Saturday, May 29, 2010

Reach Lode - the bridge is in place

To cut a medium cycle ride short - the Reach Lode Bridge has had the span winched into place by crane. It was all done over Thursday and Friday - they got the crane delivered and built. This bit required some work to the road to allow the lorries carrying the bits of crane to get through. The central span has been lifted into position and the crane dismantled and all the bits (of crane) taken away. I am impressed with the pace of the work on this bridge.

It was Friday and at the end of the day I felt like a pootle in the sun - it was a pleasant afternoon with sun, blue skies and puffy white clouds. The weather forecast for the weekend looked a little unsettled so I though I ought to make the most of the nice weather before it changes. I took the rest of the jelly babies, left over from the previous day's cycle ride and a drink and "plodded" on my bike up and down the various farm tracks around Reach and Upware and Lode. I was not really intending to go anywhere - just to stay off the roads, not that they were busy in this part of the Fens - but generally ride around, nibble a few jelly babies and stretch my legs.

With the crops growing in the fields and the puffy clouds looking as if they are heading off for the bank holiday weekend I find that each time I cycle out I take a picture like this. The slightly blue-green of the crops, almost look like a sea.


Up by Swaffham Bulbeck Lode I have been trying to identify this tree that frames this picture of the barn in the distance.


So I have taken a close-up of the leaves in order to check what it might be in my Collins Complete Guided to British Trees. Of course when I type up my Post I am back at my computer and so I have. I reckon the leaves belong to the Black-Poplar (Populis nigra ssp. betufolia). The bark also looks similar to the pictures.


It was as I was cycling up from Reach along Straight Drove (but pretty rutted and so requiring quite a lot of concentration) that I realised there was not Yellow crane standing, instead there was a bridge! Here you can see it - personally I think it looks pretty good and in keeping with the flat countryside in these parts. I was really impressed with BAM Nuttall and the crane sub-contractors they must have worked really hard to get the crane built, bridge positioned and then the crane dismantled and trucked out.

I was listening to music as I cycled and had been listening to Marina and the Diamonds - which I really like. But for a change I had switched to some old school Pink Floyd and was listening to Dark Side of the Moon, so between the track ruts and the music it was quite surreal to see the bridge in place.


The same view, but zoomed in, I must check to see the clearance under the bridge for people walking along the banks of Reach Lode. From this distance there hardly looks to be any clearance unless walkers are diverted off the bank and then back on again. I wonder what they anticipate will happen when the Lode banks need repair by JCB - there does not look to be enough clearance for a digger under the bridge. Still something to look at the next time I am closer.


This shot, further along Straight Drove gives a better idea of the clearance. Perhaps a Digger will be able to drop down the bank and under the bridge.


As I cycled further up Straight Drove another photograph of the new bridge.


Although there is the promise of some rain over the weekend there was a bit of synchronised irrigation in this field.


On the Upware Road the colours in the hedge caught my eye. The whites and pinks of the blossom looked quite striking.


After cycling through Wicken Fen a view of the Reach Lode Bridge from CockUp Bridge on Burwell Lode. Yep- I think this is pretty good and well done to all those people pushing to open up access through the Fens for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. When cycling around the area it does strike me that the Fens do look to be a bit of a mono-culture environment. There does not seem to be the profusion of spring flowers (weeds) that I remember as a child. Mind you I lived in a different part of the UK. Hopefully this will open up a bit of the more diverse countryside for people to see.


I also noticed, whilst standing by CockUp Bridge, a boat coming down Burwell Lode - at this distance it looked is if it might be a little too tall for the footbridge - it did fit. There was a dog in the back barking at various sights on the banks as it passed. That is a pleasant way to see the Fen countryside as well, preferably with a cold beer whilst someone else "drives".


The last time I was along here (a day or two ago) this part of the Lode was clogged with weed, now it has all gone. I have no idea whether it was cleared or just moved out of the way as boats navigate the Lode. ind you I have not seen that many boats travelling along this Lode - it is a bit of a No Through Lode.


I have to say that the Fens are a great place for a potter on a sunny day - flat but some interesting tracks and sights to see. With the opening up of a few more routes it helps maintain the (my) interest levels. Lets hope that an alternate route through from Cambridge opens up soon.