Saturday, 28 October 2017

Slight malfunction.....!

The last week of October and the colours of the leaves in the Wye Valley were about at the best they were going to be, Wye Invader Two set off from Sharpness to Chepstow then onto Brockweir. Thursday morning was set for the run back to Chepstow to video the Autumn colours in the Wye Valley, unfortunately 2 video cameras malfunctioned so there is no footage however the crew did manage a few still shots including the Severn Bridge in the dark - who in their right mind takes a narrowboat under the Severn Bridge in the dark!

(Disclaimer - Wye Invader Two crew always wear life jackets, carry full safety equipment and radios on the boat, have navigation and spotlights lights fitted and the Skipper is fully experienced with certification.)

Sharpness mooring
Wye Valley
Severn Crossing

Redbrook Bridge

Stacks Image 831

Saturday 8th April 1989, 10.00am. The river had lost more than a metre of water overnight, there was now just over 2 metres available, we cast off and followed the left bank through Redbrook Bridge then moved to the starboard side so as to be able to follow the channel close to the bank and squeeze past some large stones that were still submerged a few hundred metres upriver.

Monmouth was 3 miles ahead, as Wye invader moved up the river into the outskirts, just below the Sewer Works on the right, there were loose rocks formed into what looks like a fishing weir coming downstream from the right bank almost all the way across and stopping about 10 metres short of the left bank leaving just enough room for Wye Invader to squeeze past. A few hundred metres further upstream on the left bank is what was left of Troy Bridge, a 20 arch stone rail bridge, about half a mile ahead we could see Monmouth Road Bridge.

Stacks Image 846

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Brockweir bridge

The first full day we set about securing Wye Invader in her temporary mooring so she could move up or down with the tides. We had to wait for a high tide of about 9 meters at Sharpness and about 3 meters of flood water in the Wye Valley measured on the Water Level Gauge at Redbrook, backed up with 2 meters at Monmouth and 2 meters in Hereford, this would give enough volume and depth of water for long enough to get past and over the rocks and shallows on the corner below Redbrook before we moved up to Monmouth.

We had 2 weirs to pass over before Brockweir and Biggsweir bridge's, each weir lifts the water about 5 to 6 feet, it was is distance of about 2 miles and about as far as a 9 metre tide would take us, the rest of the way would be on the river flood.

High tide was at midday and the rain in Wales had filled the River Wye to over 3 meters above normal at Redbrook and 2 meters most of all the way to Hereford. We left Tintern an hour before the top of tide to be sure of passing under Brockweir Bridge, the floodwater and tide were over the quay, which meant we had plenty of draft and were not concerned about the Weirs, there was now only Biggsweir Bridge and 20 minutes later we cleared it with space to spare. Half a mile ahead, St. Florence Weir has disappeared under the flooded river, we moved from the middle of the weir to Port (left) side to avoid the large rocks sat on top of the Weir just to the right of centre.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Tintern Rail bridge

The next bridge on the River Wye in our series of navigating a 38m Dutch barge from Chepstow to Hereford through the bridges on the River Wye.

From Chepstow bridge we spent the next 3 hours feeling our way along the Tidal Lower Wye on a rising tide and we were almost at the top of tide, the tide times and heights are almost the same as Sharpness, the river has a deeper channel close to the right bank starboard side but anymore than 6.5 metres plus the air draft would be to much to pass under the rail bridge.

We intended to moor up on the right bank just above the bridge where we would be sheltered by the river bend, boats have moored there for many years and this was confirmed by Jim Simpson a local Boatman we had meet some time ago on Brockweir bridge.

Tintern Rail Bridge was about 200 metres ahead, as we closed on the bridge we passed through the right hand arch almost at the same time as we started to lose the tide, the weir just forward was losing its water as we put the bows into the right bank, dropped the starboard anchor onto the river bank and were left almost high and dry, we put a bow spring to a hedge 20 metres forward and turned off the engine.

We thought we might be in time to have a pint or two in the Crown Inn on the opposite bank in Tintern, however there was a party going on for some of the locals who I think were about to go Australia, Wye Invader’s engine and search light was something not seen too often and some of the customers thought we were a Russian trawler trawling for Elvers and expressed their displeasure.

However at first light, we had a knock on the hull and to my surprise we had HM Customs and Excise officer asking for permission to come aboard, I said what If I say ‘no’ and he replied “we are coming aboard anyway” so I said, “good morning” and lowered the ladder for access, the hold was searched and they left, then at 10.00am Radio Wales popped in from Cardiff to interview us.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017