Clifton: One to Avoid

Back in 2013 I made a night-time visit to the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, and spent a bit of time photographing the bridge designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel which spans the Avon Gorge between Avon and North Somerset. A truly impressive piece of engineering, considering it is a century and a half old. Lots of angles to shoot the bridge from – from river level, from bridge level and way up at the Observatory so plenty of opportunity to shoot the bridge and get a good image.

Travelling southwest to Bath last week we thought we’d take the opportunity to head to the Clifton Suspension Bridge and catch sunset there. Spring is finally upon us, the trees are becoming green and the weather looked like it would co-operate, so why not? 3hrs on the road no problem, we could then have dinner in Clifton before heading into Bath and our hotel for the evening before the LRPS assessment day the following morning.

Normally I would check out a shooting location beforehand on Flickr or similar, to see what angles might be available or if there was anything unusual to watch out for (good or bad). I didn’t with Clifton, what could possibly go wrong with a 150-year-old bridge in Bristol?

The answer in one word: Scaffolding. LOTS of scaffolding. Completely covering the eastern tower of the bridge. Wasn’t expecting that. Doh. Speaking to the security guard the scaffolding has been going up for 7 weeks and wasn’t finished yet. When finished the summer would be spent re-pointing the tower and doing work on the lighting system before the scaffolding comes down in November. BUT. Then in February next year they’ll be starting the same work on the western tower – so that’ll be under cover for the best part of 2016 too!

So, a word of advice. As nice as the Clifton Suspension Bridge is don’t head there for a year or two expecting great pictures of the span because it looks a little off with a tower covered in scaffolding!

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