrived and we took advantage of a chip wagon that visited the site at 6pm … I don’t know, our first camp of the year and we had fish and chips for tea on the very first night!

The tent comes with its own pump, which has “inflate” and “deflate” valves on. Because it inflates/deflates all the time, whether you pull the pump up or push it down, the tent was up in no time. The poet used it on our deluxe model double air-bed too. It was harder work but did the job nicely.

The first night we were absolutely frozen. Bad weather had been forecast for the entire weekend, along with very high winds. In fact, the day before we travelled, my dad rang up and asked if we really wanted to do it this particular weekend. But we knew that if we didn’t, then the first time would have to be another time anyway.

blog 4
Birmingham and Fazeley Canal (pic: Ian Wordsworth)

The next day we went to visit my parents, and my dad came back to see the new tent. He loved it and wished he could still do it. After we dropped Dad off home again, we headed back to the site via our new favourite shop – Go Outdoors. I’d located a branch on the Kingsbury Road, so it was ideal for us.

There we bought some gas canisters and a gas fire, which operates on just one canister at a time. These canisters click in really easily and are nothing like the old gas bottles you had to fiddle with when I was a kid. We also bought a brand new pantry as the table we’ve had for a while was getting a bit cluttered.

Saturday night was considerably warmer, but only because (a) the wind had dropped temporarily, and (b) we left our thermals on. But more bad weather was on its way, and we’d even heard a whisper of snow.

blog 5
Birmingham and Fazeley Canal – and cover image for Twee Tales rebrand (pic: Ian Wordsworth)

Sunday morning dawned a little brighter than previously, and we managed to fit in a short walk to the water park. We’d already seen most of it on our previous walk, but we wanted to go back to the hides, see the birds, use the poet’s spotting scope and take a few more pictures.

It looks nice and sunny, but that white sky reveals how cold it really was.

blog 6
Rufus and Diane, Birmingham and Fazeley Canal (pic: Ian Wordsworth)

The walk to the bird hides goes along the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, so the poet took a few more pictures there, including the one above that was used for the new cover of Twee Tales.

With snow forecast, though, we decided to de-camp a day early and head home. We’d had a great time and could hardly wait until the next …

Advertisements

Walk: Kingsbury Water Park

IMG_4379a
Teasel, Kingsbury Water Park (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Kingsbury Water Park in the West Midlands is on part of my old stomping ground. It’s about half an hour from my parents, and as we were visiting them on Saturday, as we were early-ish, and as the weather was dry and mild, we decided to drop in on our way home.

We paid £3.50 to get into the car park … eventually. Both we and the person in front struggled to get the machine to accept all of our coins, and both of us also dropped money on the floor. We thought this was quite bad as, if you drop your money, you have to reverse so that you can open your door to reach it again, and if there’s a queue of people behind … We also thought there should be some kind of help facility.

First of all we parked right outside the visitor centre to pick up a map of the park, which is around 620 acres. And that cost us 50p. Then, when I asked her where was the best place to park for the bird hides, she said we could go out of the main entrance, in through another entrance, and park there instead … but we’d have to pay our £3.50 again.

IMG_4375a
Echills Wood Railway, Kingsbury Water Park (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

While we understand that these places need to charge, and the park is quite well-maintained, we did think this additonal parking fee was a bit unfair. Why not give us a token so that we could use it in the other car park? Why not have one car park fee that covers us for several car parks owned by the same organisation?

Anyway, we stayed where we were, parked in a more suitable place, and walked the extra bit to get onto the path for the bird hides, first pausing to eat our picnic in the car.

This path took us through the Echills Wood Railway, which is currently closed for essential maintenance, and on through the woods, under the motorway, and around several of the different lakes.

IMG_4415a
Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, Kingsbury Water Park (Picture: Ian Wordsworth)

Within about half an hour, with stopping for pictures, etc, we were at the first of the bird hides and the poet was able to set his telescope up.

We were rewarded with, amongst others, a cormorant, a little egret, lots of pochards, a pair of golden eye, some great crested grebe, plenty of coots and ducks, a shoveller, and a beautiful kingfisher (sorry, he was too far away for a photograph).

There are 3 hides along the hides path, all very clean and well-maintained. We were the only ones there, so I was able to let the dog off his lead while we were inside – dogs are allowed all around the park, but they are supposed to be kept on leads in the bird reserve part of the park.

IMG_4388a
Cormorant, Kingsbury Water Park (Picture: Diane Wordsworth)

On our way back to the car park we found ourselves beside the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal, where the poet was able to take some pictures of boats and locks.

Because of the time of year, by the time we were almost back at the car park, the light had dimmed considerably. It was gone 4pm and there was a storm coming in.

Incidentally, I’m very aware that pictures can take their time uploading on some readers’ connections, which is one of the reasons I don’t share very many photographs following a walk. Let me know, though, if you’d like to see more. I do try to scatter them throughout other posts over the year, but sometimes it’s nice just to have a photo-blog.

MapMyWalk
MapMyWalk recently updated on my phone and I wasn’t sure what had changed … until we started our walk. The path was shown against a plain grid, instead of against an OS-type map thing, and I was worried it wouldn’t work.

However, when I went to share it on Facebook, it showed the map no problem. So I need to look into that.

Here, though, is our walk. We walked 3.48 miles and burned 455 calories.

kingsbury water park mapmywalk