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 on the river blackwater

trip organised by probus on 11th July 2017
BARGES Trip on the tug X - Pilot to photograph Thames Barges in 2011 BARGES 2

Track of the journey to Maldon and the boat trip and journey home.   Below Maldon and the boat trip enlarged.


Maldon is situated at the top of the River Blackwater and is home to the remaining Thames Barge Fleet.   These fine old ships, with their distinctive red ochre sails, evoke an era long since past.   Once the East Coast's traditional cargo vessel, they numbered over 2000 at the turn of the century.   Today only a handful of traditional barges survive.   Hydrogen was built in 1906 and is the largest surviving wooden barge.   During WW2, it was fitted with an engine and used on the Clyde as a supply ship.   Her commercial life ended in 1976 and she was converted back to sail by Bells Whisky and used to promote their brands, becoming known as the Whisky Barge.   Returning to Maldon on its sale to its present owner, it took part in the Queen's Jubilee celebrations.   Hydrogen continues to work to earn her living and is actively preserved as part of our national maritime heritage.    See:  http://www.top-sail.co.uk/the-barges/hydrogen/

gps map of the photographs

Click on the thumbnails to get a larger picture, then on on the top LHS of the screen to return to this page.

We walked down to Hythe Quay past a mural and some well planted herbaceous borders

First glimpse of our barge 'Hydrogen'

Jolly Sailor PH

We had a coffee at the pub.   Children out for the day

Unusual spire

'Pudge' excellent name for a barge

Desres with Mercedes and a motorbike

Mespilus germanica - medlar

Horse in the window


Chelmer Terrace

Flowers and reflections

Boat owners' housing

Hemerocallis fulva 'Kwanso'

The tide was coming in quickly

Flowers at the Queen's Head PH where we had a bad coffee

Stork a steel boat stuck in the mud

The Church

We had to wait until the water was high enough to allow the Hydrogen to sail

We walked around the town until sailing time

Purple loosestrife

Bullrushes & the fountain


Coot and his enormous feet

Feeding in the mud

Black headed gulls

Beach Huts

We had a ham and cheese salad lunch with a blackberry and apple crumble on the Hydrogen.   There were some spots of rain which sent us below decks.   The motor was used for most of the trip.   We passed Northey Island famous for the battle of Malden in 991, the oldest battlefield in Britain;  now owned by the National Trust, it is a bird sanctuary.   We passed Heybridge Basin where the Chelmer and Blackwater navigation canal joins the tidal Blackwater and then passed the privately owned Osea Island;  home to 2000 sailors and the Coastal Motor Torpedo Boat Base in WW1.   Both islands can be reached by causeway only at low tide.

A few drops of rain are coming in

Having a good laugh!

Sister barge 'Thistle'

The Captain at the wheel

Passing yacht

Followed by 'Thistle' and more rain



'Thistle' powers past

Weather improves

Under sail

Anchor chain

Coiled rope


Lifebelts swinging in the wind

The statue of the Anglo-Saxon warrior commemorating the Battle of Malden

We docked at Malden and came home on the coach.   Despite the weather, it was a very good day.