River Levels at Malvedos

Another gem from the photographic archive at Graham’s, which focuses on the river at the Quinta dos Malvedos, a bit upriver from the winery – here you can see a little sand bar of sorts alongside the shore, and see how low the river was, and the very narrow navigable channel which veered towards our shore, back at the turn of the 20th century, before damming in the 1970s.

River at Quinta dos Malvedos, circa 1900

In a photo taken just a few days ago, you can see that that sand bar now has trees and shrubs growing on it, and has built up a bit on the outside edge, creating a shallow lagoon nearer the shore.  Just where the water is reflecting the sun you can see the marker for the navigable channel, which seems to follow the same route as it did over 100 years ago.

Sandbar October 2010

Finally, those of you who have followed Graham’s blog or conditions in the Douro generally this year, may recall that March was our sixth straight month of 100mm or more rainfall.  This photo was taken at the end of March from the train passing through en route to Tua.  Not only are most of the trees in over their heads, you can see from the white water around them how fast the river was moving.

At that time, the train service was terminating in Tua because those heavy rains had caused some rockfall and washout further up river, and it took another month or more before they could safely restore service.  Even now, work is ongoing just up the line from us, around Alegria, to secure the cliff faces so we don’t have any more rock falls and washouts on the train line.

Flooding in March 2010