Series meeting the people who live and work around Britain's port cities. This episode looks at the people who keep Bristol's bustling harbour and port running day and night.
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Around the coast of Britain are cities
where lives are shaped by the sea.
-SHIP HORN BLOWS
-Gets the heart going a bit.
Each city is a gateway to the wider world.
And around each city,
thousands of people work in jobs that touch all of our lives.
Lovely to meet you.
-Whether it's keeping us safe...
-The casualty's breathing.
..or keeping us smiling.
Yes, my love? Don't spend your bus fare, will you.
Jobs that keep the nation afloat.
We're at call 24/7, 365 days a year.
From clocking on in the morning...
..to relaxing after work.
The seaside beckons.
Around the shores and rivers of their home towns,
water brings people together.
On the west coast of England,
Bristol's port is waiting for a precious cargo.
Guys, we got a bit of a problem with these traffic lights, haven't we?
In the old docks, new skills are on show.
That's better, that'll do.
Eight weeks ago, I couldn't do a single length.
It feels like a big challenge.
And the Harbour Festival has more on show than usual.
I've got two naked people struggling to get out of the water.
The Port of Bristol sits at the point where the River Avon
empties into the Severn estuary.
It's made up of three docks that handle around 3,000 ships a year
from all over the world.
And just 18 men are responsible for tying and untying them,
day or night.
It's a job they call hobbling.
Quite a busy week so far, as you can see, all the wrong side of midnight.
Alan Ring is one of this select group of dock workers,
known as pill hobblers.
We come on whenever there's ships coming in,
two or three hours before high water, two or three hours after.
So, you could be out six, eight, nine hours, home,
and wait for the next tide.
There's basically two shifts in a 24-hour period.
So at the moment we've got the Aristidis,
which is currently holding a cargo of molasses.
We're just waiting for her to come alongside so we can receive her lines.
Matthew Stephen, or Boff as his friends call him,
is the newest recruit.
In the split.
Another two lines to go.
We're fine, as long as these go up all right.
Basically, if we're not there, if the hobblers aren't in attendance,
the ships don't get moored, they can't come alongside,
they can't discharge cargo, you can't pick up cargo.
So the hobblers are quite an intrinsic part
of the day-to-day running of the port.
The pill hobblers have a unique history,
dating back to medieval times.
To be one, you have to live in the village of Pill,
two miles upriver from Avonmouth.
In the days of sail, they've no engines,
and when a ship comes into a river or an estuary,
they're at the mercy of the tides.
And because of our position on the river,
we play a major, major part in Bristol developing as a port.
In effect, this was part of the Port of Bristol.
The old Port of Bristol is a few miles upriver from Pill.
Beyond Isambard Kingdom Brunel's famous suspension bridge,
there are plenty of reminders of its proud maritime past.
Today, warehouses and wharfs have been redeveloped
into bars, shops, and luxury apartments.
Even one of the city's cranes is getting a face-lift.
-Hiya, you all right?
-You all right?
Tom Dixon and his team are in the final stages of converting it into
a high-end bed and breakfast, and with only a week to go before
the first guests arrive, the pressure's on.
This is a little bit all hands to the pump
just in this final push to get it all finished.
The whole project is about being creative and clever in how you use
materials, so recycling where we can,
trying to keep things as locally as possible.
We are going to have a compost loo and a shower,
we are even going to try to use an old watering can
for the, for the shower head, which I think is going to be really fun.
Oh, look at that. Ollie, that's brilliant.
-Looks all right, doesn't it?
-It looks awesome.
Great call on painting it black as well.
It looks just brilliant.
This is the living area,
and we're going to have a big sofa along here, loads of plants.
We've got the really cool wall at the end.
And then it's just the amazing view, that's really what this is about,
so it's really going to feel like this bubble of nature.
There is still a lot to do.
And with only seven days to go,
the project's architect Simon Parfitt
is literally climbing the walls.
The most difficult challenges have been around the structure
and getting that to work, and then it's really just been timing,
trying to get around the weather.
We're doing the last seals on the roof.
So been welding the roof watertight.
We've had just torrential rain for the last three or four days.
We're maybe one day behind, perhaps two days behind.
We've got no contingency time at all now,
so we really are up against it.
Back in Pill,
Alan likes to keep some of the old hobbler traditions alive,
This, sculling, is a form of moving a boat,
propelling a boat with one oar.
It was a common practice in dockland, rivers.
And if you imagine you're coming alongside a moving vessel,
if you're rowing, you then, as you come alongside,
you have to pull the oars in.
So there is a point where you have no control over that boat.
Nowadays, you would just pull the cord and go "zzz"
and zip across with your outboard motor.
He's on his way to pick up their newest hobbler recruit, Boff.
All right, Boff.
I joined up in April of this year.
So still an infant in comparison to some of the other guys
which have been doing it for many, many years.
