Perched above the beach at Lepe in Hampshire, overlooking the Solent, is an old bunker. It is surrounded by fencing and there is signage about the purpose of the bunker. You can see the hatch to access the bunker as well as some of the vents for the space below. I’m not sure what the bunker was designed to survive. It is close to a huge oil refinery and close to the headquarters of the Royal Navy. In a shooting war, there would have been some large detonations nearby. I doubt it would have provided sufficient protection to its occupants.
If you are used to a modern shape of an anchor, particularly one for a large ship, the old style of anchors in the days of the early 1800s will be rather strange looking. They look like a giant version of the sort of anchor you would see on a small boat. This example sits on the seafront in Southsea and comes from a ship that fought in the battle of Trafalgar. It seems in pretty good shape. I wonder whether that is a feature of the materials used or the result of lots of bits of it being replaced over the years.
Ineos is a name I hadn’t heard until recently. They took over the Sky cycling team and that was the first time I became aware of them. I guess that sporting achievements are something that their management are quite focused on because, while waiting to catch the ferry at Portsmouth, I got a look at the building in these photos. It is their America’s Cup challenger facility. The building looks pretty impressive and I hope that the boat that they come up with is similarly so. It would be good to see the cup make its way to the UK after all this time.
I got a few stills of the hovercraft but I also decided to film some video. For those that haven’t seen hovercraft in action, stills probably do not give a suitable impression of how they rise up above the surface yet still leave a wake. Quite a cool form of transportation and I do enjoy seeing them. Hope you enjoy the video.
Regular readers know I like the hovercraft. I didn’t make a specific visit to Ryde on our last trip to see them but I did get to see them on our two ferry crossings and we also stopped at Southsea where I got to see a couple of arrivals and departures. The new hovercraft have not had a trouble free introduction but I suspect they have had a few fixes embodied. The memory of introduction problems will probably last far longer than the actual problems but I don’t know for sure whether they are doing fine now or not. All I know is that the service was running while we were there.
I was rather pleased that one of the crossings ended up getting very close to the ferry as we headed in to Portsmouth. It provided a far more interesting angle on the hovercraft than I would normally get. Combine that with some shots from the beach at Southsea and I was happy with having got some shots of the new craft which I hadn’t really seen before. During the departure, I was conscious of the potential for spray sideways as they lifted off. What I hadn’t considered properly – pretty annoying given how I know to deal with jetwash when on a ramp – is that the departing craft got quite far offshore before you got blasted with their propwash. That was mixed with seawater – an ideal combination for electronic equipment! No permanent damage though.
The journey to Portsmouth on the ferry is one I have made more times than I can recall and one of the landmarks that is embedded in my mind is the Naval Memorial on the front at Southsea. This obelisk is a clear sign of either arriving or leaving but it is something that I have never actually looked at in any detail. After we departed the Island on our last trip, we stopped off on the seafront at Southsea and walked along to the monument to check it out.
The obelisk is all I had in mind previously, but the memorial is so much more. The original monument was created after the First World War for all the seaman that lost their lives. There are many panels around the column with names and ranks of seamen. Just looking at the different roles of sailors in that era of ships is interesting and to think of them all lost is sobering.
The memorial was expanded after the Second World War. The walls surrounding the tower and the columned end sections were added along with sculptures of sailors. The detail of them is impressive considering how long they have been exposed to the sea air and the Woolly sweaters, boots, beards and hats have a very authentic feel to them. I find it hard to believe I have passed by this memorial all my life and only now did I stop to look and appreciate it.
A spot of Sunday lunch with the family meant a trip out to Beaulieu. Located in the New Forest, it is well known as the home of the National Motor Museum. However, that was not our destination. Instead it was the Montagu Arms for some food and then a stroll around the village. It seems the place is also a destination for people with old cars as a few rumbled through the place while we were there including what I think is an MG-A that I did happen to get a shot of.
The swans that were swimming nearby seemed pretty interested in us when they thought there was food involved but rapidly realized we were of no use to them and went back to what they were doing – also eating it seemed. We did notice a house across from the pub with conspicuously red doors. It attracted a lot of people who were having their picture taken outside so I wonder whether this is a location that is popular on Instagram?
I have made countless trips between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight over the course of my life. Things change but most of the landmarks are remarkably consistent. I was therefore quite surprised to see some very large posts that had appeared in the approaches to Portsmouth Harbour. I knew that there had been dredging work undertaken to allow the new carriers (see this post) to enter the naval base. I suspected that these new large posts might be connected with the same project. Sure enough, some research after our returned confirmed that navigation lights have been installed to allow the carriers to navigate their way in. These light are mounted on top of large posts sunk into the seabed. They aren’t the most attractive things but I guess they do the job.
There are a few readers of the blog that like trains so this is a quick view of some UK passenger trains. We stayed in Chichester for a while and were very close to the station. We had to walk past it in to the town. There were tons of trains running along this coast route so I saw several as we were finding out where things were. Here are two of the trains. They are both EMUs, one of which is relatively recent while the other is a pretty old vintage of train that I didn’t even realize operated in this part of the world.
One leg of our trip to the UK included a ferry to the Isle of Wight. We took the ferry from Portsmouth and, as we drove in to town, I thought I could see the twin islands of the HMS Queen Elizabeth, the first of the pair of new aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy. Sure enough, when we pulled out of Gunwharf on the ferry, we could see the carrier moored in the naval base. A rear view doesn’t give to much impression of the ship but she is clearly pretty large. At about 65,000 tons, she is over three times the displacement of the previous RN carriers.