Saul Junction: Oil tanker BUDE 1972

Posted on 30. Oct, 2016 by in Environment & Nature, Featured

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robert-pagetLocal filmmaker, Robert Paget, writes: Saul Junction 1972 – canal cruisers wait to exit the Stroudwater Navigation as fully laden Bowker & King oil tanker “BUDE” travels north towards the Quedgeley oil terminal. Sister vessels “Bisley” and “Borman” plied the Gloucester & Sharpness canal regularly on trips from Milford Haven, and were among the largest vessels to use the waterway.
As they approached the Junction a large volume of water was drawn by them from the Stroudwater arm, and immediately as they crossed the Junction all of this water punched back up the arm with a small wave. It certainly taught moorers on the arm how to tie up and to deal with water surges. These large craft weighed up to 1000 tons when laden, yet managed to wind at Quedgeley and Gloucester without any assistance from bow thrusters or tugs.
Commercial craft generally travelled at the 6 mph speed limit on the Gloucester & Sharpness canal, but these large coastal tankers had to take extreme care to stay mid channel where there was maximum depth., and moved considerably slower than the speed limit. If called on to overtake them on a straight section, the flow of water passing their bow and stern was impressive. Traffic lights were north of Junction bridge and south of Sandfield bridge, with bridge keepers avoiding any passing of vessels between the two bridges. In those days experienced bridge keepers never impeded craft or kept boaters waiting in cross winds.
This trade was finished overnight when BWB decided to triple the cost of the commercial round trip to Quedgeley by raising it to £ 1,000. Bridgekeeper Bill Spiers was resident at the Junction, and had previously been lockkeeper at Bevere on the Severn.

Canal cruisers using the Stroudwater arm were always able to turn immediately left into the arm when coming from Gloucester, which was far safer than the current and extremely ill thought out and foolish practice of forcing craft to do a full U turn south of the junction (often in the face of the prevailing strong south west wind), and then turning right into the arm.

Filmed on clockwork Russian Quarz camera, standard 8mm Kodachrome II.

About Philip

Director and Co-Founder of Stroud Community TV

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