*****Is going there and back to see how far it is.*****

Hi I am Jo…wife, lover, best friend and soulmate to Keith. Lover of all things to do with nature and the canals. I am passionate about the Waterways and its history.

I hope you will join me in my rambles and do please comment – I love to hear from and meet new people in blogland!

Life on the cut through my eyes.

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*****Stay safe and warm out there..*****

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

The Purton Hulks.

Hi Friends.

With it being so quiet here at Sharpness, it is so easy to sleep, so having watch "Saving Private Ryan", I enjoyed another wonderful nights sleep. I woke up at 7am and made us both a cup of tea which we drank in bed whilst listening to the silence. A Pigeon then started cooing and the silence was broken.
Paddy was clearly desperate for a wee, because no sooner he leapt off of the boat, he just had to go (poor boy). Marmite was still in her pit after celebrating her 4th birthday yesterday. After we and the pets had been feed, Keith started up the generator to charge the batteries for the day.
I made us a packed lunch and a drink for our walking adventure.
We set off down the towpath in search of the Purton Hulks, which everyone had been talking about to us. it was not long before we found a parting in the hedge where we could get closer to the estuary and there in front of us were the first of the Purton Hulks. The first to be photographed was Harriett.
Harriett is the last known example of a Kennet built barge and probably the last remaining vessel from over 100 years of boatbuilding at Honey Street, near Pewsey.

There is very little of Harriett remaining. In 2009 a scan was done of her hull. (CLICK).
All along this stretch of the estuary towards The Berkley Arms we saw different boats of all shape and sizes. There were wooden ones, steel ones and concrete ones. Yes I did say concrete, you will learn more further down the posting. There was something sad yet heartening about this graveyard.
A list of the boats beached at Purton. The beaching of a small fleet of semi-redundant timber lighters in the winter of 1909,grew to a total of 81 vessels, which were laid to rest to help to strengthen the nearby eroding canal bank. It is now known as the Purton Ships graveyard.
We stopped at the swing bridge and chatted to John one of the BW bridge operaters, who is usually at Patch Bridge as a sailing boat came through.
It was then onward into the tiny village of Purton to St John the Evangelist's Church which was built in 1874.
The window interprets the parable of 'The Good Shepherd' and looked lovely in the morning sunshine.
Awwwww photo of the day.
We left the village, walked back over the canal swing bridge and found our way back out on to the estuary.
Before we could settle down to some lunch, we had to make our way through a heard of cows with their calves. This bought back memories of my childhood, when I would help bring the cows in for milking. Of course what we did not realise that there was also a Hereford Bull in the field, so we made sure we gave him a wide berth, as we did not want to upset him whilst he looked after his girls
Some of the Purton Hulks are made of concrete and were beached their after they were used during WWII. Your thinking a boat made out of concrete, I know it sounds daft, but during the war steel was being put to other uses, so they built some of the boats out of concrete.
I sat and looked out over the estuary as I enjoyed the view. I was fortunate to see three Little Egrets searching for lunch and a Curlew.
F.C.B 61 was a concrete boat. She was built in concrete by the Wates Building Group at Barrow in Furness in 1941 ans beached in 1962.
On the way back we sat on top of F.C.B 61 and ate a packed lunch.
Out in the estuary lie the remains of the ARKENDALE H and WASTDALE H, which collided on the 25th October 1960 in thick fog. The WASTDALE H collided with the railway bridge, the ARKENDALE H was hit by a falling girders, the end result was they both caught fire and sank. You can see both ships laying side by side in the middle of the channel. Both boats were torn apart by explosives and so as we walked along the Severn we could see both ships laying together at peace. It is such a sad sight, knowing that five men lost their lives that fateful night.
The Severn Railway Bridge disaster, still is a huge part of the history of Sharpness. You can still see some of the remaining bridge parts in and out of the water, just down river from the ships.

The column where the bridge would swing to allow ships through.
A model of the swing bridge.
This is what the bridge would have looked like.
We enjoyed a morning a stunning views and history. It was so nice to sit alongside the estuary and enjoy the view and the peace and quiet. Now we are back on board our boat, I have to think about tonight's dinner and what we are going to have.
I then have the task of deciding what DVD to watch later when we lay in bed. Life is so stressful hahahaha. It has been wonderful to get away from what I see as annoying things going on in the boating world.

Chat soon xx

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