Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Severn Bore

The other night I looked out and saw a beautiful full moon in the sky and remembered the Severn Bore which is high this time of year (Autumn and Spring tides), this enormous wave that travels up the Severn often ridden by surfers. It's magical, mysterious, has it own myths from a thousand years ago, and looking at the mist that clouded the trees in these photos from the Guardian still holds a pull on the heart of those surfers.

But what of the myths? It was Nennius (9th century) in his Wonders of Britain that in a rather garbled fashion he wrote about the Severn, the second story is probably connected with the tale of the Roman soldiers who were caught on a sandbank in the middle of the estuary and drowned, to be found in Lady Elizabeth Guest's The Mabinogion book, and which I must have written about elsewhere!

'Another wonder is the Duo Rig Habren, that is the two kings of the Severn. When the sea is flooded to The Teared [the bore] within the mouth of the Severn, two waves of spume separately convene and make war between themselves in the manner of sea-rams and each proceeds to the other and they collide at one another and again withdraw one from another and again they proceed on each Teared [bore]. This they do from the initiation of the world all the way to the present day'

Another wonder....
There is another wonder: it is the confluence of Linn Liuan; the mouth of that river flows into the Severn, and when both the Severn is flooded to The Teared [the bore], and the sea is flooded similarly into the aforementioned mouth of the river, both it is received into the lake/pool of the mouth in the mode of a whirlpool and the sea does not advance up. And a bank/shore exists near the river, and so long as the Severn is flooded to The Teared [the bore] that bank/shore is not covered, and when the sea and Severn ebbs, at that time lake Liuan vomits all that it has devoured from the sea and both that bank/shore is covered and in the likeness of a mountain in one wave it spews and bursts. And if there was the army of the whole region, in the midst of where it is, and it directed its face against the wave, even the army the wave carries off through the force, by fluid full clothes. If, on the other hand, the backs of the army were turned against it, the same wave doesnt harm, and when the sea may have ebbed, then the entire bank, which the wave covers, backwards is bared and the sea recedes from it....

Of course the bore might disappear if the Severn Barrage that is proposed for the estuary is ever built, we shall see. The long history of using this fierce expanse of water is outlined in this wiki.

"We should not consider out-dated technology, which could impact on the Estuary on an unprecedented scale. Destroying the Severn Estuary – arguably the eighth natural wonder of the world – would be a deadly sin."

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