|Staffordshire Day Road Trip|
After hearing about Staffordshire day in 2017, I decided that this year I would like to do something interesting to document my day. This idea germinated into a small project to take a Road Trip around the county taking pictures at the four furthest points of the County.
After consulting maps and traffic information planning my route with a few places in between. I also decided that I had to try and capture the sunrise on the day and if possible the sunset, although the weather was not promising for the evening according to all the forecasts.
Getting up very early, about 4:30am, the sky was clear and all was looking good, however as I travelled to the North of the county through Leek the fog descended. This is usually an interesting event for a photographer, but I was worried there wouldn't be any sort of recognisable picture visible. In the end by the time I had walked up the path to the Northern most point I was above the fog ! It was a beautiful morning up there and I managed to get several shots from that place of the fog, Moon and Sun.
Travelling back towards the next compass point which would be West, I stopped off in Leek to take a few pictures in the early morning sun. Then travelling on towards Stoke, I was driving past the high level view of Rudyard Lake which was beautiful. I also decided to call in to Mow Cop castle which by the time I arrived had just opened the car park and the sun was gleaming beautifully off the top of the walls. Then, at Stoke I called in to Gallery 116 at the Spode museum to pick up some pictures of mine that had been exhibited in their recent open photography exhibition. It was also a good opportunity to find a Cafe in the town and have some Oatcakes for breakfast.
Continuing on to the West I stopped off at Silverdale country park to take a very wide panorama shot of Stoke-on Trent and Newcastle. The next stop was unplanned, but the village pond in Madely looked beautiful so I stayed there for a few moments. Finally I got to Market Drayton and parked next to the canal near where the Westerly point is. Next to my parking spot there was a Swan nesting in a hedge next to someone's house, it completely ignored me as I took a couple of pictures, it's mate was nearby on the canal patrolling up and down. A short walk along the canal later I was at the West of the county. It is a fairly unremarkable and unmarked place on the Canal and the only way to know which was the exact spot was to consult the Ordnance Survey mapping app on my mobile phone.
After taking a few more pictures around Market Drayton, which were not in Staffordshire please don't write in :-), I headed off to the next point which would be East. This meant doubling back a little to almost where I started near Stafford, that was always going to happen at some point so it might as well be now. It gave a good opportunity to take a few pictures around the town, mostly in Victoria park where people were bowling and all looked very peaceful. Moving on I decided to go via Shugborough and take a picture of the house and the famous Essex bridge. After this there would be a couple of quick pictures on the way to the next point at Admaston reservoir and of some sheep in the fields.
Arriving in Burton Upon Trent I found what should have been the nearest point I could park at and proceeded on foot to the East. It turned out I walked about a mile further than I needed to, but it was such a beautiful day it didn't seem to matter at all. The Eastern point is literally in the middle of nowhere, it is the middle of the river at the end of a footpath through a few fields. For the picture taken at this point a long exposure technique was used, to smooth out the water and make the clouds more interesting as in the time it had taken to walk to this point the weather had started to turn breezy and slightly overcast.
Three down and one to go I walked back to the car and then started off towards the South. The first stop on the way was Lichfield as I knew I had to get an image of the Cathedral on Stowe Pool. Then, after a small pause for some food, the next destination was Tamworth, the town was quite full of rush hour traffic by this time and it was quite tricky to get somewhere interesting to stop. Finally I decided it was time to go straight to the Southern most point however, given the shape of Staffordshire, that was trickier than it sounds as the South end of the County is further South than the centre of Birmingham. An accident on the motorways also didn't help as this was causing quite a few problems on the roads.
After a much slower than expected journey I arrived near where I wanted to be and walked the fairly short distance to the right point. The Southern point in Staffordshire is actually a fairly unremarkable corner of a footpath in a lovely small wooded area. I took a few images of the right spot and then some more around the area. I mentioned before that I wanted to finish the day by taking a sunset picture, but unfortunately by this point the sky was completely covered and apart from a very brief gap in the cloud as I got back to the car, that was it for the sun and it even started to rain as I journeyed home.
The whole day was a lot of fun, and well worth the time it took to plan and travel around the beautiful County of Staffordshire, touching the edges of Derbyshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire as well. I am really happy with the four pictures (at the top of this article) from the North, West, East and South and I hope you enjoy them too, but also hope you decide to do your own road trip one day as all of the places I visited are definitely worth seeing.
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