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Report - Underground boating - Castle Moat Bristol 03/10 - Updated & extended trip! - May 2012

Discussion in 'UK Draining Forum' started by Styru, Mar 14, 2010.

  1. Styru

    Styru Admin
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    May 2012 - additional new report added - see below - now with added 'through trip'!

    ............................................................

    “Mummy, when can we have a boat like that?”

    And so rang out the first audible comment from the mouth of a small child.

    Being typical reserved Brits, most of the adults just chose to gawp, rather than comment.

    But I ask you, what could be a more normal amongst the Mothers Day crowds enjoying a sunny Sunday stroll than three grown men changing into wetsuits on the side of Bristol's floating harbour and inflating three of the most ridiculously small boats imaginable - two uber-cool Union Jack design ones (£9.99 Minehead seafront) and one that cost a whole two quid more from Ebay (but rightfully cost more because it had the word 'Explorer' emblazoned along it's sides)

    And so Captain Urbanity, Rear Admiral Spungletrumpet and Cabin-boy Styru set sail upon the River Avon.

    Casting off they skilfully navigated* (*yes, actually, the boats are meant to go round in circles like that – it's good to have 360 degree view of any dangers) past speeding river taxi's and killer swans round to the opening of 'Castle Moat'

    Probably not too obvious from it's title, but 'Castle Moat' used to be, er, well a castle moat actually - however in 1847 it all went dark for the moat when it was permanently covered to become another of Bristols almost forgotten waterways.

    Sadly, no pics of the entrance from me - I'm too 'cool and l33t' to be seen using a camera in public! (well, OK, that's not 100% true – it has more to do with the fact that I was desperately bailing out my boat with the tiny cup from the top on my flask at this stage :p)

    Once inside we made for dry land to sort kit, add air to slightly floppy boats, and take a couple of pics.

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    Before heading off down the beautiful stone built culvert.

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    After about 45 mins of paddling, at it's far end the moat meets the culverted river Frome – or rather it would do, had some mean civil engineer not put a wall in its way (although given the difference in levels it is probably a good thing that he did!)

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    Mooring the boats we turned south-west and followed the River (knee-high wading) for some distance before retracing our steps back towards its meeting point with Castle Moat, keen to push on we followed the Frome north-east along the length of the culvert, rejoining the outside world in a cutting picturesquely situated between a branch of 'Staples' (note to inflatable boat explorers – staples are best avoided) and the Salvation Army Hostel.

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    Having reached the Salvation Army we were faced with a tough choice, go in and demand soup, or head back to the moat.

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    (photography tip no.48 - always find a firm base for your tripod)

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    (Captain Urbanity looks for danger - all together now - 'it's behind you!' )

    The thrill of more boating took precedence and we headed back, stopping on the way to explore some new storm drainage that joined the Frome.

    [​IMG]

    Seen here, it looks like boring concrete pipe, but just beyond this was, er, well more concrete pipe, so having followed it a bit, we turned around and headed back to the moat, another lengthy paddle later and we were back on the Avon, and posing for photos/answering questions from bemused members of the public!

    A highly enjoyable way to spend a Sunday! - thanks for company my fellow nautical explorers, and thanks for looking all you land-lubbers!

    ...................................................................................

    May 2012 - additional new report added - see below - now with added 'through trip'!


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    #1 Styru, Mar 14, 2010
    Last edited: May 19, 2012

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  2. Danearthquake

    Danearthquake 28DL Full Member
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    Re: Underground boating - Castle Moat Bristol. 14/03/10

    I love your humour. Thanks for sharing this.
     
  3. Styru

    Styru Admin
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    Re: Underground boating - Castle Moat Bristol. 14/03/10

    Ah yes, but is it a Union Jack one - 'tis the only way to travel!

    Na! - if I'd gone for real humour I'd have included what the pretty lady with the pushchair said about my near-naked changing antics, but that will remain a secret between her, and my fantasies (oh, and Urbanity - 'cos he was there too - although he will be wiped from the personal version of my fantasy about her :p )

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    #3 Styru, Mar 14, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2010
  4. urbanity

    urbanity 28dl flâneur
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    Re: Underground boating - Castle Moat Bristol. 14/03/10

    Since LittleMike named it Titanic - I guess we should have dressed up a bit more formally for this one!

    "Nice Pants" Styru ;)
     
  5. J4M35_UK

    J4M35_UK MEDOTDOOTC
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    Re: Underground boating - Castle Moat Bristol. 14/03/10

    Yarrr! Me like.
     
  6. urbanity

    urbanity 28dl flâneur
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    Re: Underground boating - Castle Moat Bristol. 14/03/10

    Styru felt something else under his derriere 5 minutes into the trip, and for a while was under the impression that he was sinking. :p
     
  7. Styru

    Styru Admin
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    Re: Underground boating - Castle Moat Bristol. 14/03/10

    Bugger - I'd forgotten the 'Titanic' connection - I have an inflatable Titanic (and inflatable iceberg) at home that I meant to take :banghead

    Yep - 'twas some frantic baling there for a while :rolleyes:

    .
     
    #7 Styru, Mar 14, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2010
  8. Styru

    Styru Admin
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    Re: Underground boating - Castle Moat Bristol. 14/03/10


    :eek:
     
  9. Nelly

    Nelly Fat Fucker!!!
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    Re: Underground boating - Castle Moat Bristol. 14/03/10

    Great report, a chuckle from beginning to end, I need a boat access splore for the lolz, it may have to be the Camden Cats
     
  10. REEF

    REEF Getthegirlkillthebaddies
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    Re: Underground boating - Castle Moat Bristol. 14/03/10

    Underground boating rules!

