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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Pill, Pill, I love thee still

Today, in need of some fresh air I went to the village of Pill at the mouth of the River Avon for a walk and to take some photos. [Take a look please at all John's Pill photos] With the wind from the North, the air was certainly fresh and for about the first time this winter I felt the need of a pair of gloves. It was low tide and all the boats in the little creek harbour were stranded on the mud, which was gleaming in the sunshine. Pill was in centuries past, the home of the skilled river pilots who met larger ships, entering the River Avon from the sea. The river winds upstream for about 10 km from here to Bristol City Docks and with the second highest tidal range in the world and many shifting sand and mud banks, the entrance to Bristol by sea was always treacherous and needed a special local knowledge. Ships had to be towed upriver on the rising tide and safely moored before the ebb. At low tide ships had to rest on the river bed. The journey for a ship being towed from Pill to Bristol could take a week. Some ships anchored up at Pill and transferred their cargoes to small boats which, piloted by the famed Pill Hobblers were rowed and towed upstream to the port.
Pill has been made famous in Folk Song by the Wurzels: -
Pill, Pill, I love thee still

Even though I'm leaving
Pill, Pill, I love thee still
When the ferry boat starts heavin
When the rain down pours,
the thunder roars
The lightnin flashes bright
I'll be better by far in The Duke or The Star
Than on the Old Pill Ferry tonight.

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