At their height, more than 100 Pill hobblers worked the ships
coming in and out of Bristol.
It's different to any job that I've ever had.
The hours can be unsocial, we work tidal hours,
so we're at call 24/7, 365 days a year.
Today, the hobblers are taking their work boat downriver
for some maintenance.
Makes it a little bit easier, having an engine,
as opposed to doing it by oar.
In a few days' time they'll be taking care
of a multi-million pound cargo at the Royal Portbury Dock.
Your first commitment is to the job
and to the running of the port.
The Bristol Harbourside Triathlon is a week away.
A gruelling sporting event, it involves swimming in the city docks.
For Alex De Mornay, that's a daunting prospect.
Just two months ago, she could barely swim.
Today is her final lesson before the race.
Well, I've had to start from scratch, basically.
Eight weeks ago I had my first lesson,
Tuesday, 18th of April, I remember,
and I've had a half-hour lesson once a week since then.
The hardest part has just been learning to combine everything,
each of the individual bits of the stroke on their own are OK,
but putting it all together is remarkably complicated, actually.
I also have a tendency to panic.
So when I can't feel, when I feel like I'm not about
to breathe properly, then it makes me panic
and I guess that's my biggest fear for the triathlon.
Wait, wait, wait, Alex. Don't drop your elbow before right hand.
Do it... Yeah, better.
When I started eight weeks ago,
I couldn't do a single length in pool.
And on Sunday I've got to do 750 metres in Bristol Harbour,
so it feels a little bit like a big challenge.
Alex is taking part to raise money for Parkinson's UK,
a charity that's very close to her heart.
My father had Parkinson's disease.
He had that when I was growing up,
and very sadly he died when I was just 24.
And that was very painful to watch
because it is a disease that robs you of so much.
It's not just her dad who battled with the disease.
13 years ago, my mum was diagnosed with Parkinson's,
and then, a few years ago, my aunt was diagnosed with Parkinson's,
so it just feels like the whole family has been really affected
by this disease.
Her mum, Elizabeth, is cared for in a specialist nursing home in Sussex.
It doesn't kill you, but it just makes your life so hideous
in so many ways and you lose so much control.
KNOCK ON DOOR
Hello. How are you?
-How are you?
-Gorgeous to see you. What have you got in there?
I've got my tri-gear.
It means an enormous amount to me.
She's such a lovable child, person,
she's such a lovable child.
So then I have goggles,
So they are quite wide.
-Are you going to try them on?
-I won't put them on. I'll do that.
I can't see a thing.
I think she's immensely courageous.
And so lovely that she cares.
And it makes a great difference to my life.
I felt powerless for years, because there's not much you can do,
there are, obviously, medications and things
but on a day-to-day basis, it is a very tough thing to deal with.
And I'm not a scientist, I can't contribute to research or anything,
but the one thing I can do, is try to raise some money
for those people who are researching.
That's why I decided to do the triathlon.
So I've got to somehow read through these between now and the race.
It's nearly midnight at the Royal Portbury Dock.
Pill hobblers Alan and Boff are starting the second half
of a gruelling double shift.
At the moment, tired. Still waking up a little bit.
Give us another half an hour or so,
and I'll be wide awake and fighting fit then.
I finished over in Avonmouth this morning, started at ten,
finished at about seven.
By the time showered, had something to eat,
taken the dogs out, bed by nine,
up by midnight ready to go again.
Boff's not been long in the job, so how's he measuring up?
He's doing OK, yeah.
They do say it takes a couple of years to get used to the tides
and the rosters and the timing, you know, things like that.
You know, he's coming on well, yeah.
I've got to put up with him until I retire anyway,
so I've got to say nice things!
The ship they're tending is the Ciudad de Cadiz.
It's waiting to load an £8 million cargo from the Airbus factory
ten miles up the road.
At Airbus, Stewart Slatford is the man in charge
of delivering it to the port safely.
Right, let's go and find some wings.
Welcome to darkness.
Hope the lights come on.
Beneath the tarpaulin is one of two wings for the military aircraft,
They were made here at the Filton factory a week ago,
and are each worth £4 million.
This is quite an expensive load, obviously.
Normally about six escort vehicles.
We look after the security of the load
as we're travelling down the motorway.
They'll be travelling in convoy, and to keep stops to a minimum,
they have a secret weapon that is sure to be the envy
of every motorist.
On our usual route we have full control of the traffic light system.
So we have a little transponder tag in each vehicle,
so as we approach a set of lights,
they turn green for us, red for everybody else.
Not that we're going to tell necessarily,
but that's what the transponder tag looks like.
That means I can run a red light.
-Well, no, because it will make them green.
You won't run a red light, that'll make them green for you.
It keeps the whole convoy together,
we don't have any issues with red lights, it keeps everything moving,
and keeps our convoy on time.
Jerry Williams is driving the lead truck.
-Keep that line, Jerry. Looking good.