    Top report.
     
  11. Styru

    Styru Admin
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    Re: Underground boating - Castle Moat Bristol. 14/03/10

    [​IMG]Thought I'd add this on here, rather that start a new thread.

    Castle Moat/River Frome, May 2012 update - Now with added 'Through-Trip'

    (A.K.A a few Mods dicking about)



    So I'm stood in an operating theatre - it's tense and silent - except for the beep-beep-beep of a monitor - just like in the best hospital dramas.


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    Actually, scrap that, rewind, I'm stood in an operating theatre, Vampire Weekend are telling the world what they think of the Oxford Comma at a slightly more than sensible volume, and the anaesthetist is telling a joke that is rather too blue to be coming from her mouth, when my phone buzzes, it's OT




    I'd already bought him one this week - talk about demanding :eek::

    So, fast forward an hour or two and I'm in Chaplins superstore (note to self - check trades description act - superstore? - I think not :rolleyes:) buying two additional inflatables.

    Says the checkout bloke - oh, if only he knew.

    But, at least he was right about the sun - it was glorious as I exited the store, glorious as I drove to Bristol, glorious as I drove past the suspension bridge, glorious as I parked, torrential rain as I texted the others - damn.

    And so, 15 minutes later myself, Dweeb, Speed and Oxygen Thief are stood under a tree in Bristol looking out at rain that you could probably swim through.

    As an aside, whilst waiting, wandering, and chatting we took a wander past the old courthouse:

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    By the time we had wandered around it 'Group Thug Security' - or whatever they are called were parked outside, which was a shame, because as we wandered past that inviting looking subterranean door (behind the chap at the lights) we noticed it was not secure.

    So, few minutes wait for matey to drive off, and we were back with torches to descend the tightest spiral staircase in history, into a lovely, but small, vaulted cellar - I didn't even get my camera out - but I'm sure Speed may pop a pic or two up.

    On exiting we were pleased to see that the security van had gone (I know it had gone, as there was now a police car, with 2 officers of the law, stood watching us, in its place)

    Clearly they were too busy, bored, apathetic or something, as they simply watched us exit.

    So, back to the car for boats, paddles, pumps, etc and 2 minute later we are walking along the river, loaded with kit - only a few paces behind the same 2 cops, who once again totally ignored us - despite the stuff we are dragging through Bristol - I do love the laid back policing style - granted we were doing bugger all wrong - but they must have wondered!

    Our launch point was Castle Park Ferry Landing on Bristols Floating Harbour (an 80 acre section of the River Avon, made non-tidal in 1809 to facilitate boat loading/unloading)

    A few quick blow-jobs later (is that the correct nautical term for inflating boats?) and we were afloat.

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    From here, it was a short paddle to the entrance to Castle Moat..

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    Retracing the previous route we paddled the length of the moat, to its underground intersection with the River Frome (well the Frome sits about 3-4 feet lower, with a retaining wall holding back the Avon)

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    Meeting of the Avon and the Frome - deep below Bristol - well the near meeting - bit of a level difference - the Avon (behind) is a couple of inches below the level of the wall that my fellow aquanauts are stood upon

    Again, retracing the previous journey we headed downstream along the Frome by boat.

    After a while the Frome takes a sharp, underground, right turn - and this penstock lies straight ahead.

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    The penstock holds back a body of water that sits about 3-4 feet above the Frome - hang on - that makes it level with the Avon! - time to climb over and explore further.

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    This lead to a long, low, tunnel, and so we were off again, after about 10 mins I hear Dweeb shouting about seeing daylight - which is nice, as there is barely enough headroom left to paddle!

    Exiting onto a dark enveloped River Avon, we find our exit point to lie between our original departure point, and the entrance to Castle Moat.

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    A dark pic I know (as it was now dark you see :p:) but you can see the less than lofty head-room!)

    (note to self, don't mention that Dweeb had asked "what do you reckon is down there?" as we paddled past it earlier)

    A nice little through trip.

    Now dark, the weather is calm and dry, as we paddle back down the Avon, along past the floating restaurants, under the bridges teeming with people heading out for the night, before landing at Welsh Back Ferry Landing, mere yards from our cars, and refreshingly close to a pub!

    Excuse the pics - all taken on a 12 year old 2.1mp Hewlett Packard point-and-shoot that is held together with sticky tape and bolts (literally) - )it's quite nice not to have the mild anxiety of keeping a DSLR dry occasionally :rolleyes:)

    But I though it would be nice to add a quick update.

    A word of warning for others that go - where the Frome turns right at the penstock the tunnel narrows - leading to a much higher flow rate - I ventured in, and it took a lot of frantic paddling (and some bad language) to get back to slower water - clearly this will be a through route worth investigating - but not at the tail end of the wettest month in years!​
     
  12. The Kwan

    The Kwan funksoul Brother
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    Re: Underground boating - Castle Moat Bristol 03/10 - Updated & extended trip! - May

    I would love love love to do this...amazing stuff.
     
  13. Ojay

    Ojay Admin
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    Re: Underground boating - Castle Moat Bristol 03/10 - Updated & extended trip! - May

    Superb :thumb
     
  14. Styru

    Styru Admin
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    Re: Underground boating - Castle Moat Bristol 03/10 - Updated & extended trip! - May

    I have Sirs reservation pencilled into the 'to-do' list :thumb
     
  15. Seffy

    Seffy Bally up lads!
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    Re: Underground boating - Castle Moat Bristol 03/10 - Updated & extended trip! - May

    Damn I need to get myself down there, no excuse not to really! Good work mate :thumb
     
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