Saturday, 22 July 2017

Bristol Harbour Festival


Every year, Bristol, being a large city with a pretty long stretch of waterfront which leads out into the Bristol Channel and then the open sea, has a Harbour Festival. It attracts crowds from all over the country and lots of tiny yachts and boats of all kinds, make their way into the harbour. We also have several tall ships with masts and canvas sails rolled up. 
One small replica ship that Bristol people are very fond of, is the Matthew that John Cabot used to find North America in 1497. It was widely believed that the sea was flat, so he was a brave man to take such a small ship out into the unknown.
Yesterday I was actually on board the Matthew while it was tethered to the wharf and I realised just how small this little ship is and this replica has actually traced it's roots to Canada and braved the Atlantic Ocean there and back just like it's predecessor. Apparently the ship rolls as well as pitches into the waves, according to the man who showed us round yesterday and who has sailed the Ocean in this ship, so it takes a strong person to overcome sea sickness. He believed in chewing root ginger when he felt queasy.

The Festival goes on for the whole weekend and as well as the ships, there are musical events, stalls and thousands of people who cram themselves into a smallish area.
I'm glad I went yesterday before the crowds arrived but of course, I didn't get to see any of the events but managed a long walk round the harbour that stretches a good few miles and had a quiet pub lunch in relative comfort with a friend.

12 comments:

ADDY said...

Thank you for that insight into history. I don't mind being on boats, but even I would draw the line at sailing to the ends of the earth on something that tiny in open seas. I am glad you managed to enjoy it before the crowds descended and get a lot of exercise on your walk.

Shammickite said...

How lovely! I have seen the tall ships here in Toronto Harbour and a few years ago in 2000 saw lots of them in Halifax, Nova Scotia. And I toured a very large Argentinian tall sailing ship while I was in Piraeus, the port of Athens, in Greece. I'd love to visit the Bristol waterfront to see the replica of the Matthew. The original Matthew carried 18 men, and sailed from Bristol to Newfoundland in 1497.

Shammickite said...

Maggie: Christopher Columbus never sailed on the Matthew, it was John Cabot, also known as Giovanni Caboto, a Venetian explorer who discovered the coast of North America in 1497 under the commission of King Henry VII.
Christopher Columbus's ships were Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria.

Maggie May said...

Thank you Shammickite...... for putting me right about John Cabot. Subconsciously..... I did know that, as Bristol also has a Tower and different things that commemorate him! Slip of the hand!
Maggie x

Secret Agent Woman said...

That's really cool. I toured a replica of Columbus's Niña when it was on the river here and was blown away by how absurdly tiny it was.

MARY G said...

Thanks for the tour of Bristol harbour! And I am glad you have history buffs for friends. I was looking at your post and thinking "???" Badlyntaught Canadian that I am.
Wonderful that you are out and about!.

Eddie Bluelights said...

Fascinating about The Matthew. I remember it being build (the second one lol) and passed it every day when I worked in the centre of Bristil.
I really must attend the festival, perhaps next year . . I have seen masted ships sail under the suspension bridge which makes a great photo shot . . :) x

Wisewebwoman said...

I feel very connected to you right now Maggie as the Mathew sailed into a spot close by me. I'm sending you a link, though there are many.

Just tiny ships for such immense journeys!

http://www.heritage.nf.ca/articles/exploration/cabot-1497.php

XO
WWW

Sandi said...

Love that ship! It fires the imagination.

Rose said...

Sounds like a wonderful day! It's hard to imagine sailing across the Atlantic--especially the unknown at the time--in such a small ship. Eight hours on a plane is hard enough on me:)

Jackie said...

Brave souls they were to venture into the ocean....and head toward lands unknown.
I have utmost respect for each of them.

roth phallyka said...

I have seen masted ships sail under the suspension bridge which makes a great photo shot . . :) x


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