Oh, I'm looking good.
No, the trailer's looking good by the sounds of it.
Green lights. We're go, go, go.
He's followed by another eight vehicles, taking up both lanes,
and more than 100 metres of road.
INDISTINCT RADIO CHATTER
-Looking good at the back.
Stewart's bringing up the rear,
keeping other drivers from cutting into the convoy.
It's essential for safety that they all stick together.
OK, I've got a red light here.
Guys, we've got a bit of a problem with these traffic lights, haven't we?
Mick's stopped the traffic so we're going to proceed.
It looks like those transponders aren't working.
Right, this isn't good news.
And whatever happens, I should not go through a red light.
At the next set of lights, it's confirmed,
there's a problem with the transponders.
Traffic lights have changed.
These lights should be green for me.
-Are you in a safe position, yeah?
Yeah, I'm in a safe position, yeah, I am, I don't know about Kev.
But there's two cars, a couple of cars coming up the slipway now.
They have no option but to run the red light.
I'm afraid I've got to,
because otherwise the convoy is going to break up.
All right, James, we are all on the slip, I think.
The whole system is not working this evening so, um...
I don't know why, we're going to have to get it investigated
when I get back to work on Thursday.
-Lane one is clear, and lane two is clear.
Next stop, the Royal Portbury Dock.
The wings are so wide they're causing a massive tailback.
And there's the boat across there.
Despite the technical problems,
they've arrived at the port on time and in one piece.
All that's left is to get the wings safely into the hole.
Keep it coming, Jerry, keep it coming.
They'll come out with a plan and they'll check it,
and if we're not in exactly the right position, they'll make us move the trailer.
-Stop, stop, stop.
We're good, we're in position. That is good news.
We're just waiting for the first officer
to be happy with the trailers.
And then we'll sign off the paperwork
and we'll wave the vessel goodbye.
It's leaving on the early tide. Ready to go.
That's fine. Was that the ramp?
-If that was the ramp, we're running now, all right.
Another set of wings from Airbus delivered safely for export.
It's the 20th pair this year to be shipped to Spain,
where they're put together with parts from all over Europe
to make up the A400M military aircraft.
Alan and Boff just need to do their job to see her off safely.
Stand well back from the ropes, please.
There's a bit of a language barrier, obviously,
with different ships coming in, so a lot of hand signals,
a lot of gestures, two lines, one line, slack,
winch up, winch down.
Some ships crews are absolutely brilliant
but it only takes one or two crew members to heave up on a line
when they should be slacking a line,
and it can all throw it out a little bit.
But the Cadiz, especially, is one of our regular runners,
so they're pretty switched on, this crew.
Bristol's harbourside has a thriving community of people
who live on boats.
This former Dutch barge is home to the Wakeham family.
I'm probably the only one in my school who lives on a boat.
Same with me.
Maria and Billy live with their parents, Rick and Helen.
It's surprisingly like family life anywhere else,
it's probably not as bohemian as it looks.
We've got normal things like bedrooms and baths,
and washing up, and all the things that everybody else has.
I mean, I think what's different about it,
is we've got access to the water,
so the kids wake up in the morning and there's a swan looking in the...
..in the porthole window.
I love my shoe.
This is our living room,
or saloon, I suppose I should call it, because it's a boat.
Sometimes we do find canoeists come and poke their noses in
through our windows.
Sometimes it's tempting to nip upstairs
and pour water over the side but I haven't done it yet.
Helen is a scientist at the Environment Agency
just across the harbour.
We're right in the centre of the city,
so it's easy to get everywhere.
It's a very short commute.
About 15 minutes' walk,
or five minutes if I get the little cross-harbour ferry.
The only person who has a shorter commute to work than me is Rick,
because his is about two minutes.
Rick is the skipper of one of Bristol's most famous ships,
Where's the lid for your lunch?
Right, kid, get your jumper on, let's go.
Billy is coming to work with me.
We're doing a gorge trip,
which is Bristol down to
about Avonmouth and back.
Come on then, we're going.
Right. That's all right. Just chuck it over your shoulder.
We have a full boat, 40 passengers plus crew,
which Billy is the youngest crew member.
See you, Helen.
All I do is, really, run the shop
and sometimes do the safety announcement.
-You steer the ship from time to time.
But not in the gorge though because I might run the ship aground.
And if that happened, I'd probably...
He'd probably kill me.
The Matthew is a replica of the ship that John Cabot sailed from Bristol
to discover North America in 1497.
Rick and his team of volunteers
take her on daily runs down the Avon gorge to raise money for the
charitable trust that owns her.
This is Penny.
She's one of the elder volunteers.
-Was that really necessary?
-Can I start again?
-Can I hit him?
This is Penny, one of our...one of our very efficient volunteers,
and she's actually counting the passengers on at the moment.
Thank you, skipper.
A very glamorous lady.
