Monday, 21 March 2016

God its been a while!!!

Yes its been too long since I last sat down and wrote a Blog post. Time seems to just fly by, I thought you were supposed to be bored when you had retired, I am far from it and the days are just not long enough.

Well today, Biffy and I set off on a nostalgia walk. For those of you who are not aware who Biff is she is my beautiful Jack Russell terrier and my new best mate. She is just 18 months old now and I love her bones.

Here's Biff.

We went to see my old stomping ground in Aylestone, as a kid I spent most of my youth around this area,fishing, egging etc it was a wonderful place to hang out. I had made the odd trip back but not for many many years, so off we set to show Biff my old haunts.

I have to say it has changed in many ways, the litter and dog mess was the first thing I noticed, why? I went and looked at "The Showcase" a section of the river that met the Grand Union canal. It was unrecognisable to when my Uncle Ray and me fished here when I was a fourteen year old. It was overgrown and looked only half the size it did fifty plus years ago.

The Showcase.

Ray used to sit on the left tight to the bridge and I was on the right, we baited a swim in the middle and both cast to the it. The Roach we caught were exceptional, the fishing was excellent, no one fishes it anymore. It is shallow and so overgrown its almost impossible to do so.

This is where I used to fish from.

The old Roman Packhorse Bridge can be seen from the first image of the Showcase, here is another. It is fascinating how it was built to allow folk to stand to one side when horses were crossing. The bridge dates from the 15th century, with later additions and alterations. It was built to provide a dry route for horses laden with packs on their backs to safely carry cargo across the swampy ground of the river floodplain.

The arches of the bridge.

Walking across the bridge bring us to what was locally known as the "Frying Pan" a small area of water formed under one of the arches on the right of the bridge. I remember catching a small Perch here on my bare hook as I was setting my float up, a feat never to be repeated. Again the frying pan is overgrown and does not resemble the looks it did back in the day, but I am pleased to say it is still there. Maybe one day funds will be available to make this area beautiful again. I hope so anyway.

The Frying Pan.

Here are a few more images of the River/Backwater and Flood relief before we move on.

Flood relief.

Moving along to the Grand Union canal, I remember Uncle Ray telling me there was a Pike in there that was that big it had to go down to the basin to turn around, how this fired my interest in fishing, I was hooked for life.

I wonder if that Pike is still in here!!

Kings Lock bridge, a well known landmark along the canal.

The Lock House here no longer belongs to the waterways but is privately owned and is open at certain times during the Summer months as a cafe.

As we continue along the canal we come to a place called "The Pylon Hole" for obvious reasons. This is where I was amazed at a fish caught in the backwater when I was fishing the canal, some friends of mine shouted me to look at a fish one of them had caught. I ran across to the wooden bridge that they were fishing from and saw a wondrous site, it was a Gudgen and was huge, we just stared at it for what seems ages, this was a huge fish, well it was compared to the Gudgeon I had caught from there. If you asked me at that time how big this fish was I would have said at least three pounds. It was a few years later that I learned that the British record weight for a Gudgen was 4 ounces and  4 drams. It just shows how the young mind works aye.

The Pylon Hole.

The site of the capture of the huge Gudgeon, you can see the concrete base of the wooden bridge.

There is a place along this stretch locally known as Peewit Hollow, it used to be a mass of Lapwings/Peewits in Summer and to watch this wonderful flyer was a real treat, we would look for the nests and watch the chicks being reared. Today it is a sad reflection of our time, if you are lucky you may see a dozen birds at best.

Peewit Hollow.

Hmm, might nip into town Lol.

Further along we come to a new road bridge, I say new its probably at least twenty five years since it was built. It used to be a single lane road, it is now a three lane road leading to the M1 and the Fosse Park shopping centre. This part of the canal was a great spot for Tench and I remember once sitting under my brolly during an horrific thunder and lightning storm. That was bad enough, but in those days I has a 14 foot metal Apollo fishing rod. Not the best idea to have it up in the air during a storm.

Anyway, back to the new road bridge, why do people want to write graffiti over everything?

New Road Bridge

We head towards a place called Glen Parva, about as far as I used to travel in those days along the canal. This is a lovely stretch as you will see from the images.

We had a chat with the only fisherman we came across and reminisced about days past and how good the fishing used tho be, he had caught three small Roach. After fifteen minutes or so we wished him well and headed back.

I never like to return the way I have come so we crossed the bridge and headed for The Great Central Way, an old disused railway line, now used as a cycling/walking track, nice and flat walking, just like the canals.

The Great Central Way.

Back at Aylestone and the Black Horse, or as we called it the Black Oss. I remember many a time when me and Uncle Ray would pack up fishing and head to the Oss, he would go in the bar and meet up with his mates while he left me out in the yard looking through a bob hole with my Vimto and Crisps, so many great memories with Ray who was my hero and a great fisherman. We nipped in for a quick half and a bowl of water for Biff and sat in the bar, even though she was under age.

I had a great day showing Biff where I used to hang out, not sure she was too impressed with what I was saying, but I do know this, we had a great time today.