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Down Under

by wilvir

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"Take only memories, leave nothing but footprints"

Chief Seattle (1786–1866) leader of the Suquamish and Duwamish Native American tribes

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Asides - Telfords Bridge

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1. The mighty Thomas Telford.
2. Under Over Bridge showing the chamfered stonework.
3. Looking along the parapet you can see the 'sag' in the middle.
4. This drawing shows a sixteenth century eight-arch bridge in the background, which was irreparably damaged by ice in 1818 and replaced by Over Bridge shown in the foreground.

While we were moored in Gloucester Dock when we first arrived on the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, I took a walk south along the west bank of the river Severn through the Alney island nature reserve to explore what used to be. I particularly wanted to find 'Telfords Bridge' (more formerly known as 'Over Bridge').

This innovative bridge design was built by Thomas Telford based on a 1768 design, by a French architect, of a bridge crossing the River Seine near Paris. Gloucester Council considered iron not dignified enough for the gateway to the town and asked Telford to use stone instead. The arched stonework was chamfered to ease the flow of high floodwater. The excellent condition and quality of the stone-masonry today is testament to the exemplary. skill of the artisans who built it.

On completion in 1829, when the supporting timbers were removed, the bridge parapet sank ten inches and the bridge was closed to gauge any further settlement. After two years the bridge had shown no further movement and opened to in 1832. It was finally closed to traffic in 1974 and now serves as a quiet footpath over the River Severn, sandwiched between a railway bridge to the north and the Over causeway dual carriageway to the south.

It is the oldest large span masonry bridge in England and deserves to be seen in its retirement.
5th Nov 2012, 23:51   comments (0)

All Hallows' Eve Begins

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31st Oct 2012, 18:58   comments (5)


1. Looking NW across the river severn high water flood plain. Just before I took this photo thousands of starlings had just settled on the ground beyond the water in the foreground.
2. The Gloucester and Sharpness Canal stretches away to the south and on to Shepherds Patch.
3. Frampton-On-Severn's Church of St Mary, circa 14th century, on the east side of the canal.
4/5. The churchyard of St Mary's.

Leaving Quedgeley last Thursday we continued south to Saul Junction. After servicing the boat as well as taking on coal and fuel we tied up south of Fretherne Swing Bridge just west of Frampton-On-Severn.

Over a period of three consecutive afternoons since, while out with Gunner, I've been treated to the sights and sounds of a murmuration of starlings in their thousands wheeling in the fading light of late afternoon; here the canal overlooks the river severn high-water flood plain to the northwest of Splatt Bridge. And, with the river shimmering in the distance and an ever changing palette of colour painting a big sky canvas and the sun descending towards the horizon, there was nothing more I could have wished for that would have bettered natures landscape artistry.
31st Oct 2012, 18:23   comments (1)

Day Becomes Night

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As sunlight fades below the horizon, moonlight casts its own beauty across the landscape above Frampton-On-Severn.
26th Oct 2012, 19:38   comments (0)

Freedom Borne of Sacrifice

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Please remember the unselfish sacrifice of those who didn't come home from their war and honour too those families, survivors and victims whose like courage, stoicism and pride lives on as an example to us all today.

Buy everyone you know a Poppy to wear and support the tireless work of the British Legion. It is an insignificant price to pay for the overwhelming significance of the price they paid - there are no others so deserving of the word heroes.
24th Oct 2012, 19:04   comments (0)

Same Place Different Days

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23rd Oct 2012, 17:16   comments (2)

A Natural Wonder

1. On the rise (mid photo you can see the approaching swell of the bore across the width of the river).
2. The crest of the bore reaches the top of the slipway.
3. The tide rises up the slipway.
4. The river is now about to broach the far bank.
5. I had been stood forward of the tree in the centre.
6. Flooded water meadows (the river is just off to the right).

For the past two mornings I have walked down to the River Severn to meet the incoming tide and stood in awe at the roar of the Severn Bore approaching and the sight of this mighty river fast rising to top-out at high tide.

I have to thank Barry and Pat for allowing me to watch this spectacular occurrence from the privacy of their slipway. As Barry said when I first approached him, 'If you've got the courage to stand on the high bank just to the right of the slipway as the bore approaches you'll get your feet wet'. So I did just that and watched the crest of the bore break twenty yards in front me as it rose above the bank and ran up the slipway like an approaching tsunami. I stood rooted to the spot trying to focus my camera on this natural wonder as it spilled over, swirled around my feet, and fell back down the bank to rejoin the main flow. Both awesome and scary.
As the river continued to rise, what was once my sanctuary quickly became a small island as the river overflowed the bank and began flooding where I was stood. The slipway was now underwater so it was time to retreat to higher ground as the river continued to rise, inundating the water meadows just upstream.

I've seen the bore on tv, but to see and experience this force of nature first-hand was breathtaking. Once the initial surge of the bore had passed, the power and increasing speed of the rising river, now flowing in the wrong direction, was incredible to watch and truly a sight to behold. Huge uprooted trees sped past heading upstream to Gloucester as if they were matchsticks.

Afterwards, walking back to the boat this morning, I pondered on the remarkable scenes I had just witnessed, and outwardly smiled to myself at the pleasure of being there and seeing what is one of the natural wonders of the world. It's just a shame the photos I took don't do it justice at all.
18th Oct 2012, 16:09   comments (1)

Sunset Over the Severn

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18th Oct 2012, 00:07   comments (0)