In the highly unlikely event of anything untoward happening,
please, remain calm and wait for further instructions from the crew.
Um, Bill, do you want to say something?
If anyone's interested in merchandise,
I'm selling stuff down there.
How much is it, Billy?
There's a price list.
-Thank you, Bill.
That was... Bill, that was fine.
The wind is our worst enemy with this ship.
You know, when it's windy, I mean, you know,
it can become dangerous to use it in the harbour.
Only because, you know, there's not a lot of space.
When you look what is above the water line,
it's a lot more than what's below.
So, you know, you get the wind beam on, sideways,
you can get yourself in a bit of a pickle.
Bill, can you take the helm for me, please?
Just keep her going round the bend.
Go on, over a bit more, kid.
Stand down by it, please, Bill.
If it's windy then I find it hard.
And if there's a very big current, I find it hard.
So I don't do it all the time but, when I do it,
it's a pretty good feeling.
Little Steve, he's got his accordion with him today
and he can't resist having a little play with it, you know?
Terr, going to want a couple of fenders on the other side.
Terry's the one with the blonde locks, as he likes to think.
There's just one lock to go to get down to sea level.
This lock now, we'll drop a good few feet at the moment,
maybe 15, 20 foot.
And then it should be at the same level as the river outside...
..and they will open the front gates and then we'll go.
They're out and on their way down river to Avonmouth...
..passing Victorian jetties where steamships once ferried passengers
to take the healing waters of Hotwells
and, then, under the world-famous Clifton Suspension Bridge.
At The Crane bed and breakfast, work is coming to a head.
The first guests arrive in 48 hours, and it's got to look right.
Interior decorators have got to come in before the bank holiday weekend
and they've got people coming in doing photo shoots, etc.
So there's not a lot of time left.
One of the themes of the build is recycling.
Tom Dixon, the company's MD, is here to check progress.
Yeah, it's looking really good,
compared to when I came in a few days ago.
This is looking really good as well.
This is all from the pallets that we reclaimed and sanded down.
It's definitely come on loads.
A tight space and a tight timeline.
-Yeah, and warm.
This whole unit is made from materials we've recycled
or made ourselves.
So this rather cool looking set of taps,
this is something that we've made.
This is from copper pipe.
It's just about trying to be creative and resourceful
with the kind of materials that we're using.
Planters that are going at the front
need those trailing stuff in them, don't they?
Nic Cross is in charge of planting.
It's all quite exciting.
The whole office is filled with plants for the inside
and now we've got to get this living wall up on the outside of the building,
which is going to make it look so much more beautiful
than it does at the moment.
There's a ledge all ready for them to just be sat onto
and then it is fixed in place.
The only problem is, I'm going to have to get roped up
and transfer them up and over onto the water side
because we no longer have scaffolding
and you can't obviously put the cherry picker over that side.
There's masses still to do, as you can see, so the race is on.
We'll all just do our best to get it ready in time for the weekend.
CHERRY PICKER BEEPS
It's the morning of the Bristol Harbourside Triathlon.
530 competitors of all ages and abilities are taking part.
It's crunch time for Alex de Mornay,
who could barely swim a few weeks ago.
Oh, um, excited and absolutely petrified,
to be honest, but it feels good.
It feels good. I'm glad to be here, you know.
I've been training for three months now,
so it's good to finally get it over and done with.
Oh, bright green. I like that.
She'll be doing what's called a triathlon sprint,
which is a 750m swim,
a 20km bike ride, and finishing with a 5km run.
I've just registered.
I'm in the right race, number 600, where I belong, at the back,
It's my first triathlon. In fact, I'm not remotely sporty.
So this has been a bit of a shock to the system.
And none of my friends thought...
It was sort of, "What are you doing? You don't do anything.
"Why are you doing a triathlon?"
Alex is doing this to raise money for Parkinson's research.
Her father died after having the disease
and her mother and aunt also have it.
Took mum a while to get her head round what I was doing.
"What? Darling, what IS a triathlon?"
I was like, "Well, you know, it involves a lot of swimming,
"and cycling and running."
Her cousin Philippa is here to cheer her on.
I know exactly what she's going through because I did it a couple of years ago.
You just, kind of... You don't know really what to expect.
As soon as you start it, it's going to be fine.
As soon as you start, you'll be like, right, this is my mission.
You'll be fine.
OK. I'll be fine.
-Some great times for the ladies today. Fantastic!
I had to learn to swim the front crawl to do this.
I mean, I'd learned to swim kind of doggy paddle as a kid
but I hadn't really done any since then.
So I thought, look, if I'm going to do this, I've got to do this properly,
so I've had eight weeks to learn to swim.
So it's, er... That's definitely the scary bit.
Swimming in a pool's completely different to swimming in open water.
The scariest thing for me is just how feral it looks out there
at the start because, you know, they just shoot off
and people like swim over you.
