The Libertà hive had a little holiday last week which included viewing the Severn Bore. Not, I hasten to add, as these guys do it,
but from the relative safety of the bank. Hive members and cold water don’t mix.
You have to be impressed, not only by the spectacle and roar of the Bore, but also by the guys — and they were all guys, we noticed, some young, some not so young, but not a female in sight — who turn up in wetsuits with surfboards in order to try their luck with the wave.
Before the Bore arrives, the River Severn looks remarkably peaceful, as you can see, with a largish sandbank across about half its width. We were surprised at how shallow the water is here.
Look at those intrepid surfers. They turned up, in ones and twos, slid down the muddy bank where we stood and trotted out to join their mates in the middle of the river.
The water is well below their knees as they stand, waiting for the Bore to arrive.They’re a friendly lot, too, chatting and joking as they wait and not, apparently, jostling for the best positions in the river. It seems that the challenge is the river, not each other.
And then the Severn Bore arrives. Seemingly in no time at all, the guys who were standing in barely a foot of water are surfing and trying to keep their balance in an extraordinary upstream wave, followed by a huge flood of water.
The surfers didn’t stay upright for long. The Bore swept round the corner and most of them made less than a hundred yards.
Not surprising really, given the power of the Bore. It charges in towards the bank, drowning the sandbank, hitting the mud bank and then bouncing back out into midstream, creating all sorts of nasty counter-currents. And, in the space of less than ten minutes, the water has risen by at least ten feet, and the place where we had been standing is under water. Astonishing.
And after it’s all over, it returns to looking remarkably peaceful and unthreatening. Being wimps, the hive had already retreated from the power of the wave and were contemplating the joys of a Bore breakfast!