Tuesday, 9 March 2010

The Broomway

The Broomway - an ancient track and byway which at one time was used frequently by local farmers and inhabitants of Foulness Island. Other than by boat this was the only route onto the Heads of the close group of small islands that make up this remote corner of Essex, an area that remains largely unchanged even today. The Havengore Bridge, which is manned by the MOD, is the route on to the island today but you will need an appointment to visit as this whole area has restricted access due to the MOD who use it as a firing range.
Wakering Stairs is the start of the Broomway and takes you out across the Maplin Sands heading north to Foulness Island. The very nature of the wide expanse of level mudflats means the tide comes in from afar very quick here and it is said lives have been lost by people using the track and being caught out by the flooding tide. A shortcut if conditions are right, used by sailors from the south heading into the River Roach or Crouch, or if heading south to the Medway or Thames, is to cross these shallow sands at around high water which can save a long passage out on the main of around 15 miles. 
For obvious reasons the bridge is not in operation while firing is taking place so check prior to trying to get through here in a boat.

Wakering Stairs, at the start of the Broomway

The Broomway runs parallel to the seawall out on the sands

The wide expanse of the Maplin Sands evoke mystery and calm

Follow the sand patterns south to The Isle of Sheppy on the horizon 

Havengore Bridge. Viewed facing west in Havengore Creek

Shivering Sands - WW11 towers just visible out on the Thames Estuary

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Sailing Barges

Some images of local Sailing Barges including Hydrogen from a visit to the quayside at Maldon. Its nice to see these wonderful old hulks in there mud births where you are able to get a good look onboard and wonder at all the huge tackle and spars as opposed to sailing alongside or past while on the river. Hydrogen can be seen on the blocks beside Cooks yard. It goes without saying that the amount of work these historical craft need to keep them in such good working condition must be huge.
Each time I come here there is always someone onboard one of the barges doing some kind of maintenance task

The Hythe

Planking nicely stacked

Hydrogen's Shoal draft is clearly visible here at 3 feet

SB Cabby and Thistle stern

SB Pudge in her mud birth, the last time I photographed Pudge she was in dry dock under restoration in Lawling creek

SB Pheonician her holds well sealed against the elements now.
SB Wivenhoes deck can be seen to Pheonicians portside

SB Reminder the all steel sailing barge