I'm terrified I'll get a black eye in the first 30 seconds!
I think she looks as if she's doing really well.
I just feel really nervous for her, but so proud of her,
because I know this is the worst part of it for her.
Genuinely, the swim was just terrifying.
For a start, I kept drinking in water and I just thought,
"Oh, my God, I'm not going to get round this."
With the swim completed, they have to collect their bikes for the next part of the race.
I'm so glad that's over.
Oh, my God! I'm so terrified.
The first...the first leg was horrible, absolutely horrible.
They are so close now to finding a cure for Parkinson's.
You know, there've been really exciting developments
but they need more funding.
And that will help cut the research time down from decades
to possibly years to find a cure.
You know, it may not be in time for my family, for my mum and aunt,
but at least it will be in time for the next generation of people
who, unfortunately, get this awful disease.
After the 20km cycle ride through the Avon Gorge
and under the Clifton Suspension Bridge,
it's a 5km run to the finish line.
This is my way of fighting back.
And it's the one thing I can do to just not be defeated
and make it better.
CROWD SHOUTS ENCOURAGMENT
She's crossed the line in a very respectable one hour and 46 minutes,
raising £4,000 for Parkinson's UK.
I've discovered a new me. Who knew I was an athlete?
I had no idea.
I think I'll do it again, but maybe take a bit of a rest first.
Mud and silt from the River Avon and River Severn
are a big problem for ships going in and out of the Port of Bristol.
Next week they're expecting the largest fuel tanker
the port's ever had here - the Amazon Falcon.
So they have to make sure the water's deep enough to dock her.
Their brand-new plough dredger is being dispatched
to clear mud and silt from the sea bed.
Jack Fryatt and Luke Goodley are putting it through its paces.
Yeah, it's a hell of a, sort of, accomplishment for myself and Luke.
24, to be in charge of a very expensive
and powerful, sort of, dredger and tug.
We've got the plough on the back-end of the boat
and we'll lower that down
to the required depth.
And then we drag from the back end of the entrance
out into the deeper water
and we raise it up and back back in,
and carry on like that all day.
The act of ploughing is probably the most boring thing you'll ever do.
Back up, drop it, go forwards, lift it.
Back up, drop it, go forwards, lift it.
But there is so much more to it, and it's really fun.
We've got to make out that dredging isn't a really nice job to have
because if we make it too glamorous, everyone will want it
-and then that's just bad.
-It is a very repetitive job.
It is repetitive.
If you like repetition, you're going to be a good plough boat person.
The Amazon Falcon arrives in two days.
But, even with the mud cleared,
getting a ship of her size into port safely will be a challenge.
The Port of Bristol stretches out for nearly 3,000 acres.
A gateway to the world,
it handles more than 12 million tonnes of anything
from orange juice and coal, to animal feed and cars.
It's a big beat for the port police -
a private force of 28 officers employed by the port.
Kevin Hazel is in charge.
This is the control room for us, our main sort of operating centre.
To my right is the duty sergeant, Carl, who is at the moment
trying to work out the roster and the duty stake for this afternoon.
On the other side, and over here,
he's in charge of international shipping and port facility security.
Hello. Good morning, Port of Bristol Police.
Last night, they caught a stowaway on board a car transporter ship.
As he doesn't speak any English,
they're trying to figure out what country he's from.
We probably think... Looking at the ship it's arrived on....
This is what is called a pre-arrival notice.
The ship's been in on...
..Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala.
After being in South America, I've just noticed on here,
last port of call was Spain.
One of the ways we prevent and detect crime
is searching vehicles when they leave the port.
The officer on the gate today is PC Nick Grant.
Morning, sir, all right?
Just a bit more of an extensive search, if that's OK.
What I'm going to get you to do is, if you just jump out,
I'll search inside the vehicle.
Just wait there a second.
We all do the back of van searches here,
especially the new vans coming out.
Um, over the past 12 months,
we have had a slight increase in stowaways and migrants.
And, as we don't want to be seen as a soft touch, we deal with it here.
We had one a couple of months back,
we had a group of four, or five migrants.
They basically ran, spread out over the docks,
and we managed to scramble some guys together and made four arrests.
Morning, sir. Are you OK? Is this a new vehicle you've just picked up?
-All right. If you come out the back with me, we'll just have a quick search.
They think the character they caught last night is from South America.
He's being held inside the police station.
Do you want to come and see our latest stowaway?
One of our car force drivers found this guy,
a gentleman from South America, running round the deck.
So we've given him some water...
It's an emerald swift,
..sometimes known as a green spiny lizard.
Also known as the swift lizard.
As you can see, it's quite quick.
Quite a fast little chap.
Um, not an endangered species.
We've been told it's from Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua.
And apparently he also likes insects,
so that's one of the tasks for one of the PCs later,
trying to catch some insects for it.
This is lizard man, come to collect our lizard.
