The day I went to Bangor – UPDATED

Last Friday I flew into Belfast, then took the train to Bangor to met up with my Dad at the marina.

Bangor is a lovely little place…

…with plenty to wander round and see…
…including some old life boats…
…fishing boats…
…and a mine sweeper.
I fell in love with the black guillemots who nest all over the marina.
They are totally habituated to people and and hang around like little penguins.
I’m glad that I had the chance to see Rose the seal (who habitually hangs around the marina)…
…and these well dressed minature schnauzers.
Bye,bye Bangor.

A Swell Time on the Swale

On Sunday I went out with my Dad on his boat. He moors at Swale Marina, which is at Conyer, at the end of a tidal creek.

This means that you can only leave and approach the marina around high tide, so it must make it a nice quiet place to moor.

Despite the weather forecast, it was grim! Overcast, spitting with rain and not a breath of wind. In the gloom I could quite imagine the spirit of Magwitch, or Conrad’s narrator in ‘The Heart of Darkness’ – both of whom exist in literature on these marshy, mud flats.

My suggestion that we retire to a nice, warm pub, was greeted with a hard stare, that reminded me of my late, Grandma Edith (Dad’s Mum). I’m glad we didn’t, as we saw lots of wildlife, including an owl in flight and two seals.

Still, we had everything a boater needs…

…including ‘George’, the auto-pilot…

…a fancy GPS system…

…and appropriate mug!

The ‘Master Mariner’ decided to do some fishing.

And caught this little bass.

One of the reasons we’d decided to go out on Sunday, was that there was due to be a Thames Barge Match on. I love Thames Barges, so it would have been a real treat. Unfortunately, the weather meant that it didn’t take place.

We motored all the way round the Isle of Sheppey – which meant we had to go under old Kingsferry Bridge, when it lifted on the top of the hour. The bridge lifts on a water powered hydraulic system.

Every where in the mud flats were great gauges, marking where boats had turned or gone aground. Some large containers ships come through these creeks, bringing materials, such a limestone, to the paper mills.

However, the majority of the boats are small fishing and pleasure craft.

All in all it was quite melancholy – perhaps because of the weather – but more because this is a dying landscape. Until the 1960s this was a busy working waterway.