The wreck on Berrow beach

So who would believe it? You wait for over a year for a blog post about a wreck and then two come along at once! This is the SS Nornen, a Norwegian barque that ran aground on 3rd March 1897. She had tried to ride out a terrible storm in the lee of the Lundy Roads, but had found her anchors dragging. She was being driven towards the Berrow mud flats. The crew desperately tried to save her, but were fighting a losing cause. The following morning she was spotted off Gore sands. The Burnham lifeboat was launched and managed to save the crew of ten, together with their dog.

I visited this site a few years ago, but had to make the decision to reserve the better (stormy) weather for an evening on Kilve beach. The next morning I spent an hour with the wreck, but it was wall to wall blue sky and sunshine and I didn’t get any photographs worth keeping. This time I had planned to be here for sunset, but I discovered the wonderful square lighthouse at Burnham and felt that would provide better opportunities. So the poor SS Nornen had to play second fiddle yet again and as the afternoon was bright and warm, I didn’t hold out much hope.

It’s an interesting walk, as you park up by the local church and then have to cross a golf course. Some of the track dips down between shrubs. It was airless and plodding on through deep sand made my legs feel heavy. I bumped into a lovely gentleman who looked hotter than I felt. He said he had walked nearly up to Burnham, which made me feel guilty because  the wreck was only a ten minute saunter across the beach. We chatted and discovered a few things in common. It was nice to have someone to talk to as I had been mostly alone in the past couple of days. A few minutes later, we parted company and I pressed on to the wreck.

She was in more water than I had expected and I realised that I had checked the tide tables for sunset, forgetting I had re-arranged my schedule. I had read tales of people getting stuck in these conditions. It wasn’t looking good. By the time I had walked to within 20 yards of the boat, I could see she was surrounded by mud with the consistency of porridge. At least I was wearing my Wellington boots, but even so it wasn’t nice paddling out for a closer view. I didn’t want to linger too long in case I fell over, so I snapped a few images and didn’t think too much about them until I got home.

Once the bright highlights had been toned down in RAW, I could see the lovely cloud and light rays. This is fairly high key and so different from my normal photographs, but I like it. It was good to see the old wreck undamaged from the winter storms, unlike the one I had been to only the day before. I wonder how long she will remain like this…

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