Porlock Weir, July 2013

by Gethin Thomas August. 01, 2020 163 views

I set out on a beautiful sunny day to drive for three hours to get to this place. The nearer I got the worse the weather got to the point where I almost turned back. The fog got thicker and thicker. I decided to carry on and am so glad I did, as these were some of my favourite photos of that year. The fog just gave the place so much atmosphere and mood. The light was really interesting and it made some good black and white images too.

Porlock Weir, about 1.5 miles west of the inland village of Porlock, Somerset, England, is a small settlement around a harbour. Porlock means place of the port and Porlock Weir is its harbour. Weir refers to salmon stakes and traps that were situated along the shore.

Like most ports in West Somerset, the harbour is tidal and is home to a small flotilla of yachts and is visited by many more in spring and summer. The port has existed for more than a thousand years. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reports that in 1052 Harold Godwinson came from Ireland with nine ships and plundered the area and before that in 866 AD it was raided by Danes. In the 18th and 19th centuries coal from South Wales was the main cargo and in World War II pit props cut in local forests were the return cargo.

The ketch, Lizzy, was wrecked at Gore Point, near Porlock Weir. The ship, built in Appledore, was spotted in trouble off Lynmouth in a storm in 1854. The ship had lost her masts, and was in very bad condition. A fishing boat was sent out to rescue the crew, as Lynmouth possessed no lifeboat. The boat reached the stricken ketch, rescued the crew and returned to Lynmouth safely.

On 12 January 1899, in a storm, the ten-ton Lynmouth lifeboat was launched, but because of the ferocity of the storm could not put out to sea, and was hauled by men and 20 horses over Countisbury and Porlock Hills to Porlock Weir where the water was less rough. Thirteen seamen were rescued.

Channel markers.

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