Yeah, it's a stowaway, I understand.
Kevin's found him a new home with a council-approved reptile keeper.
A bit of a happy ending there.
It's nice to know he's going to somebody
who obviously understands how to look after lizards.
So, happy with that.
It's been six weeks of hard graft, and three years in the planning
but finally The Crane B&B is finished.
The team behind it are busy hosting the launch party
when Tom Dixon gets an unexpected call.
Oh! Oh, let's go and show her now. Yeah. Yeah, of course.
Two people from Bristol City Council are outside.
Hey, Zak. Yeah. Good to see you. Yeah.
Hi, Laura. Lovely to meet you. Yeah.
I haven't actually got a key. This is going to be the biggest...
Oh, no, wait a minute. Have I? Yes, I do.
-That would be embarrassing.
-Yeah, it would have been embarrassing.
Um, I'm a little bit nervous, I suppose.
Zak and Laura from Bristol City Council,
they're effectively almost like the landlord, I suppose, of the project,
so this is their crane.
Without their support, it would just never have happened.
So this is like the walkway through into nature
and all the lovely sensory sounds and smells.
What do you think, Zak?
-It's really good.
-Yeah? There's a lot of hard work in the whole thing.
They've worked just incredibly hard.
-Yeah. It looks brilliant.
The bathroom continues the rustic feel.
But the talk of the town is the toilet.
Er, everyone's asking about this compost loo.
This is a state...
This is a state of the art eco-compost loo,
so, it separates...
-Yep. Do you need more details?
The bedroom has a double in it with views of the dockside.
Nick has done an amazing job of the build.
From my point of view, it's kind of like, it's gone really smoothly.
It's really good. Yeah, it's fantastic.
The council are happy with it.
The crane has been given a new lease of life
and is ready for its first guests.
At the Royal Portbury Dock,
they're waiting for a mega shipment of aviation fuel.
She's actually just coming round Portishead Point now as we speak.
The Amazon Falcon has come from Qatar.
She's carrying 80 million litres in her tanks.
And, thanks to the hard work of the dredging crew,
the entrance is now deep enough to take her.
Mark Kelleher will be keeping a keen eye on things as they develop.
He's in charge of the lock.
It's nice to see the big ones.
Obviously, car boats and other vessels come day by day,
So these ones are just the one-offs.
They keep the job a little bit more interesting.
So, yes, gets the heart going a bit.
INDISTINCT RADIO CHATTER
She's the length of two football pitches and 40 metres wide.
That's across her beam in nautical terms.
She's a very beamy vessel, to be honest.
I don't know of a time that I've seen one at 40 metres beam.
The lock is only 42.7 metres.
Getting a ship this size into port will take some doing.
-A metre and a half left.
She's rubbing...she's rubbing the fender as she comes in.
So there's probably...
I can't see the other side but I wouldn't have thought
that there's any more than two metres at most.
Unfortunately, the middle gates have got a mind of their own and they...
With the way the water is going to be sucked around them,
they've got a tendency to creep out,
so it's just keeping a close eye on that one, with this one,
with having no room at all.
If she was to damage herself, the consequences could be catastrophic.
We'd hope that she doesn't injure herself in the lock
and lose her load.
I wouldn't expect a fire
but the risk of losing her load into the sea
is a greater risk than fire, I would say.
And just keeping an eye out for the hobblers as well.
These vessels, this size, they don't use just standard ropes.
They use steel cables.
So it's making sure that the hobblers
are doing the job safely as well.
-Lovely. Thank you, Alan.
There's just 20 metres to go.
She's through the lock and into port.
All that's left is for the Pill hobblers to use their boats
to tie her safely to the quayside.
It takes nearly two days to off-load her 80 million litre cargo
of jet fuel into this pipeline.
It's pumped directly to London Heathrow.
The airport gets a quarter of all its aviation fuel
delivered this way.
A couple of miles down the coast from Avonmouth is Portishead Marina.
Once part of the Port of Bristol,
its warehouses and wharfs
have now been turned into apartments and restaurants.
Today it offers the perfect location
to train a pack of extraordinary, life-saving animals.
Newfound Friends have been established for 28 years.
We are unique.
We are the only ones in the world that do what we do.
Dave Pugh is passionate about Newfoundland dogs.
Over the years the animals he's trained
have helped to save nine people from drowning.
Newfoundlands are working dogs.
The island they come from, Newfoundland,
is a bleak and austere place.
Because it's an island, it's got to be able to swim.
Temperature's very cold, windy.
He's got to be strong to do a job helping fishermen pull carts.
All kinds of things like that.
One of the dogs being trained here is Chewy.
His owner is Sue Pawson.
Me and my husband have been doing this for about 25 years now.
We've had quite a few Newfoundlands through the years,
from being puppies right through to adults,
doing the water rescue, doing the training.
Really enjoying it.
Dogs love the water.
