Tuesday, July 6, 2010

6th July 2010 - Portsmouth

Bognor Regis Postman

Spinnaker Tower, Portsmouth

Mick with Cannon on deck of HMS Warrior

Mick 170 metres up sitting on a window pane

Lyn pretending to be cool 170m from the ground - check the white knuckles


Lyn and HMS Victory

HMS Warrior

HMS Warrior Steam Engine

Another sunny day in England. Today we visited Portsmouth which is about a 30 minutes drive from Bogna Regis along the A27. The A27 is a very good dual carriage way allowing us to travel at 80mph (128.7kph) on the very smooth straight road. The speed limit on dual carriageways is generally 70mph (112.7kph) but when cars are whizzing by Mick sometimes joins in!

Portsmouth is a coastal city and busy harbour. The town has a number of historical maritime exhibits and also a busy ferry port serving, among other destinations, the Isle of Wight which is visible from the mainland. We went to the information centre and bought our tickets (£16.50 each for seniors) to enable us to visit 6 of the attractions in and around Gunwharf Quays.

First stop was the HMS Warrior which was built in 1860 and when built she was the largest, fastest and most powerful warship in the world. We were in awe of it's size and it's armaments. Her hull is made of 4 1/2 inch thick wrought iron plate which is bolted to 18 inches of vertical and horizontal teak beams. This made the hull impenetrable to enemy gunfire.

It was powered by both steam and wind. Ten coal fired boilers each with 4 furnaces (total of 40!) provided the steam to drive a 2 cylinder single expansion steam engine. At 55rpm it produced approx 5,500hp. It's wind power was provided by 38 thousand square feet of sail area as well.

The ship's company totaled 705.

The Warrior never fired in anger as it's mere presence caused the enemy to decamp.

When it was retired it was put to various uses under various names and eventually left to rot.

The restoration work to bring the ship back to it's original condition cost £8m and was a credit to the tradesmen who did it.

Next we went on a harbour cruise with a running commentary of the buildings and ships in port. Many of the ships were Royal Navy war ships. One of the ships of note was the Aircraft Carrier Invincible which featured prominently in the Falklands war and is now sitting unused waiting for a buyer. At one time the Australian Government was considering buying it but the British withdrew it from sale when the Falklands war started. Then when it was available again the Aussies decided they didn't want it.

Next on the list of attractions was HMS Victory which was the ship on which Lord Horatio Nelson was killed. The British hold him in high regard and he has a whole museum room dedicated to his life. The HMS Victory was a much smaller ship than the HMS Warrior never-the-less it was still very impressive.

We then went to visit the Royal Navy National Museum which had some very interesting exhibits.

Whilst visiting all of the previously mentioned attractions we couldn't help but notice an enormous tower that stretched high into the sky. There were lots of little people at the top in the glass viewing area so decided a trip up the tower was our next stop.

The Spinnaker Tower is 170m high and is the tallest viewing tower in Britain. There are 3 viewing decks and the floor to ceiling glass windows provide breathtaking views stretching up to 23 miles. Viewing deck 1 has a large section of floor made out of glass and Mick insisted on walking out into the middle of it and Lyn wasn't having a bar of it. Even taking a photo was bad enough. It made Lyn feel queasy.

After an enjoyable day with perfect weather we headed home. Parking for 4 hours cost 6 pounds ($10).

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like having a parking station is easy money in the UK.