Monday, March 29, 2010

Southernmost Suspension Bridge

On Sunday we decided to head out to Goose Green. When we were here last we bypassed Goose Green on our way to New Haven adn didn't have time to return. Many of you will recognise the name Goose Green due to the conflict with Argentina. On your way over to the settlement you actually pass the Argentine Cementery and several other burial plots.

As far as settlements in the Falklands go this is probably one of the prettiest I have seen. It is still very delapidated in areas but does seem to have a bit more of a kept air about it. We were nearly run over by young children on quad bikes as we left the settlement and it just reinforced the fact to me that life is so very, very different for children growing up out here. They have so much more freedom, akin to probably what I had when I was young if not more. You don't accompany them down the road to their friends house and you do just let them head out to the park for several hours without worrying if they are alright.

The reason we headed out to Goose Green was to see the Bodie Creek Bridge which is meant to be the southerly most suspension bridge. It is an interesting drive out over open farm land with a plethora of paths leading off in all directions. Still with the Cape Pembroke capers in my mind I was slightly twitchy and watchful of J's driving as we headed out down the field. Bless him, he just ignored me and drove however he wanted even when I tutted loudly and at one point openly sweared at him!

The bridge itself was built in 1925 and came as a fabricated kit from David Rowell and Co in England. It was erected in order to shorten the distance sheep needed to be driven from Southern Lafonia to the shearing sheds in Goose Green. The bridge itself was erected without cranes, earthmovers or trucks. The only skilled labour on the project was Charles Peters who was the engineer and a stone mason. The rest were all unskilled farm labourers and locals. There is a very interesting account of the bridge building and some superb photos on this site . He is actually related to Charles Peter and tells some very interesting stories about the construction and local life.

The bridge itself now is unpassable to both motor vehicles and supposedly pedestrians. Of course we decided to head over it and have a nosey about!

Euan was rather apprehensive at first but after a few yards found that his fear of heights had not kicked in on this occasion. Maddie however was a different story and after this picture was taken headed straight back where we had come from and stood on safe ground waiting for us to return.

Mummy of course found loads of wonderful texture and macro shots to take and the rest soon buggered off leaving me at the other end on my own.

Many of the boards are still in good nick but you do have to watch your step as several of them have rotted through. They are almost all covered in this wonderful lichen that just shone when the sun was out.

The support railings are incredibly rusted and in places nonexistant. I am not sure how long the bridge will last before parts of it start to collapse into the water. With the advent of the motor vehicle and easier access to Lafonia the cost implications of repairing the bridge have become to expensive and it will eventually decay away. I find this rather said as there are very little in the way of bridges on the island and certainly none that look as spectacular as this one.

The family had all walked back by this stage leaving me to enjoy the play of shadows and textures in peace. Or so I thought, J had put Fergus on the lead while we were on the bridge as he was being particular silly. When he got back to the other side he let him off but true to form being my dog he made a beeline back to me.

He did oblige me with this photo before once again leaping about and giving me heart palpitations. Someone seriously needs to remind him of his age and that old dogs really don't go hairing around like he does.

Safely back to the other side with no wet feet or paws I let J take a rare photo of me and have control of the camera for five minutes. That was of course once he had his hero shot taken in front of the bridge.

And posing with his beloved car. This shot had me nearly peeing my pants with laughter and I knew straight away it would have to be blogged.

J did manage to get a few good shots of Ellie who is always happy to pose in front of the camera especially when she doesn't have to share the lime light with her siblings.

She had by this stage rounded up the completely disobedient dog and was walking back to meet us in her own little world as only Ellie can. Can you tell J took this shot as well as it had his baby in the background.

While we were busy posing for photos we completely missed this fellow sat above us on the cable ties. After looking in our guide book I think he is a red backed buzzard. Unfortunately I only had my wide angle lense with me and by the time J got back from the car with it he had flown away. There were also numerous turkey vultures lurking about the site which makes you wonder if they are used to getting some morsels when visiters arrive!

This is a view looking back towards Goose Green over the track we were taking home. Looks fairly flat and an easy drive but there were places where pallets had been wedged to try to get vehicles out that had been stuck in the peat and some rather large dips filled with indistinguishable levels of water. I am definitely not built for off roading. I enjoy it when the unknown element has been taken out. In other words put another car in front of me and if that makes it through I will follow :)

J of course has no such fear and will merrily bump, bang and launch the car over most obstacles and have me take a photo while he is doing it.

If it contains water all the better, today the vehicles occupants were dissappointed as it hasn't rained much recently so no big splashes to squeal about.

My faithful rear gunner as always keeping a look out for me (or should that be birds) as I close the gate. Smiling as usual after a good run out.
And a boy who is as happy as a pig in s... that he now has a filthy car to prove he has been doing manly activities, can't you tell!

The rest of the day was spent recovering from a dining in night at the mess the night before and preparing for a neighbour coming around for dinner.
Tomorrow I am off in a Sea King to apparently be winched up and then winched back down later on to a remote hillside. I have warned J that even though I am insured it doesn't mean he can leave me in a remote hillside to die!

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