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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good morning members,

This thread is a spinoff from Richard (R10R) and Mark (phrozenballs) kayak adventure to Tusker Rock as described in great detail and made all the more interesting by the amount of scrap metal and debris spread all over the rocks surface. I developed an interest in finding out more about Where, What, and How the various shipping bits not only ended up on this lonely outpost but get some idea of the tragedies/stories behind the wreckage. My research took me to a fantastic, detailed and interesting list of all shipwrecks and marine tragedies that have occurred in the Bristol Channel over a period from 1687 - 1983. The detailed cameo explanations of the individual incidents, loss of life, heroic rescues are precise but expertly written to illustrate the dangers of the B.C. waterway.

I have browsed through the entire list of upwards of 40 pages and selected out those incidents directly associated with the Tusker Rock, which
is situated about 2 miles west of Ogmore by sea. Not unnaturally, the rock takes its name from TUSKA the Viking, a Dane whose fellow Vikings semi-colonised the Vale of Glamorgan.

Rather than repeat the text of the various Tusker incidents, I will list below : The date, Name of the vessel and the page on which it can be found in the "Chronology". They are eye-opening Vignettes of life, death and heroic rescues associated over the years with this rock. Well worth looking up and reading!

Page 4 - 1798 - The "Brothers".
page 5 - 1808 (December 8th) - The "Richard".
page16 - 1847 (November) - The barque "Henry".
Page 22 - 1863 (January 19th)- Unknown two masted vessel.
page 27 -1870 -(December) - Cardiff pilot Cutter "Dasher".
page 32 - 1882 - (29th March) - French steamer "Liban".
page 34 - 1883 - (January 27th) -The steamer "James Grey".
page 36 - 1886 - (October 14th.) - Iron sailing ship "Malleny".

Unfortunately, the Chronology closes at 1983, so if any members have recollections of further wrecks associated with Tusker, please post in. I have an image in the back of my mind of an incident sometime in the 1960's?

The title of the webpage is: The Chronology of Bristol Channel Shipwrecks 1687 - 1983, compiled by Ron Tovey.

I could not find a workable link to the above website, so the alternative is to Google in the above heading.

Best regards,

Ticker (Derek)
 

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Hi Derek there is a lot of small wreckage there as well I'm guessing that its day trippers boats from over the years the one that r10r and myself visited was the one that is displayed on the navionics charts . I've spoken to skippers who say how dangerous it can be for them when anchoring close to it as you are dragged towards the rock . I'm also betting that its sister " fairy rock" has claimed a few life's over the years . Here's a small kayak article but its says tidal flow can be upto 5 knots but I know on certain tides its a tad quicker

http://dckc.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/10TuskerRock.pdf

Ill have to take some more photos when out there next for you seems like there is a bit of wreckage in most of the rock pools . Best viewing of the rock is obviously on the bigger tides as you have more exposed but that comes with its own dangers , you can land on tuska in the smaller tides but its surprising how much of the rock is covered.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good afternoon Mark (phrozenballs),

Thank you for your input and your link, "Tusker Rock" added more interesting information to the subject. As "locals", we tend to take the "Rock" for granted but it is both fascinating and dangerous. I guess it is imperative that kayakers like yourself and Richard, are equipped with full knowledge of its mood swings and currents. Have you ever come across crabs, lobsters or even conger eels during your searches. Look forward to any other snippets of information you may be able to add.

Best regards,

Ticker (Derek)
 

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Hi Derek

On the rock itself is plenty of reef , tube worms etc . There are a large number of hermits on it and they are also large in size this is why I belive my chosen bait of crab works well with the smooth hounds . The rock is also covered in tiny mussels . Seen evidence of edible crab and I'm pretty sure it has some resident lobsters always thought of securing a pot full of mackerel on it but never got around to it maybe soon as I do have a few pots . Plenty of juvenile fish in the rock pools as well . The rock pools vary on it some are long and shallow some are very deep . Would like to spend more time on it exploring the only problem is tide waits for no man lol
 

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Sounds interesting, plus thats just the metal shipwrecks. Imagine the amount of wooden crafts which perished well before those dates when charts didn't exist!
 

