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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Effects of Water and Light

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas JANUARY. 01, 2021

[149-365] 1st. January 2021- So it's New Year's Day and Britain is an independent nation once more. It seems rather apt then that out at sea this morning was this apparition dissolving into the effects of light on the horizon as it swiftly crossed the bay. I had my trusty Marine Radar App to hand as it was an intriguing shape and not the usual large brick format carrying cars or containers up and down the English Channel. This is Her Majesty's Ship Severn, a patrol ship of the Royal Navy.

HMS Severn is a River-class offshore patrol vessel of the Royal Navy. Named after the River Severn, the ship was the first to bear the name in 56 years. She was built by Vosper Thornycroft in Southampton to serve primarily as a fishery protection unit within the United Kingdom's waters along with her two sister ships Mersey and Tyne. All three were commissioned into service in 2003 to replace the five older Island-class patrol vessels.

In December 2015, acting on intelligence from the British National Crime Agency and French DNRED, the ship intercepted the MV Carib Palm off the south coast of the United Kingdom and escorted the ship to Boulogne-sur-Mer, France where it was searched by French customs. The search uncovered 2.4 tonnes (2,400 kg) of cocaine with a street value in excess of £350m. (Wikipedia)

Having just spent over four years trying to regain some semblance of control over our own waters these ships may be about to get busy. The new fishing arrangements still have a transition period that has to run it's course, but time will tell how things will work out. I just found it symbolic that one of my first photos on New Year's Day should just happen to be this ship.

We had walked out to Start Point which juts out into the bay, and this road is private but accessible and leads down to the lighthouse. I like the way the road seems to be headed out to sea again symbolic of this day.

Down at the lighthouse which is on the point there are some infamous rocks at sea called the Skerries. That boiling water out there in the photo below, is the result of the tidal race over the Skerries. To the left is Start Bay and to the right the open sea of the English Channel. At low tide the rocks are nearer the surface and the change of tide leads to the water rushing out of the bay meeting the incoming new tide coming the other way. Many ships met their end on those rocks over the centuries leading to the construction of the lighthouse.

The road down to the lighthouse was a later addition in the early twentieth century, there being no easy access when it was first built, so down below is what acted like a small farm for the lighthouse keepers where they grew vegetables and kept pigs, giving them some level of self sufficiency. The walled area is a small and very steep garden and an old photo I have seen shows it planted with rows of vegetables. The lighthouse keepers families were very isolated and it was not a popular posting. The nearest shop was in Hallsands a long walk along a treacherous cliff path and children had to walk four miles cross country to the nearest school.

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