Sandridge Bridge

I have never really taken an interest in the unattractive steel footbridge with the unusual sculptures that crosses the Yarra River, until our last visit to Melbourne.

1.Sandridge Bridge

Enjoying a late afternoon beverage at Southbank, I was captivated by the light and reflections on the water and started to appreciate the obscure beauty of the structure.

2.Sandridge Bridge p.m.

I have since delved further. The original bridge and railway line was built in 1853 when Port Melbourne, then known as Sandridge, became a thriving hub thanks to the Victorian gold rush. It was also the first passenger rail service in Australia. The bridge was replaced in 1857 with a timber trestle bridge, built at the oblique angle to redress the issue of the existing tight curve. The current bridge opened in 1888, one of the first in Melbourne to use steel girders rather than iron. The support columns are hollow iron filled with concrete, set parallel to the flow of the river, in groups of three. On closer inspection, each rivet seemed a work of art.

3.Sandridge Bridge p.m.

Even the ornamental pediments are made from cast iron.

The morning light of the new day offered fresh reflective images.

6.Sandridge Bridge a.m.7.Sandridge Bridge

The railway bridge was last used in 1987 and remained, as something of an eyesore, until Melbourne City Council committed $15.5 million for its restoration in 2003. Sandridge Bridge was relaunched in 2006 as a celebration of the indigenous and immigrant history of Victoria, a tribute to those who made the journey by train from Station Pier to Flinders Street Station. Artist Nadim Karam created ten abstract sculptures, representing the different periods of immigration, using more than 3.7km of stainless steel. The artwork is titled The Travellers and the figures move slowly across the bridge in a 15 minute sequence. I must admit, I have never noticed them moving.

8.Sandridge Bridge sculptures

A series of 128 glass panels line the walkway, each one offering information about the origin of the immigrants, in alphabetical order, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. It can take quite a while to cross the bridge, a rest along the way is sometimes in order.

9.welcome swallow

From the north side, nature’s reflections resemble graffiti

10.Sandridge Bridge

and the intricate angles are more evident.

11.Sandridge Bridge

Unlike nature’s graffiti, that of lesser mortals is unsightly and unwelcome.

12.painting over graffiti

Sandridge Bridge may not be the most appealing landmark in Melbourne but it is certainly a great memorial to those who contributed so much, not only to the state of Victoria, but to the nation of Australia.

13.Sandridge Bridge

York

Being the largest county in the UK, there were so many places we wanted to see in Yorkshire. Aware of our limited time, we had to make some difficult decisions. The town of York was an obvious choice. We entered the historic walled city, founded by the Romans in 71AD, along Micklegate. Once the most important of York’s four medieval gateways, we passed beautiful old buildings

1.Shops on Micklegate

on our way to the river.

2.River Ouse

There are nine bridges across the River Ouse within the city of York, the oldest being at the site of the present Ouse Bridge as early as the 9th century. The history behind the Ouse bridge is quite interesting. In 1154, the stone bridge collapsed when a large crowd gathered to welcome Archbishop William to York. It was considered a miracle that no-one drowned and the Archbishop was later canonised and had a chapel named after him. The replacement bridge was supported by six arches and was lined with houses, shops, a toll booth, a courthouse, a prison and the chapel dedicated to St William. In 1367, the first public toilets in England were installed on the bridge. In 1564, the river flooded and the bridge collapsed, the buildings were swept away. The next new bridge was built much higher and houses and public buildings were again built along its length. After 250 years or so, in need of repairs, the bridge was replaced. Started in 1810, the present day bridge took 11 years to complete.

3.Ouse Bridge

Across the river, we made our way to The Shambles. Dating back to the 14th century, York’s oldest street has some fascinating architecture.

4.The Shambles

Historically a street of butchers shops and houses, the name is thought to come from the medieval word Shamel, meaning booth or bench. Livestock were slaughtered at the back of the premises and the meat laid out on what are now the shop window bottoms.

5.The Shambles

The overhanging fronts of the timber-framed buildings almost touch each other in some parts of the street. This was deliberate to shelter the wattle and daub walls and protect the meat from direct sunlight.

6.The Shambles

The butchers shops of old have been replaced by quaint businesses more appealing to the tourists that flock to The Shambles.

7.The Shambles

There isn’t much left to see of York Castle. Built in 1068, there were originally two circular castles, this one known as Clifford’s Tower. The wooden structure was replaced in the 13th century with stone, suffered some damage during the Civil War and was then gutted by fire after a major explosion in 1684. It wasn’t restored until the 19th century and was then used as a jail until 1929.

8.York Castle Clifford's Tower

It would have been wonderful to have had two hours to spare to walk the 3.4 kilometres of beautifully preserved town walls. We had to be satisfied with the short section that took us back to Micklegate and our next exciting destination.

9.Town walls approaching Micklegate

loving the Lowlands

We left Carlisle on a clear, crisp morning, briefly stopping at Gretna Green on our way to Dumfries. We spent some time looking around the town and discovered this magnificent bridge. The original wooden bridge was built around 1270 for Lady Degorvilla of Galloway. Replaced with a masonry structure in the 15th century, it was severely damaged by floods in 1621. The single Gothic arch at the western end was retained in the rebuild but the new arches are semicircular.

1-degorvilla-bridge

Old Bridge House was built in 1660 by a barrel maker and served as an inn in the 1700s. It became a family home during the 1800s and was converted into two flats in the 1950s. The oldest house in Dumfries is now a museum.

2-old-bridge-house

We drove the Galloway Scenic route to Ayr, immersed in the breathtaking scenery of the Scottish Lowlands.

3-galloway4-galloway

We continued north, following the Firth of Clyde. Under a misty sky, the Isle of Arran loomed out of the water.

5-isle-of-arran

The village of Wemyss Bay is the departure point for ferries to the Isle of Bute. The Inverkip Power Station chimney, Scotland’s tallest free-standing structure at 237m no longer exists. The site was cleared for housing and the last thing to be demolished was the chimney in July 2013.

6-wemyss-bay

Our destination was Greenock, Michael’s dad’s old stomping ground. The views across the Clyde were stunning.

7-greenock-view8-greenock-view

We found a lovely B&B in nearby Gourock and enjoyed a fabulous meal at The Spinnaker Hotel as night fell over Dunoon.

9-gourock-view

Penrhyn Castle

Leaving Caernarfon, we followed the Menai Strait northward with the Isle of Anglesey across the water to our left. The Menai Bridge was built to carry traffic between Anglesey and mainland Wales.

1-menai-bridge

Construction began in 1819 with the towers on either side of the strait, built using stone from Penmon quarry on the island.

2-menai-bridge

It was the first iron suspension bridge of its kind in the world, completed in 1826.

3-menai-bridge

We walked across the bridge, stopping to admire the view northward to the Irish Sea.

4-menai-strait

We couldn’t resist a visit to nearby Penrhyn Castle.

5-penrhyn-castle

It’s not really a castle at all but a country house built to resemble a Norman castle.

6-penrhyn-castle

Created between 1820 and 1833, Penrhyn was built on the site of a 14th century manor house and is now owned by the National Trust.

7-penrhyn-castle

After exploring the gorgeous restored interior, we strolled through the grounds.

8-penrhyn-castle9-penrhyn-castle10-penrhyn-castle

The countryside was breathtaking, with views across Snowdonia National Park

11-snowdonia-national-park

and north to Llandudno and the Great Orme.

12-the-great-orme13-the-great-orme

Whether you love or loathe the idea of a mock castle, you can’t help but be impressed by the workmanship.

14-penrhyn-castle