The sun came out for us again on Wednesday and accompanied us on our second river walk. Again led by the lovely Vic we drove to where the River Don meets the Brun and started our walk from there. It was interesting getting an understanding of just how much work goes into altering the flow of the rivers. At many points along the river, 'steps' have been built to quicken the water's pace and it was fascinating how the water had so many different speeds in one small area. The changing flows help keep the water fresh and oxygenated which keeps it healthy for the fish and other wildlife.
I was also struck by how many different types of plant life grow by the river, all jostling for space and light. Some of these plants need to be removed ie Balsam and Knot Weed as they starve and suffocate all the other plants and trees but it was great to see such a wild and thriving habitat, so many colours and fragrances. I couldn't help imagine the tiny world going on under the huge Butter Burr leaves, hidden from our huge clumsy human feet.
It was great for us all to have time to meander along the river, capturing little snippets of film, learning new things and just taking in the atmosphere. As we walked we gradually tuned out the man-made world and everyone in the group became more and more adept at noticing interesting little details.
We ended our walk in Thompson Park and walked down to where the river starts to barrel under the town, such a different 'feel' to the earlier part of the walk, more concrete and metal, mud and rubbish. But there was still a strange kind of beauty in the clean lines and industrial elements and the river seems to flow with more intensity and purpose here as it is pushed into and under the town.
I don;t think we realised how far we'd walked until we made our way through town back to the Library, we all had achey legs and were ready for snacks!