Category Archives: Bridges

Flying Over the Usk. 19th September

Walcot Visitor Moorings to Sydney Wharf Bridge 188

The moorings in Bath are either 24hrs or 48hrs, very little space to moor for 14 days anywhere other than down on the river. We needed another couple of days, so our current mooring wouldn’t cover us, we needed to move. Yesterday we’d walked down the locks and didn’t really want to start on them today, they’d take too long. So after breakfast we chanced moving to the 48hr moorings just before them that had been filled with hirers.

Just enough room to get by

At least one boat had come past us, we just hoped that they hadn’t been early risers and ascended the locks this morning. In front of the first of the two short tunnels was a pair of C&RT workboats, breasted up. From where we were it looked like the two widebeams were taking up all the width of the cut, but a chap walked towards us and waved us through. He was waiting for a delivery of stone for the towpath works ahead. Lucky we weren’t a widebeam and managed to squeeze past.

Pretty bridge

First glance at the moorings wasn’t hopeful, even the water point was occupied. But then as we neared there was one space and it was long enough, Phew!

Bath station

With model and sketch book in my bag we walked down towards the station, pausing at M&S to get a sandwich. I then waved Mick goodbye and climbed on a train to Newport, South Wales. I had glimpses of the river on the way to Bristol and then the train dipped down into a tunnel to cross the River Severn.

A metal dome each side of the line and a squiggle inbetween

I had a wait at Newport station as I’d caught an earlier train than planned, but it gave me time to look at the curvy station before Dan arrived. Dan is the writer and actor for A Regular Little Houdini and today we’d arranged a production meeting with Fez the videographer. Sadly Josh the director couldn’t join us today as his shooting schedule for Emmerdale is all out the window since a young actor was sacked.

Model on a Bara Bin, Fez and Dan

Dan arrived in his old camper van and he identified me by my blue Ikea bag containing the model. Three hours were spent discussing the show in depth. We maybe could have saved an hour of this if Fez had read the script before the meeting. There were long discussions regarding the water torture cabinet and my large model proved to be most useful.

Tall and thin

Dan had planned on doing a reading of the play for us, but Fez had another meeting. So until he was free again Dan and I headed down to the River Usk and Newport Transporter Bridge where a large portion of the play is based.

A stone base
A blue doughnut

I’ve spent days trying to fathom out just what parts of the bridge look like and now I was able to see first hand. £1.50 one way or £2 return, the camper van could go for free, but we decided to leave it behind, leaving the bridge uncluttered. We handed over our coins like excited kids.

Seaside

With the blue skies around us, wrought iron benches down each side and the control pergola it felt like we were at the seaside. I took so many photos, now able to see how the structure held together.

The dolly that crosses the Usk

Four large hinges on the stone bases anchor the legs. High above us a large dolly slides back and forth above the Usk with the platform that we stood on suspended by cables below. These are held firm by big blue doughnuts a detail I’ll use in the model.

The control, East or West
The pin that holds the bridge when it’s stopped

The two chaps on the bridge were very chatty and after our return journey one of them offered to take photos from the pergola for me. From there he could get better detail of the structure and he also took a few of inside the control room.

Crossing the Usk

What a wonderful elegant bridge, 113 years old. One of only six still operational world wide.

Great mud

The tide had gone out leaving the mud banks below very visible. The valleys eroded by the receding water needed photos taking and the old wharves rotten and broken with the obligatory shopping trolley were fascinating. Plenty of material for me to use.

Old wharves

We caught up with Fez at the university and Dan did a reading for us. I liked the play when I first read it and now with Dan’s voice and an authentic Newport accent it’s even better.

It had been a long day, but very worth while, especially to be able to go on the bridge.

Another of the bridge

Meanwhile back in Bath. Tilly had some shore leave, the railway is further away from the canal now and Mick managed to force the freezer drawer open. Since we defrosted it months ago, something had happened which meant the drawer had stuck, but with some persuasion using the mallet he got it moving again. Just a shame the drawer is still not coming out all the way, I really want my freezer back working before winter arrives.

0 locks, 0.5 miles, 2 trains, 1 camper, 3 hour meeting, 1 pear and beetroot salad, 1 flying bridge, 4 legs, 1 pin to hold it steady, 2 minutes there, 2 minutes back, 50 minutes each half, 1 very good play, 1 more in the pipe line, 2 adjustments, 1 freezer openable, 4 hours shore leave, 40 ft of mud, 1 happy writer/actor, 1 very good day.