Posts Tagged ‘Reading’

CND Aldermaston March 2004

Friday, April 12th, 2024

CND Aldermaston March – On Easter Monday 12th April 2004 I walked from Reading to Aldermaston in a protest against the next generation of nuclear weapons organised by CND, the Aldermaston Women’s Peace Camp and Slough4Peace. Since the original march in 1958 the dangers of nuclear weapons have proliferated and we have seen many more years of lies and deception dressed up as security and national interest.

CND Aldermaston March

I hadn’t marched all the way from London though I had gone to the Trafalgar Square ‘No New Nukes’ Rally before the march on Friday 9th April and had walked with them tas far as Kensington. I had other business on the Saturday, but on Sunday 11th I cycled to meet the march at Maidenhead and walked the next four miles with them to their lunch stop at Knowl Hill before walking back to Maidenhead to pick up my bike and cycle home.

CND Aldermaston March
Pat Arrowsmith

I was up early on Easter Monday to catch a train to Reading with my wife and elder son where we joined the marchers who had spent the night in Reading as they were about to set off.

CND Aldermaston March

I’d spent the previous 3 days walking around ten miles a day carrying a heavy camera bag, and the weight of a Nikon with a solid lens round my neck was getting to be too much for me. I felt I couldn’t do another day with at least 12 miles carrying this load. So unusually my only photographic equipment for the day was a tiny Canon Digital Ixus 400, a 4Mp camera weighing around 230 grams.

CND Aldermaston March

It generally did a very good job, though the 2272 x 1704 pixel files were a little smaller than usual, and it only gave jpeg files rather than the RAW I normally used allowing much less post-processing. Despite having a sensor less than a tenth the area of my Nikon DX camera it was hard to tell a difference in the quality of the result. Of course I was taking pictures in good daylight – and under more taxing conditions the Nikon raw files would have been streets ahead. All of the pictures in this post were made with the Canon Ixus.

The main limitation of the Ixus was its sometimes very slow focus. The pause between pressing the shutter button and the camera actually taking a picture could sometimes be very long. Sometimes so long that I’d actually put the camera down before the exposure, and as well as the pictures it made I also returned home with quite a few pictures of random patches of road and grass from Berkshire.

But we walked all the way, with a stop at AWE Burghfield, the UK’s nuclear bomb factory and then on the Aldermaston, where we also walked halfway around the perimeter fence before getting a lift to the station.

You can see pictures from Friday’s rally and the march on Sunday on My London Diary as well as many more pictures from Easter Monday.

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Loddon & Thames

Thursday, July 27th, 2023

Loddon & Thames: Eight years ago I published an account of a walk I made with Linda and Sam from Winnersh Triangle to Reading, not by the rather boring direct route of around 4.5 miles but along two of Berskhire’s rivers, the Loddon and the Thames. Here I republish te text in full, though the original is still on My London Diary, which also has many, many more pictures for those who are interested.

Loddon & Thames

Winnersh Triangle to Reading. Mon 27 Jul 2015

Cows next to a footpath by the River Thames

Winnersh Triangle sounds like a dangerous place to go, a new halt (hardly a station with a platform only a foot or two wide) on the Waterloo to Reading line that opened in 1986. It’s lightweight wood structure was designed not to put too great a load on the Loddon Viaduct on which it hangs, though there is a ticket office at ground level, closed when we arrived.

Loddon & Thames

Mostly Winnersh Triangle is home to company men and the companies they work for in what the web site describes as “an 85-acre, mature business environment” between the A329M motorway, the rail line and the River Loddon. The web site says it’s a place where “everyday things become exceptional and exceptional things happen every day“, but very little seemed to be happening on the day we went there. It didn’t look like a place where anything of interest ever happened, and its big selling point is that you can be at Heathrow in 30 minutes.

Loddon & Thames

We took a quick look, didn’t like it and headed south under the railway to walk along the Reading Road to Loddon Bridge, joining a footpath that led north beside the River Loddon under the railway and motorway. You’ve probably never heard of the Loddon, but its a sizeable tributary of the Thames, that often gets too sizeable for its banks, flooding nastily. A man in council hi-viz who was checking the river gave us a 20 minute dissertation on this and related matters before we all escaped, though I’d wandered away taking pictures after the first five.

Loddon & Thames

Fortunately the river was fairly low or we might have been paddling or swimming for the next mile or so, before the path veered away and climbed to a road and we found ourselves briefly in suburbia. Then we came across a large BEA twin prop plane, its presence soon explained by a sign ‘The Museum of Berkshire Aviation’. It was closed which saved us from having to decide if we wanted to be enthralled by “Berkshire’s dynamic contribution to aviation history.”

You can find out more on the museum web site, which includes a picture of a rather dinky little ‘Miles Pusher’, which was “built by F. G. Miles under protest and therefore never flew.” Miles went bust in 1947, and Handley Page took over the designs, accounting for the Handley Page Herald turboprop standing outside. Miles from 1942 had been designing an experimental supersonic jet aircraft to fly at 1000mph, but the Air Ministry in 1946 cancelled this, deciding only to build it as an unmanned rocket-powered scale model which achieved controlled flight at Mach 1.34 – 1020mph. The design of the Miles M52 informed the later English Electric Lightning which I saw at the Farnborough Air Show in the early 1950s and could out-perform anything from that era.

We didn’t hang around, though Sam looked up a few things on his mobile and we photographed the Fairey Gannet out the back before going along the footpath and down to the river to continue our path through rural Berkshire alongside the river to Whistley Mill Lane.

This leads to a ford over the Old River, still a stream of the River Loddon, and unless you are driving a Land Rover or something larger, its probably best to turn around and go back. The level markers were at 2 feet, but fortunately there is a footpath to a footbridge around 60 yards to the south which we crossed, taking us to the Lands End pub, which might have been a good place to lunch, but we had brought sandwiches.

The next mile or so took us through the Charvil, a suburban fringe of Twyford, and with some difficulty across the A4 to Milestone Ave, a narrow lane with some 1930s development on the east side for the first half mile or so. Just before a bridge over one of the minor arms of the Loddon, a footpath leads off to the River Thames. We’ve previously walked along the Thames path on the opposite bank, which we came on to a mile or two later as it crosses the bridge at Sonning.

Sonning is home to Uri Geller

We took a look inside St Andrew’s Church there (and were given a copy of what must be one of the most lavishly produced church magazines in the country) and briefly explored the grounds before taking the path from the churchyard to rejoin the Thames path, walking along this into Reading for the train home.

Many more pictures from the walk on My London Diary.