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Thursday, 6 July 2017

Heading up the Humber.

As we clear Central dry dock, now reconfigured to an open air performance space, we are looking at the slope down to the Humber called the Horsewash where horses we brought for a paddle. As it dries out it has also been used by boats to fix problems without recourse to dry docks. The pier extends into the Humber and was the embarkation point for the Humber Ferry to New Holland on the Lincolnshire side. To the right of the flags you can see a brass sculpture on a basalt plinth. This is the 'Voyager' sculpture by Icelandic artist Steinunn Thorarinsdottir and completed in 2006. It looks at to sea along the route that traders and fisherman have passed for hundreds and hundreds of years. In the village of Vik on the south coast of Iceland is a similar statute called 'For', which looks out to towards Hull. The links between Iceland and Hull are extremely long and despite the Cod Wars are still very strong.

When we popped out of Old Harbour into the Humber we had been expecting a slight easterly wind so we a little put out to see a breeze from the west and a bit of a slop on. Still, it wasn't bad at all and we were soon up to full speed. Here we are passing Hessle Haven. There was a big ship building yard to the right, Scarrs, right up until the 1990's. When that closed a company started using the Haven to berth ships. There are several 'mud' berths like this on the Humber that completely dry out at low water. The fun is aiming the ship at the right place when the tide is slack and running it up the beach as far as you can. Not quite as easy as it sound, but I did have a ship into here.

Once approaching the Humber Bridge the wind had shifted round to the east and all but died away. I now had to make the decision as to which route to take back to the Trent Falls.

Passing under the Humber Bridge you change VHF channels. VTS then gives the gauge reading for the bridge and tells me of any likely traffic we will encounter. They told me of a vessel leaving Howdendyke later and there was 3.5 mt on the Bridge tide gauge. I then decided that we would head up the smaller channel that runs up the north bank, or Yorkshire side as the barges call it. The Harbout Authority have to mark the deepest water with the buoys but there is always some sort of a channel to the north and for us with nearly 3 mts under us there would be no problem, and it would give us a different view of the estuary.

Just west of the Humber Bridge there is an area called Little Switzerland and is a nature reserve. It gets its name from the cliffs that enclose part of the reserve. this we foremed by quarrying of the chalk of the Yorkshire Wolds here. The chalk rock was crushed down to whiting at the Black Mill above. It was unique in the area as it had 5 sails. Keels and sloops were loaded on the foreshore just under where the bridge is today.

No apologies for yet another photo of the wonderful Humber bridge. I do hope that they eventually do build the glass lift to pass up the outside of a tower to a viewing platform as it would be spectacular.

I seem to be dressed up for an arctic expedition, but I think it was cool when the wind was blowing and I slowly started  taking layers off as we proceeded up the Humber.

The Yorkshire side channel has the advantage of running very close to the bank so we were lucky to see a friend out walking her dog who had come to see us and give us a wave as we passed North Ferriby.

As you can see it was almost flat calm with just our wake bothering the surface of the water. There were no other boats moving so it was  serene trip feeling very lucky with the weather. A rising tide also gives you a sense of security.

As we passed Brough Haven we could just see the entrance to the Haven. (The small yellow buoy marks the start of the channel). It is here, half way round the Whitton Channel that we rejoin the shipping route. I could read the tide board at Brough and it was 3.2 mts. I reckon we should just about maintain that height as although the tide is coming in, we are actually travelling 'up hill'!

This light float had the dummy owls on the hand rails, to scare off birds I assume, and the decks did look nice and clean. However when we passed others with no owls strapped down, the decks looked equally as clean. At the after you can see a round float that has a light chain coiled down on it. This  was to provide a marker in case the float was sunk in a collision with a ship etc.

With the higher revs of the river transit and consequently the higher noise levels, Macy the Cat didn't really like it. However she very quickly settled down on her 'throne' and surveyed the changing scene as we sped past.

We were soon at the Apex light at Trent Falls. It had taken us 2.25 hours to get here from Hull at an average speed of 6.7 kts. The northern route had cut a little bit off the distance but at the loss of the help of the main surge of the flood tide driving us along. I was still glad we had taken the option as we had seen both routes and can really say we had now 'done' the Humber. We both had a sense of achievement, and somehow I don't think I will be able to talk Helen in to coming this way again. However with a little planning is is easily do-able for an adventurous boater, some good weather and great timing.

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