The Great Strait Raft Run II

Great Strait Raft Run

Date

4 June 2017

Location

Britannia Bridge
SH 54165 70870; 53.21480°N, 4.18546°W

Information

Great Strait Raft Run I

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The Great Strait Raft Run I

Great Strait Raft Run

Date

4 June 2017

Location

Britannia Bridge
SH 54165 70870; 53.21480°N, 4.18546°W

Information

The Great Strait Raft Run is an annual event that raises funds for local causes. The route along the Menai Strait is approximately 6 km long and starts from Y Felinheli and ends in Menai Bridge, passing under the Britannia Bridge, past Ynys Gored Goch, and under the Menai Suspension Bridge. The raft run started in 1984 but was discontinued later that decade with it being restarted in 2002.

Further Reading

Great Strait Raft Run (official site);
Britannia Bridge;
Menai Strait

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Ynys Gored Goch / Whitebait Island

Ynys Gored Goch in the Menai Strait with Britannia Bridge behind

Ynys Gored Goch in the Menai Strait with Britannia Bridge behind

Date

8 November 2014
Location

From Church Island, Menai Bridge

SH 55108 71736; 53.22284°N, 4.17175°W

Information

Differences in the tides at either end of the channel separating Anglesey from the mainland give rise to strong currents flowing in either direction at different times through the Menai Strait. The stretch between the two bridges (Telford’s Menai Suspension Bridge and Stephenson’s Britannia Bridge) – known as the Swellies – is the most hazardous and experiences various whirlpool currents owing to the rocks. Tidal conditions in the strait were, however, favourable for catching fish using traps. These employed weirs that allowed fish to enter at high tide but then left them enclosed at low tide. One such fishery was located on the 100m-long island in the strait close to Britannia Bridge. Ynys Gored Goch (literally, Red Weir Island, but known in English as Whitebait Island) is documented as having been owned by the Diocese of Bangor in the late 16th century, when it was leased to a Thomas Fletcher of Treborth for an annual rent of £3 plus a barrel of fish. There are two buildings on the half-hectare island: the main house together with the now converted smoke house where the fish were cured. During the early 20th century visitors could cross to the island by boat to avail themselves of a ‘whitebait tea’ for a shilling. The church authorities sold the island in 1988 and it has had a number of private owners since then. Mains water and electricity were installed in 1997 and for a while the house was used for holiday accommodation.

 

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Britannia Bridge

One of the four limestone lions, by sculptor John Thomas, guarding the bridge at rail level

Date

2 October 2010
Location

Britannia Bridge, Menai Strait

SH 54254 70899 53.21509°N, 4.18414°W

Further Information

“Opened in 1850 to carry the Chester & Holyhead Railway, this tubular bridge, and that at Conwy, were the forerunners of modern box girder bridges. Their engineer, Robert Stephenson, surmised that if the top of the trough girders were enclosed, the girders might be self-supporting, a concept confirmed by strength of materal studies and large-scale model testing.

“As at Conwy, the tracks were carried within two riveted tubes formed of wrought iron plates. The four tubes for the two 460 feet mainstream spans, each weighing 1800 tonnes, were built on the Caernarfon shore then floated out and jacked up 100 feet onto the towers. The 230 feet side spans and the main spans for each track were connected end to end through the towers to form 1511 feet long girders, providing material economy through continuity. Hitherto, the longest wrought iron span was 31 feet and 6 inches.

“In 1970 a fire destroyed the protective timber roof above the tube, the heat causing the roof to tear apart, losing continuity. The bridge was replaced with new main spans of steel arches, the side spans being divided into three and rebuilt in reinforced concrete. The new bridge also carries the A5 road above the rail tracks to relieve the Menai Suspension Bridge of heavy traffic.”

 — Gwynedd Council information board.

The original construction used limestone from the nearby quarries at Penmon. Following the fire in 1970, the bridge was reopened to trains in 1972 and the new upper road deck opened in 1980.

Britannia Bridge (Wikipedia)
John Thomas (sculptor) (Wikipedia)
Photo of Britannia Bridge Lions, 1890 (francisfrith.com)

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