Nick Ardley’s Swale

Barge and sailing book author and friend of the Cambria, Nick Ardley is first off the marks this time with his report and some superb pictures of the Swale Match yesterday. I publish here a love photo of Repertor and the newly restored barge Niagara crossing the line, borrowed from Nicks’s lovely website http://www.nickardley.com/ but I’ll leave it to you to nip across there and ‘read all about it’ and look through the excellent pictures. Nick generally takes his own sloop, Whimbrel out to go look at these matches, so he can position himself exactly where he wants and can get pictures you would never get from shore-based viewpoints. Nick grew up on the barge May Flower and has a life long love for and interest in all things barge and Suffolk/Essex/Kent sailing (he refers to it rather tongue-in-cheek, as ‘mud-larking’ and ‘ditch-crawling’) and if you’ve not yet caught up with his various books, they are well worth hunting down. Start your hunt on the website above.

Repertor and Niagara

Repertor and Niagara cross the line in the Swale Match 2012, picture from Nick Ardley’s website.

Meanwhile, Nick also chips in on the subject of the ‘stone heaps’ with a comment “The barge anchorage was not over the shingle spit running out from Shotley, but further into the Orwell close into the Shotley shore – almost opposite the Fagbury buoy. Unfortunately since the extension to the huge port on the Felixstowe shore the ‘mud’ has gone or been diminished by the channel running harder into what was a fine anchorage. I have seen barges using the ‘dead’ gound upstream of the port…
Th spit is not the Stone Heaps as far as I am aware, it is a natural geographical feature due to the run of two rivers. The name did refer to areas where ballast was dumped though – however ballast was mostly, latterly, landed ashore for re-use before ships had ballast water tanks…” Thanks for that clarification, Nick.

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