camera icon, links to background image
Banburyshire Rambles Journal:

Venus, the Crescent Moon, and a Blackthorn Winter’s Dawn

In a frosty dawn I discover that the blossoming blackthorn portends a sting in the Winter's tail

Banburyshire Rambles Journal: ‘Venus, the Crescent Moon, and a Blackthorn Winter’s Dawn – Route map’, 27th February 2022
click for a larger image
– mapping courtesy of OpenStreetmap

Wednesday is the new ‘Sap Moon’, and right now Venus is the ‘Morning Star’: I decide to get out early as the two should be close together, sitting on the dawn horizon. Leaving the road at Weeping Cross I find the ground crunches beneath my feet – there’s a good frost just to add a little spice to what will be a clear, bright dawn!

Route: Banbury, Weeping Cross, Twyford Wharf, Oxford Canal, Banbury.

Metrics: Distance, 9.6km/6 miles; ascension, 65m/210ft; duration, 2 hours.

Slideshow controls:   ⏪︎ ⏩︎

Slides from the walk:

image thumbnail 1 image thumbnail 2 image thumbnail 3 image thumbnail 4 image thumbnail 5 image thumbnail 6 image thumbnail 7 image thumbnail 8 image thumbnail 9 image thumbnail 10 image thumbnail 11 image thumbnail 12

slideshow display image

All images in this blog post were created by Paul Mobbs, copyright as of blog date, and are made available under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike 4.0 International license. See the general copyright information page for details about reuse. For those who are interested, the original digital files for these, and thousands of other similar images are available to purchase under a non-exclusive license agreement. For more details please get in touch.

The sky is too bright to see Mars – sat equidistant between Venus and the Moon, lost in the orange glow of the dawn. Pity. I won’t get to see it again until later in the Summer. No matter: The spectacle is lovely enough!

When you ‘know’ the celestial mechanics of the sky, you know when you can go out and see a particular event. I wasn’t entirely sure about coming out this morning. Then again, I know that Venus and the last crescent of the waning Moon won’t be visible again for some time, so I decide to go anyway.

Watch the YouTube video created for ‘Banburyshire Rambles Photo-Journal’ No.2022/2: ‘Venus, the Crescent Moon, and a Blackthorn Winter’s Dawn’
Watch the YouTube video created for this post

Of course, given they’re rising so far south, there's really only one place I can go to easily see them – and once again I face the realisation that this view will be gone soon once they start the next phase of housing development south of the town. Even with the new LED lights, light pollution is still a problem when you're trying to view dim objects low in the sky against the dawn.

I last came this way at the end of September. What a contrast. Back then it was bright sunshine on my should with an ominous wall of black cloud coming towards me up the valley. Today’s southerly spectacle is an altogether more relaxed affair.

After viewing Venus and the Moon I press on towards Twyford Wharf for the dawn. Three horses in a field come over to greet and nuzzle me – all three standing close together, presumably insulating themselves from the frost.

It's Sunday morning, a bit after seven: The motorway is already noisy. Lockdown has ended!

Down at Twyford Wharf I sit on the old hump-backed bridge to wait for the dawn, which today should be rising somewhere over the top of Newbottle. As the sky brightens, the frosty flood plain, still with large reflective puddles from the recent storms, begins to shine. When dawn finally comes, shadows dart across the grass and then slowly shift in an arc as the sun rises higher.

Time to go home.

The low angle sun is highlighting the reddy-browns of the soil, and the still bare trees... except, they're not all bare! The blackthorn is in blossom! But with the flowers coming before the leaves, clearly we’re in for a ‘Blackthorn Winter’ – a cold sting before the proper onset of the Spring!

The Free Range Network logo
Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-NC logo