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An ongoing series of a Skippers view on navigating a 38m Dutch Barge through the bridges on the River Wye from Chepstow to Hereford

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Wilton Bridge

For the last few days it had been raining in Wales, the river had started to rise, we now had enough depth of water at Wilton Bridge to float the Wye Invader, we removed the wheelhouse cabin because there would not be sufficient clearance. Wye Invader’s air draft without the cabin is 3 metres and we were all most there. The only other option was the arch nearest to Wilton but that was full of trees which only left the centre arch and what what made it more difficult was the bridge is skew and not at right angles across the river.
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Kerne Bridge

It was now 1715 hrs Wye Invader was about 300 metres downstream of Kerne Bridge, it was almost last light, we had just climbed the 2 metres up and over Lower Lydbrook weir, from this point on the River Wye gets narrower and we had another 2 metres of what remains of the Weir below Kerne Bridge to pass up and over.
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Lydbrook Junction Bridge

We were about 250 metres downstream of the old Wire Works Factory on the starboard bank side of the River Wye, as the bridge came into view we had sight of the centre arch supported by 4 cast iron cylinders, the centre arch is almost 23 metres across.
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Huntsman’s (Huntsham) Bridge

Friday 27th October 1989, the main bridge over the Wye leading to Symonds Yat East. The bridge was rebuilt in about 1982 with less air draft.
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Monmouth Bridge

Saturday 8th April, 12.30 pm there was still over 2 metres of water above normal in the river plus the Wye Invaders air draft of 4 meters, we made 3 attempts that afternoon and on each occasion we almost got through with the wheelhouse in the Middle Bridge arch, each time there seemed to be too much water so I put her in astern gear and came out of the arch, back down the river for about 100 metes and dropped the starboard anchor. It was now about 6pm, we moved over to the right bank and secured Wye Invader for the night. At about 8pm the crew and all the helpers, I think there were 6 by this time, went ashore for a few bevvy's and we all got back to the Wye Invader by 12.30am
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Bigsweir Bridge

We were now on the non tidal River Wye, a 3 mile straight leading up to Redbrook, ahead are 3 large Boulders at about half mile intervals in the middle of the river and several fishing concrete walkways out into the river, all of which I had marked on my large scale map last year.
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