Reflections in winter’s golden eye at Woodlesford

PIC: Simon Hulme
PIC: Simon Hulme
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IT’S perhaps easy once March arrives to get lulled into a false sense of security and believe that the worst of the winter weather is behind us.

But it appears this year, as is so often the case, winter has a sting in its tail and is reluctant to hand over the seasonal baton to Spring.

It’s certainly not been a good winter for runners, or those training for marathons. First they had to contend with the wind and rain and last week it was snow - with large parts of Yorkshire finding itself under a white blanket.

Despite enduring all that the weather gods could throw at them there have been the odd occasions when fine winter sunshine has prevailed, as this picture - which brilliantly captures a runner framed by watery sunlight near Lemonroyd Lock at Woodlesford, in Leeds - goes to show.

This tranquil spot is on the Aire and Calder Navigation and is within easy reach of those searching for a soothing escape from the hustle and bustle of urban life.

It’s also an area with a rich and fascinating history. The origins of the Aire and Calder Navigation date back to 1704 when the Aire was made navigable to Leeds and the Calder to Wakefield, by the construction of 16 locks.

It was built to connect Leeds to the Humber and the North Sea, and proved to be a lifeline for Yorkshire’s industrial heartlands and a century later the waterway was thronged with steam tugs.

But that was just the beginning. In the 1860s, those tugs were joined by boats which would soon become known as ‘Tom Puddings’.

Named after canal engineer Thomas Telford and their resemblance to a string of black puddings, the boats transported coal to the textile factories, forges and foundries which had by then transformed Yorkshire’s skyline.

The waterway still carries commercial traffic although today it makes its way through more serene and peaceful countryside.

An ideal place not only for a winter run but also a gentle stroll - whatever the season.

Technical Details: Nikon D3s camera, 70-200mm lens, exposure 250th at f5.6..iso 200).