As a new year begins, many of us are facing up to the fact that we may have revelled a little too much over the festive period and that it's time to put December's celebrations - and all of those extra pigs in blankets, turkey cobs and Christmas tipples - behind us. With health on everyone's mind at the moment, what better way to see in a fresh start to 2017 than by getting outside and exploring one of Nottingham's lesser known treasures - its canal! I'd love to say that a desire to get outdoors and get active was what motivated myself and my girlfriend to embark on an epic 15 mile walk along the canal last week. In reality it was simply because we were unable to justify going out for yet another indulgent meal later that evening without doing a hefty amount of exercise first. So with a goal of burning off plenty of Christmas calories, we wrapped up warm, and headed out into the chilly winter air. Nottingham was shrouded in thick fog on this particular afternoon, giving the scenery a surreal look as we made our way from the very heart of the city to the canal. Before heading down to the footpath, we seized the opportunity to stop off for a quick peek at the bright lights of the train station's Line of Light Exhibition, and the Britain from the Air photographs that are currently on display. As we strolled out along the canal from the city centre, past the iconic British Waterways building, the city gradually melted away, replaced by open fields which had an eerie, mystical appearance due to the thick layer of fog. Accompanied by occasional joggers, canal barges, and plenty of quacking ducks and graceful swans, it was a refreshing change to take a soothing stroll through this uniquely British landscape. After wandering for a few miles along the canal, we were tempted to carry on to Attenborough Nature Reserve, or loop around towards West Bridgford, walking back along the River Trent's banks. But, with our legs beginning to wane, we left the waterways behind at Beeston Marina and headed to Beeston high street in search of coffee instead. Drying off from the fog, we took refuge from the wintery weather indoors and enjoy some tasty 200 Degrees coffee, and a thick wedge of freshly baked carrot cake. After warming up nicely, we dragged ourselves back out into the cold, and wandered back through the pretty campus of the University of Nottingham, up through the incredible Wollaton Hall and Deer Park. Finally, we staggered into a cosy pub, to enjoy our well-earned meal - with an extra serving of chips! We worked it out that we'd clocked up no fewer than 15 miles on our walk, but there's plenty of great waterside wanders that you can enjoy without having to go so far. Whether it's walking out to Holme Pierrepont Country Park and the National Watersports Centre, or taking on a portion of the Big Track loop, there's plenty of chances to walk, jog or cycle along Nottingham's waterways,  and enjoy a tour through the city's industrial past.




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