Sunday, 7 August 2016

There Are No Firm Rules - Platform Residency - Walking The Blue Loop

8 miles
Start: Sheffield Basin
Time: 16:00
End: The Riverside (Public House)
Time: 20:05
Direction: Anti Clockwise

The Blue Loop is a continuous loop of waterways and riverside walkways in the heart of Sheffield, made up of The River Don and Tinsley Canal. It travels for 8 miles from the city centre and flows close by the communities of Burngreave, Attercliffe, Darnall and Tinsley.

The walk was made up of two distinct parts -

The Tinsley Canal section was a traditional towpath walk, starting from Sheffield Quays - a developed public area full of shops and cafe's, and walking east through an ever post-industrial landscape, of demolition sites, empty warehouses and industrial units, under the M1 and ending at the confluence of the Tinsley Canal and the River Don. Along the fishermen-dotted way, the towpath provided us with traditional summer fruits - blackberries, raspberries and some nearly ripe apples as well as the common wayside greens - dock, balsam, fireweed, nettles, etc.

The westward return route traced the River Don, back into the City Centre along a signposted civic route - The 5 Weirs Walk. The Five Weirs Walk is an 8km path from Sheffield City Centre to Meadowhall along the banks of the River Don. It connects to the Sheffield and Tinsley canal towpath, the Upper Don Walk, the riverside path to Rotherham and the Trans Pennine Trail. As with the Blue Loop,the 5 Weirs walk has an associated "friends of" group set up to manage and maintain the route - The Five Weirs Walk Trust Ltd is a registered charity set up in 1986, with a primary aim of opening up the 7.5km of River Don to public access through Sheffield's East End. 

This route was significantly different to the pastoral/post-industrial feel of the canal section. The easternmost start of the walk takes you through the faded 1980's leisure/retail-utopia of the Meadowhall Shopping Centre and from there, the route consistently ebbed and flowed, back and forth - away from the waterside into the urban hinterlands of Sheffield's outer city centre ( where there was no riverside access) - and then back to the civic-constructed waterside paths. Ultimately, we were stopped in our tracks by a gated, closed section - due to the time of the evening. 

No way forward in hours of darkness.

no way forward in hours of darkness

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