We have already done an article on the Doom Bar earlier today. The article was titled, “England’s Sinister & Cursed Sand Bar That Eats Ships”. We learned how the sand bar came into existence and how the stories of it being cursed started to spread around. We learned about the mermaid’s curse too! What we didn’t learn in the previous article was the attempts that were made to get rid of the sand bar. This article will cover exactly that.
The First Attempts of 19th Century to Kill the Doom Bar
The Doom bar was pretty much in action well into the 19th century. Hundreds of ships were becoming victims. People were thinking of measures to get rid of the situation. In the process, a very ambitious solution was proposed in year 1846. The idea came from Plymouth and Padstow Railway. The idea was simple – get rid of the Doom Bar completely. But how?
The company said, ‘hey, let us build breakwaters that will stop sand influx’. The company then said, ‘hey, when the sand influx stops, lets scoop out the bar completely’. The question that next followed was, ‘what to do with the sand?’ The company again said, ‘hey, let’s put the sand to agricultural use’.
Good plan but it was abandoned. In 1858, the plan was revisited only to be laid off again by British Parliamentary Select Committee on Harbours for Refuge. Why was the plan scrapped off? Two premises actually:
- The project would be too expensive.
- The Doom Bar will rebuild itself again.
Other Attempts to Kill the Doom Bar
Several other plans came in to kill the Doom Bar completely. One of those plans was to build guide walls – two of them and really massive in size. The idea was to use the walls to move in fast-moving water into the area. What was expected? The fast-moving water would wash away the bar completely. Was it practical? No! Not really so! The idea was scrapped.
The second idea was to carve out the cliffs of the Stepper Point. The idea was simple – doing so will improve wind flow. More passage will be created. Mariners will get access to better maneuverability and can get past the sand bar. Really? Well, as it happened that the plan was actually put in business. A part of the cliff was actually carved off. Unfortunately, that didn’t help as well and shipwrecks were caused by the Doom Bar.
A Solution for Doom Bar that Continues till Today
In late 19th century and well into 20th century, a solution was thought of – not a permanent one though! Machineries were used to scoop out the sand from Doom Bar and other estuaries were made that would go around the sand bar. This practice is still in business today. In 2009, 120,000 tons of sand from the Doom Bar were removed. Unfortunately, the sand bar, pretty much enigmatically rebuilds itself. More disturbing is the fact that the Doom Bar rebuilds itself almost as fast as it is degenerated. So, bottom line is that the stretch of sand that has destroyed hundreds and even thousands of ships will never go away and the horror will continue.
Shipwrecks caused by the Doom Bar were counted since the beginning of the 19th century. Can you guess how many incidents have been recorded since then? 600! One of the most recent incidents was the beaching of two yachts in 2007. Luckily the yachts were beached and helicopter rescue managed to get the people onboard.
Prior to that, 1997 the Doom Bar capsized a fishing boat, killing two fishermen who were thrown off into the treacherous sea and they didn’t have life rafts to save their lives. A similar incident happened back in 1994.