Cynhaliaeth Priffyrdd

During our 2018 family reunion at The Anchorage the weather as cold and wet, but we managed some trips to the crabbing bridge with the grandchildren.  However the number of crabs caught was dismal. Whereas a bucketful was previously normal we were getting only one or two crabs each trip.  This might have been due to the cold weather but I decided to keep my eyes on the bridge.

Only a few weeks later I visited the beach and was surprised to see a large van parked on it with the sign ‘CYNHALIAETH PRIFFYRDD/ HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE painted on it. At the same time the tide was out and the crabbing bridge standing out.   But at either end of the bridge was a sign ‘SLIPWAY CLOSED’.    So I went over to the van and had a chat with a Mr Churchill who was sitting inside.  He told me that Highway Maintenance had an arrangement with the National Parks to clean the footbridge every month.  He also did this for the footbridge over the Gann near Dale.   In the summer a slippery green weed grows on the rocks around the Pembrokeshire coast and on the crabbing bridge. The slippery green weed is the main food for shellfish.   I assumed Mr Churchill had scrubbed the weed off the foot bridge with a long handled brush so as not to damage the environment.

I went down to the footbridge that was looking remarkably clean and weed free with the new cement sections gleaming whitely in the sun.   But I was overwhelmed by strong chlorine smells – very familiar to me as hypochlorite sold in Pembrokeshire farmers coops to keep the dairies clean.   I use a 50% mix with water each spring to clean the patio and asphalt and some of the walls of The Anchorage of moss and green algae. So I returned to the van to be told that yes he sprayed strong hypochlorite solution on the footbridge and did this every month.  Only a few years ago the stepping stones across the pill at Sandy Haven had been removed and long concrete footbridge sections lowered in their place.   It is these long sections that need the cleaning.  So the worrying thought came ‘Were the crabs being killed of by the strong hypochlorite solution?’

Happily our first family of visitors in the summer included a young girl who spent a whole day crab fishing on the foot bride and she caught and returned 256 crabs.  She proudly told me this herself on the final Saturday morning as the family had waited to tell me the good news.   So it seems that the chemical cleaning of the bridge is having no ill effects on the crabs.

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