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Report - Portland Breakwater (aka Chequered) Fort - September 2011

Oxygen Thief

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#1
Explored with Styru and Markymark.

Well, we met up bright and early, sorted the kayaks out...

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...and made our way over to the Island of Doom aka Portland.

Not long after we were in the water heading towards... a fecking big ship... and we were told to move in no uncertain terms. So on we went, not wishing to become a maritime statistic, before the explore anyway.

Getting out to the fort was easy enough, the tide was quite neutral and the wind was behind us. We were there soon enough, landed and boats ashore.

Some history from English Heritage...

A sea fort situated on the Outer Breakwater of Portland Breakwater. Construction started in 1868 and was completed in 1875. The guns were added in 1892. The fort is circular in plan and was designed by Captain E. H. Steward of the Royal Engineers and is constructed on a 200ft diameter ring of stone laid on the seabed. The main floor comprises gun rooms and ports of 14 heavy guns. The roof was originally designed to support two iron turrets for two guns each, but these were not installed. Below the gun floor are the shell and cartridge stores and engine rooms. The fort has its own harbour and ancillary barrack buildings. In 1892 seven 12.5-inch Rifled Muzzle-Loading (RML) cannons were installed. These were replaced in 1907 by two 6-inch breech-loading (BL) guns and two 12-pounder quick-firing (QF) guns. During the First World War it was armed with two 6-inch breech-loading (BL) Mk. VII guns in addition to the 12-pounder guns, and coast artillery searchlights (CASL) were added to the fort. In 1940-41 the fort was recommissioned and operated as an examination battery. It was reduced to care and maintenance by February 1945. The fort was abandoned in 1956.
It really is an amazing place. The wood is somehow more intact than the metal, maybe that's the salt at work?

The first internal view...

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A shell lift...

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Crazy spiral staircase...

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In the basement levels...

hundreds of glass tubes?...

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Fuel and / or water tanks...

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Moving on, more shell lifts....

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A couple of shots from the circular corridors...

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After a few hours we finished inside and took a quick look outside...

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Impressive. Also this...

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...well, I've not seen cannon that big, especially not just dumped in the sea like that. Blown away by the whole thing.

The journey back was through the chop and into the wind and maybe took twice as long, but was OK.

Thanks to Markymark for the sofa for the night, and Styru for coming along on Saturday. Good trip.
 

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