Sunday, 8 February 2015

No triremes on the Solway

These days I'm rather boring to other people. My daily routine is: write and research in the morning, walk in the afternoon, do domestic stuff in the evening. Even my research isn't exciting on its own, though lately I've been learning a lot about Ancient Greek warships called triremes, which could be of interest to some (see below). 

So as a sequel to my January posting about walking in London, this posting is mainly about my walk by the Solway Firth in Cumbria on Friday. It's been foggy since then, but on Friday it was almost Greek weather ...

On the way down to the beach and a milky-looking sea ...

... I found snowdrops right beside the road.

As I arrived on the beach I put up a flock of seagulls, but there was no one else there, just me and the birds.
The Romans had a lookout on that hill - Mile Fortlet 21. 
They may have beached their boats on this shore.
The Hellenes (Ancient Greeks) I'm writing about were 500 years earlier and never left the Mediterranean. They pulled their ships up on land every night by a tideless sea.
What would they have thought about a water-line that could move up to half a mile, twice a day? 
The triremes had around 170 rowers. They couldn't have hauled them out of reach of the tide here, even with that many men and these windless conditions.
But there goes the sun ...

... and there go the birds. Time to turn for home.

Even the factory can look nice on an evening like this. It's not often it makes a question mark with its steam.

Goodnight, Solway Firth. 

So back to my desk, and my research. This is a rather confusing photograph because the poster is very reflective. But you can see the overall shape of the war ship, with the sharp ram at the front and the stern like a scorpion's tail.  The caption is a quote from The Birds by Aristophanes in which one man asks 'Where are you from?' and another answers 'From where they make the beautiful triremes.' He means Athens.

The poster was on the railings beside the reconstruction of a trireme commissioned by the Greek Navy and built in 1987, called 'Olympias'.

She stands under her specially constructed ship shed by the sea in Faliron, near Athens. She is beautifully cared for and there is no entrance fee. There's a comprehensive blog post about her, written last year by Ellen Brundige, here, with facts, figures, photographs and impressive videos of her underway. 

from Hellenic Navy's website, linked from Ms Brundige's blog

Imagine seeing something like this being rowed up the Solway Firth and turning towards you as you stand alone on an empty beach ...

all photographs © Julia M Newsome unless otherwise credited.