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Good post Derek,next time Im out there I shall take another load of pics.

Would like to bring back an old anchor or propeller as a souvenier but dont think my kayak would take it lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Good evening members,

In my opening post on this thread I stated "I have an image in the back of my mind of an incident sometime in the 1960's". Well hot off the press, I am delighted to say that my memory was correct. I received a most welcome P.M. for which I am extremely grateful, from a kayaking member of the forum and I am sure he will not mind me quoting his letter:- Quote: "Have been on Tusker a few times and the prop and boiler are from a recent wreck 1968, the SS Steep Holm, a Dredger. Hope this helps and I still have one of your Bones Bass Rods, what a rod". If you read this G.B. I will be sending you a P.M. shortly but in the meantime, thank you for taking the trouble to inform me"

SS Steep Holm was a British Utility Steam Dredger built in 1950 by Hill Charles & Sons, Bristol City Line (weight 532 tons) for the owner Holms Sand and Gravel Co. Ltd, Bristol. There were 7 crew on board when she foundered on Tusker , 03/ 10/ 1968. There is no mention of any casualties so must assume all were saved, thank goodness. I can remember the report and pictures published in both the South Wales Echo and the Glamorgan Gazette.

Any other snippets of information or photographs would be most welcome.

Best regards,

Ticker (Derek)
 

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Derek,

Fascinating thread. Here is a photo of the SS Steep Holm from 1959:

Near Bristol on the River Avon 1959 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!


The address for "The Chronology of Bristol Channel Shipwrecks 1687 - 1983, compiled by Ron Tovey" is:

http://www.swanseadocks.co.uk/Gower%20wrecks%20Rons%20write-up%20site.pdf

There are a lot of interesting events on there. We know about the efforts of lifeboat crews on the water but the account of the Lynmouth lifeboat in the rescue of "Forrest Hall" in 1899 is really amazing. Have a read.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good evening ffifer,

Thank you for your interesting post and the link to the photograph of the SS Steep Holm sailing on the river Avon before her demise. Also for sourcing the link to "The Chronology of Bristol Channel Shipwrecks 1687 - 1983, compiled by Ron Tovey" website. When researching this website for Tusker orientated vessel losses, I did stop off and read several of the cameo texts of other ships at different locations in the B.C. Absolutely fascinating reading and very well presented. Well worth a visit !!

Once again, thank you ffifer for taking the trouble to post this information.

Best regards,

Ticker (Derek)
 

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With the SS steepholm going down in 1968,this would make me two years old at the time.
I will hold that thought next time I visit it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Good evening Fiffer,

Thank you for posting the latest picture of the unfortunate steam dredger the SS Steep Holm that fell foul of Tusker Rock. The new photograph and the background of Bristol Docks does justice to this smart looking, down to earth working vessel and it is a pity that it was lost in this way, although the saving of the 7 person crew was a relief. As Richard points out, he was just 2 years old at the time, I have to confess that I was 27 years old with a young family.

Thank you Fiffer for finding that atmospheric photograph.

Best regards,

Ticker (Derek)
 

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Pmsl I was -5 so I guess my old man was practicing . Can't wait to get back out there on the bigger tides . I will certainly get you some more photos a lot of history around a small landmark . I should be getting a tandem kayak through the winter if you fancy going there on a flat calm day next summer Derek ( no paddling required ) let me know
 

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Sorry to dig up such an old thread but I found it so interesting, does anyone have further pics of Tuskar and it’s wreckage
 
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I remember seeing a wreck on Tusker when I was young, must have been the 1968 SteepHolm. I was 5 at the time and could see it from home.
 

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Good to see this old post back. Unfortunately I had to get rid of my kayak but I have a collection of pics and the memories of being on such an eerie place.
 
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