Beyond the barrage

Gazing across Cardiff Bay can easily trigger contemplation, even in the least philosophical of cats. Across the water lies the barrage that gives rise to this expanse of life aquatic. Then there is the majestic Penarth headland, inviting mystery as to what lies beyond…

Cardiff Bay view

Barrage [2]

Tantalisingly out of reach are the mythic islands of Flatholm and Steepholm, worthy of exploration if you can still find an intrepid sea dog to convey over the channel. But what is that strange protrusion at the foot of the headland?

Flatholme and Steepholme [3]

One of Penarth’s many attractions dates back to the late Victorian era; an age when the coastline of Britain (back when it was Great!) needed wood and metal embellishments, so that people could experience walking above water. The pier was a ubiquitous adornment to any self-respecting seaside town; a place to take-in the bracing sea air, or indulge in frivolous amusement in pavilions or arcades. Penarth Pier was no exception, including its later art deco addition in 1930…

Penarth_Pier Ben Salter Flickr

[The image above is included with acknowledgement to Ben Salter on Flickr.]

Penarth [1]

Penarth [2]

But, be wary of the history of this structure before you venture forth in anticipation. 1931 (fire), 1947 (collision), and 1966 (collision) were dramatic years in its perilous existence. When you create a long and narrow appendage don’t be surprised if it occasionally suffers  the occasional catastrophe. As with certain volcanoes, looking at those dates, the next one seems long overdue!

Penarth [3]

For readers under the age of 25, the ‘No Fishing’ sign refers to aquatic creatures, not nefarious internet activity! Though judging from the level of occupation below, readers under 25 are far more likely to engage with Penarth Pier on a screen than in reality.

Penarth [4]Reading paper and books

 

 

Until we speak again, I am going to assume a Bella-like state of contemplation, as I reflect on life beyond the barrage.

Newcastle: City of Bridges

Cardiff doesn’t do spectacular bridges, perhaps the most interesting stroll over water is at the Cardiff Bay barrage

Barrage [4]

Rear viewBut, as a cat of broader vision, I was led to believe that if you want to see some interesting footage of river crossings you could do worse than pay a visit to Newcastle.

As a cool cat, I neither have interest in this watery stuff or in travelling for hours in enclosed cans at speed. After all, this bum was designed more for climbing on horses than trains! “Excuse me, what is that camera doing there?”

So I despatched my unqualified civil engineer on an example of one of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s moving things, in order to take a look at examples of his non-moving things. The initial view from the moving thing seems to be of a whole group of non-moving things…

View from train

But, what has a visit to this old industrial city got to offer for the discerning bridge spotter? The train station looks like it is in need of an upgrade! Can’t see what all the fuss was about regarding the success of putting the East Coast Mainline back into public ownership…

Wall mural

However, it doesn’t take much shoe leather before you find a cathedral, parish church and a range of old sandstone buildings to get yourself into architectural historian mode on your personal dial…

St Nicholas Cathedral [2]

Church near station

Sandstone buildings

So, where are these mythical bridges hinted at from the train view? It doesn’t take much detective work around here; just as well, as I didn’t exactly send a full Sherlock on the mission! It seems this is the kind of place where buildings and bridges are competing for space…

Buildings and Bridges [2]

Buildings and Bridges [3]

With a feline sixth sense of telepathy I let my tepid intrepid know that maybe locating the river will provide a guide to where the bridges might be. Somehow against all limits of logic they stumble in the direction of trickling water, and lo and behold, whether you happen to be on foot, on a train, or in self-drive mode, a crossing is available for you.

Millenium Bridge [2]

Bridges on Tyne [4]

Bridges on Tyne [2]

 

Bridges on Tyne [3]

If I’m not mistaken it looks like that Sydney Harbour Bridge has been shrunk and moved across the world. Until we speak again this Bella is going to rest up after all of this tiring travelogue.