We get in the water with the dogs.
I think the most challenging part is the boat
because the boat is a very scary thing, as a young dog.
You know, to actually jump out of the boat into the water,
to rescue that person.
Newfound Friends has raised over £1 million for good causes,
mainly by performing at public events.
Go, go, go!
One of the biggest in their annual diary
is the Bristol Harbour Festival.
And they've got just two weeks left to prepare.
The dog would do different situations,
different kinds of rescues for people,
multi-rescues, lifeguard rescues.
All kinds of scenarios that we've run through.
They will pull different things,
do log pulls, line pulls, boat pulls,
to show the strength of the dog.
I think the biggest challenge this year with the festival is
we've got a lot of young dogs.
We've lost quite a few of our experienced dogs
that have been old stalwarts to the festival.
So it's going to be a challenge to see how they react.
Not that we're not confident of what their ability in the water
but it's the reaction with the crowds and that sort of environment,
the noise, and everything else like that,
that can tend to put a dog off.
Yoda is Sue's other dog.
He's the youngest in the pack
and will make his debut at the Harbour Festival.
Yoda is... He is a challenge.
He's the only challenge that we've had.
My other Newfoundlands have never been as bad as what he is
but we'll see. We'll see how he gets on.
The build-up to the Bristol Harbour Festival has begun.
Ships from all over the UK come to take part in the two-day event.
But first they have to get through the lock.
Ben Wookey is in charge but not everyone's listening.
Hudson Bay City Docks.
Radio, can you back away, sir, over?
Hudson Bay, Hudson Bay. City Docks Radio, Channel 1-4.
Please answer me, over.
She's not answering her radio
and she thought that she would get in the way of the warship.
Hudson Bay, move.
Put your radio to channel 14 and then you can talk to me.
Stay out of the way until the warship is in.
He was clearly in the wrong. So...
And without his radio turned to channel 14,
there's no way that I could advise him.
These things happen.
It's a bit slow going,
as a lot of the ships are first-time visitors to Bristol.
Ah, well, we're running a little bit late.
Everyone's all a bit new to it,
so they like to take their time, especially over their own boats.
Takes a little bit longer for everyone to get tied up
on a very busy lock like today.
It's the busiest weekend of the year for the docks.
Well, sort of, 150 to 200 vessels, depending on the year really.
We've got to make spaces for them.
Deputy Harbour Master Pete Seed is on the hunt for last-minute berths.
Is Clive around? I just wondered if there was any spaces.
We've got a few boats we could fit in potentially.
Yeah, we've got... I think there's two of ours out. Oh, there he is.
Oh, there you go. Hello, mate.
Would you mind not making so much bloody noise?
How you doing, all right?
-How's it going, boys?
-All good, mate. All good.
Alan Ring has got the day off from hobbling,
so he's come to enjoy himself too.
One of my days out, Bristol Harbour Festival.
The plan today is just to have a gentle skull up the docks
and just generally mill about.
Er, you know, have a look, see what's going on.
You know, show off my skills a little bit, you know.
The Bristol Harbour Festival is officially underway
after a traditional soaking from the Pyronaut Fire Ship.
Mum always said I'd walk on water. She was right.
It's one of Bristol's biggest events of the year.
Crowds of a quarter of a million are expected over the two days
for a packed programme of maritime fun.
Crafts of all shapes and sizes are here,
made from all kinds of materials.
BOAT HORN HOOTS
There are races for boats made from paper...
..and those made from cardboard.
This is the Baby Balmoral.
This is a cardboard boat, this is.
We've got special permission from Hugh Thomas to paint her because
that's not strictly in the rules.
I think the boat will only just float.
It's ambitious to get so many of us in it.
Well, it may not look like much but that's because it isn't,
but we're confident.
We plan to win the most beautiful boat
and hopefully the Titanic Award for the most spectacular sinking.
One of them sinks before even starting,
while others take an early lead.
It's not long before the Baby Balmoral closes the gap.
But this lot can't seem to get away from the pontoon.
Keep going. Keep going.
The winner is the first round the buoy and back.
Top marks for getting round without your oars.
But it's too late.
The Baby Balmoral steams home.
Must be down to that paint job.
And their hopes of winning are sunk.
Of course, the full Harbour Festival experience wouldn't be complete
without a trip on The Matthew.
We're doing our round trips all day.
We'll carry a few hundred people down to Hotwells,
through the festival, past the Great Britain, and back.
There's a load of souvenirs that need shifting.
No supper for you tonight if you don't sell some of that merchandise.
Anyone for merchandise?
I'm selling pencils, key rings, sharpeners,
stuff like that.
And cards for any occasions.
Looks like Billy will be going hungry tonight then.
Floating Harbour, Matthew.
-Matthew, Floating Harbour.
Rick's got a plan he hopes will get people's attention,
that's if a full-size replica of a 15th century sailing ship hasn't already.
