The alarm went off at 7am and Richard bounced out of bed – not like yesterday! He was itching to go and was having breakfast at some unearthly hour. I was much more laid back though my tummy was churning a bit! Everything that had to be moved was moved – the shower looks like a market garden! We pulled away from our mooring spot at 8.20am for our lock out at 9.00am – of course we were far too early and had to sit and wait for ages for the first bridge to be opened. Gradually the bridge swung and we got our first proper view of Sharpness Docks – hmmm no comment! We were soon in the lock where we met our pilot, Bill. It was all slightly chaotic as even though we had had so much time waiting for the bridge we still hadn’t got our life jackets on or the anchor out.
|Muffin looking forward to his trip|
|Our first view of the Severn Estuary|
|Tide ripping under the wooden spit|
|Muffin on watch - or is he sleeping?|
In 1966 the cables supporting the bridge deck were spun from 18,000 miles of wire. The main cables are each made up of 8,322 individual 5mm wires. The bridge is 5,240 feet long, consisting of a 3,240 feet central span between the towers and the two 1,000 feet side spans. The towers rise to 445 feet above mean high. It was opened in 1966 and was granted Grade I listed status on 26 November 1999.
Once we were on the other side we appeared to be going through whirlpools but Bill said that it was the tide going out over rocks and uneven surfaces on the bottom.
The lower bridge (Second Severn Crossing) hove into view and, in my opinion, is more spectacular. There is a 25 span viaduct on the English side of 6,900 feet/1.307 miles, a 24 span viaduct of 6,814 feet/1.291 miles on the Welsh side and the bridge itself is a 3,110 feet/0.589 mile structure giving a total of 16,824 feet/3.186 miles. The central section, called the Shoots Bridge, is of cable-stayed design and the central span (between the bridge pylons) is 1,496 feet in length. Work on the new crossing began in 1992 and was completed in 1996. The path taken by the bridge is close to that of the Severn Tunnel which has carried the railway line beneath the river bed since 1886.
|Severn Crossing Bridge|
Muffin and I started to get a bit cold at this stage and both had to have jumpers! Meanwhile the pilot was in shirt sleeves.
|Ooo er - it's a bit big|
|I'm glad Mary H is tied up well on the floating pontoon|
We took a turn round the marina and felt very out of place! Still we had a very nice hammerhead mooring and close to the lock.
After lunch we took the bus into Bristol as we wanted to buy a hand held VHF radio. The bus service is very efficient and Force 4 was about a 20 minute walk from the bus stop in Hotwells. However the walk made my ankle hurt so we took the ferry back across to Hotwells and caught the bus back. In the evening we went to the new pub in the Marina called H & W. It is made out of old shipping containers and looks very smart. It was heaving but we managed to get a table outside and had a very nice meal.
And finally we no longer have a Cockapoo but a Marinepoo!
Sharpness to Portishead Marina