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About Summiteer

~In Search of Brunel~

8th June 2010

Day 1 of a short holiday in Bristol. Karen and I travelled to our hotel on Monday (7th) and got settled into the Aztec Hotel near Almondsbury. The weather forecast for Tuesday was not encouraging, so we opted for a day that would offer almost as much protection from the rain as we might need.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Centre Point

Scroll down for photos and a description of the day

Parkway Station

Bristol Parkway

My usual dislike for city centre driving persuaded me to "Park & Ride". This is not the approved scheme for Bristol and a day's parking is £6.90, but it was the only option close to the hotel. The train journey took us to Bristol Temple Meads; originally designed as a terminus by Brunel along with the rest of the Great Western Railway, but long since expanded and redesigned and no longer the end of the line.

Bristol Temple Meads

Bristol Temple Meads

The rake of carriages on one of the through lines is parked ready for use on weekend steam excursions.

Bristol Harbour

The Floating Harbour

I could fill many lines with an attempt at explaining all about "The Floating Harbour", but it might just be easier if someone else did the job for me, for further reading try this website: Bristol's Floating Harbour.

Railway Wagon

Antique pieces, the railway is no longer active within the harbour. Lots of evidence of railway activity is left on show and preserved.


Destinations for the SS Great Britain

Our reason for the walk down to the harbour was to take a close look at the World's first ship constructed with an iron hull and powered with a screw propellor.

SS Great Britain

SS Great Britain

Designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859) and launched in 1843. She was scuttled in the Falkland Islands in 1937 and brought back to Bristol in 1970, to be restored and presented to visitors in the same dry dock where she was built. I won't say much more here, make it a priority to visit this wonderful exhibiton and display before you pop your clogs!

Rear End


Under the hull

Under the Hull

The sections of the ship that were below the waterline are now protected in a controlled environment. There is a glass ceiling and this looks like the water level when viewed from above. It's very dry down here with a relative humidity of 20%.

Rudder and propellor The Hull
Rudder and Propellor
The Hull


It's Raining

Here we are looking up through the glass ceiling and can see that it is coat time.

The Ratcliffes

Me, my good lady and a cow

Medical Room

The Medical Room

Brunel and me


Dining Table

Dining Table

This room is used for functions and the back of the benches are hinged, so that they can be pushed forward and then persons seated will face the middle of the room. Clever.

SS Great Britain

SS Great Britain

When we left the exhibition, we crossed the harbour by ferry and had a walk on the other side before taking a walking up to Clifton Village, a very interesting little part of Bristol, full of coffee shops and little boutiques.

Bristol Harbour

Looking West

Parsons Bakery

A bit of Clifton

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Clifton Suspension Bridge from the West side

It's about to rain and we need shetler, quick! We cross the bridge and find a small visitor centre.

Clifton Suspension Bridge

Clifton Suspension Bridge from the East side (inside the visitor centre)

Clifton Suspension Bridge

After the Rain

The Clifton Suspension Bridge was designed by Brunel, but finished in 1864, five years after he died. Those with an aversion to bridges, look away now.

Avon Gorge

The Avon Gorge

Clifton Suspension Bridge

The Clifton Suspension Bridge


Taken from Giant's Cave


The Tunnel!

The observation point known as Giant's Cave pre-dates the bridge and more information about this viewing facility can be found in the link.


Skoda 1


Skoda 2

On the way back into Clifton, we saw a small rally of European Skoda owners passing by. A little research has led me to this website and I will email the driving club to let them know that they were captured on camera.

Aztec Hotel

The Hotel

We found our way back to the hotel via bus, train and the short car journey from Parkway. In the end, we needed very little shelter from the rain and it was kindly provided by the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust, in their visitor centre and by a lady from Clitheroe, quite close to home.

Day Trippers: Karen and me.

Time taken: Most of the day.

Points of Interest: Bristol Temple Meads, The Foating Harbour, SS Great Britain, Clifton Suspension Bridge, Giant's Cave.

Weather and conditions: Cloudy a little rain, then bright and warm with one heavy shower.

Greetings Count: High, of course.

Richard's Refreshment Review: Parsons of Clifton - a small bakery with tables, good food and drinks.

All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2010 ©

Take me back to the start ....

Take me home....