-Thanks so much.
Colin, who is the cannon master, so he calls himself.
We've got Steve, who's the powder monkey.
Right, we're free to fire.
David, and the team from Newfound Friends have been performing
at the Harbour Festival for 20 years,
but this year is different.
We've got a very young team today.
Um, unfortunately, over the last sort of 18 months,
we've lost a lot of our experienced dogs.
So it's time for the young ones to step up to the plate,
show what they're made of.
So far, they're all performing brilliantly.
Now it's time for the youngest in the pack.
Sue's dog Yoda makes his debut.
I feel very emotional, you know, because he's my baby.
It's all a new experience for Yoda.
And the crowds, the noise...
We're not sure how he's going to do today.
OK, here comes Yoda.
Now, Yoda's 17 months old and this is his first time
doing a public event, ladies and gentlemen,
so let's have some nice encouragement.
There he goes. Well done, Yoda.
Come on, ladies and gentlemen, this is his first time.
Well done, Yoda.
Come on, boy.
I'm over the moon.
I was a bit apprehensive because I thought,
will he go, won't he go?
But when he went, oh, God, the relief that was...
I could burst into tears right now, I really could.
Mummy's so proud of you. You're a good boy.
These are the first act's bits.
So they're already set up, which is great.
Yes, just putting the mics in for them now.
Betty Adesanya is in charge of the day's musical entertainment,
which has been months in the planning.
This is the Bristol Ensemble's school projects.
They've been working in schools,
teaching sets of the Handel's Water Music,
and the children have reinvented it and came up with their own thing.
We are from three schools in Bristol.
We've got some amazing professional people from Bristol Ensemble,
including Alison on the cello over there,
and our first piece for you today...
..is called Cucumber Sandwiches.
Sounds good, so I think it's all going all right.
But it's not just the kids she's looking after.
She's also managing the closing ceremony of the Harbour Festival.
A live musical performance from a boat.
The Tower Belle's the boat that the orchestra are going to be on
and they'll be leaving this dock at 5:30pm on the dot,
if everything goes to plan.
There's just time for the Bristol Ensemble orchestra
to have a quick practice.
They'll be performing Handel's Water Music.
But, with minutes to go before they're due to start,
the heavens open.
Wow! The weather's not going to plan.
It's absolutely chucking it down.
I'm really hoping it's going to pass in the next 15 minutes.
But if not, the show must go on.
ORCHESTRA PLAYS SINGIN' IN THE RAIN
Right now I'm just waiting for the Harbour Master's boat.
Hopefully he's going to show up soon, um,
and then I guess we'll just start.
We're going to move out into the water in about five minutes.
-We're moving out in about five minutes?
And then the music will start at 5:30pm and we'll play here for about
-ten minutes and then we'll move up.
-That sounds great.
The sun's going to come out any minute now.
So once the sun's come out, any second now,
we're going to navigate the boat into the middle of the water
and we're just going to let all the rest of the boats
position themselves around us.
I think we're ready to go. Everyone's in place.
OK, let's do it.
Good luck, guys.
MUSIC: Water Music, Suite No 1 by Handel
This is a real shame because you can't really see the ensemble
through the plastic covers.
Ideally we want to bring them up.
There's a break in the rain, so Betty decides to raise the curtains.
Shall we do it? OK, guys, let's get the sides up.
Let's get the sides up.
LOUD SHIP HOOTER
MUSIC: Water Music, Suite No 2 by Handel
Some onlookers appear to have been moved so much by the performance
they've bared all to the crowds.
I've come over to make sure you're all right.
I've got two naked people struggling to get out of the water,
-as far as I'm concerned.
-Oh, come on.
You're in a public space at the moment, to be honest.
So you've chosen to go swimming in the docks,
which, A, is a bylaws offence...
No, why is a naked body an offence?
After some friendly but firm diplomacy,
Pete finally gets them to cover up.
Have we got a bottom for the top as well?
There we go. You've got a bottom, she's got a top, has she?
You have a... Have a nice evening, all right.
-Cheers then. Bye-bye.
There's a first for everything, isn't there?
That's the first time in 24 years I've had to do that.
There have been a few naked men but no naked girls.
LOUD SHIP HOOTER
The 46th Bristol Harbour Festival draws to a close.
It's been a great success despite the damp finish.
All the boats turned up,
the ensemble sounded amazing.
There were just hundreds of people, a really good turnout.
I'm really happy with it.
It is a great city.
If the dogs and what we do as a charity can give something back
to the city, then great.
This is what it's all about and, you know,
everyone's enjoying it and it's a nice thing to be involved with.
It's great, the Harbour Festival.
It's just nice being on the water,
A nice ending to quite a busy week's work.
But there you go,
when you're enjoying yourself, time flies.
Sea Cities Bristol gives a unique insight into the people who keep the city's bustling harbour and port running day and night, all year round.