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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Purton Barge Graveyard

 

This morning Jo and I set off for a walk along the towpath to Purton to find the barge graveyard, which we soon did. It is quite amazing seeing the rotting hulks. There is a footpath that wends it way amongst them, with plaques at each one name the boat, when it was built and by whom, and when it was abandoned there. They were dumped here to form a protective wall against the river from eroding the banks of the ship canal. There is a website which describes all about them.

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The following picture taken from one of the concrete barges and is looking down the river towards Sharpness, and the wall jutting out from the left is the old arm of the canal, which is where we walked yesterday.

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This picture is of the 2 tanker barges which collided and crashed into the railway bridge in 1960, the resultant explosion from the ruptured gas pipe in the bridge,which was ignited by the damaged electricity cables, also ignited the petrol in one of the tankers. 5 of the 8 crew lost their lives. The bridge was dismantled in 1967 and parts of it were sold to Chile, where it is now. There is also a description about this accident on the same website as the barge graveyard.

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This is inside the small church at Purton. The organ on the right hand side is fairly new, but I noticed that the tallest pipe in the centre had to be chamfered to fit against the roof! Someone didn’t get the measurements right.

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We took a packed lunch with us and on our return trip we stopped off on one of the concrete barges and had a picnic lunch watching the birdlife in the estuary.

Keith.

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