Summer 2014 Part II – fish!

Posted in Cornwall, Fun, Music, Photographs, Sailing, Walking with tags , , , , , on August 11, 2016 by maidofmettle

This picture I took while walking north of Gerrans Bay shows why there were quite so many dolphins around – the wind is calm and the patches of ripples on the water are all teeming shoals of fish swarming in the bay – a spectacular sight and hopefully encouraging for local ecology and businesses alike. IMGP2901 (Custom)

I did quite a bit of walking in the area over the next few days – very tempting with another spectacular dawn over Gull Rock… IMGP2745

and time for a little excursion across Gerrans Bay.. IMGP2747

.. to add some interest to the view from the Nare Hotel. I didn’t even charge them. IMGP2750

..but I did enjoy the rather lovely Carne Beach (after I’d finished hauling the dinghy up it anyway).

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Lovely and clear though the water looked, the wind was still very chilly, so rather than being tempted into a swim I headed out along the coast path.

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Besides enjoying the walk I was also making note of where the rock and/or seaweed patches were to avoid them when next anchoring off. I also peered down into various coves – this one used to be a refuge for fishing boats, but probably for hauling them up on the beach, the anchoring prospects didn’t look ideal.. IMGP2762

Here is the ‘summit’ of Nare Head, looking back west across Gerrans Bay to Portscatho.. IMGP2770

..and here is the view from it down to Gull Rock, and away to the Dodman in the east. IMGP2773

After exploring a bit more on land I headed back to the boat and sailed a similar route, but this time a few hundred yards offshore- there was still room to sneak between Gull Rock (on the right, yes it does look more like a whale, yes I probably have said that before, yes I suspect more gulls than whales are seen on it, indeed) and the mainland. IMGP2818

The first place we headed past was Portloe –Β  I was thinking of stopping, but was rather put off by having to tack suddenly to avoid a fishing buoy moored by great length of floating line laying on the surface, and then losing the wind completely close to the cliffs. IMGP2821

Besides, it was a fine day for sailing still. I didn’t think the possible anchorages off either Porthallow..

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or Porthluney..

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would be all that sheltered in this wind, and was proved right, with the nominal north-westerly funnelling along the coast. However it did prove surprisingly co-operative for sailing back west again, just managing to glide through the passage between Gull Rock and Nare Head again before tacking back into Portscatho for the evening. IMGP2829

The next day I rowed ashore early on..

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..having got rather used to a quick early morning swim after hauling the dinghy up the beach (leaving a rather curious track it must be said…)

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The sky was starting to look rather interesting..

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..but I decided it was worth risking a walk round the bay again, this time from Portscatho to yesterday’s start point of the Nare Hotel (and back). The coast path mostly goes along the top of the cliffs, but there are several places where you can drop down onto the beach for a change of scenery – including some surprisingly lush vegetation here: IMGP2899 (Custom) (2)

It was another day that got steadily better – ideal for walking with sunshine and a cooling breeze.

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Here we are back in Portscatho again.

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I couldn’t resist going for a quick sail across the bay in the evening sun – just across the bay and back before popping into the Plume and making plans for another fishing expedition the next day.

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This time we get full technicolour with Si having recruited both Debs and Helen as crew already and signed me on as helmsman/photographer. Unsurprisingly they have lots of pictures of Kensa from afar but very few close-up, and not while working, given the general issues of being busy, and fish, and fish scales..

So here we have everyone else working away while I practise the art of steering with one hip while taking pictures – it was good the conditions were still perfectly sheltered, and that I had a little practice at steering Kensa already – she is a well-behaved boat to handle, but very different to the Maid.

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We found a good spot on the way out, and the ice box in the middle was filling up pretty quick. It’s a fine job when the weather’s good and the fish are biting – for other times a lot of resilience and some alternative income options are as vital as ever.

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Helen and Debs are fishing in the foreground here with Portscatho in the background. The mainsail is set again to take as back to Portscatho – not that the fish had stopped biting but there was no point catching more fish than Si and Cat could be pretty confident of selling fresh.

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Back in Portscatho, I’d say this was a marathon gutting session in progress, but in fact it was impressively quick.

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And here is some of the catch in close-up.

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Since I am useless at gutting fish we gave me something to do by accidentally setting one dinghy adrift, so I rowed off in pursuit. By the time I got back pretty much everything was sorted except lowering the mizen sail and putting the cover on.

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I had another invigorating swim the next morning

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before a bit of wandering round the harbour.

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and then heading back to the boat to get on with some jobs aboard.

The next day’s weather looked rather more unpredictable…

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but happily cleared as boats started arriving for the town’s regatta day.

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The seafront was even busier

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though not quite as intimidating as the racing fleet!

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I had been half-persuaded into doing a bit of racing (this was of course in the pub..) but happily ended up with the even better (and less scary) plan of meeting up with a friend and his dad for lunch in Portscatho and then sailing them across the bay in the afternoon.

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Doug proved a very competent helmsman, and it was a quick and smooth trip across the bay.

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A quick drop-off at Carne Beach, and then I set sail again to sail round into Carrick Roads to be ready to take the tide up the Fal in the morning. More beautiful sunshine sailing round the coast of the Roseland..

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..and in past St Anthony’s Head lighthouse..

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and beautiful evening sunshine for the arrival in St Mawes, where I rowed ashore again later to meet Doug & family in the sailing club for a coffee. This social life business can require some co-ordination!

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The next day I headed up the Fal

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albeit with some amusing hi-jinks in Carrick Roads when my badly tied knot allowed the dinghy to escape, and inevitably it headed out of the main channel and into water too shallow for Maid before I could get to it. Happily some quick examination of the chart revealed the bank was shallowest next too the main channel and I could motor round the back of it to grab the errant dinghy before it ended up ashore. The alternative would probably have been trying to beg assistance from somebody else with a dinghy or else anchoring off Turnaware and swimming ashore to walk round to it (not appealing at all with that day’s weather), and either way being very late for the party.

Party? Ah, yes – this was for an annual Ocean Cruising Club gathering up the Fal – a good chance to meet others with similar interest, and usually vastly more experience, in long distance cruising, and generally enjoy excellent company.

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Admittedly this was a relatively small gathering, as the poor weather had led to a rearranging to the main event to occur down in Falmouth, but very good fun nonetheless.

The next day I dropped back down the Fal a little way, to an anchorage off Roundwood Quay with a rather curious view downstream!

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(the Fal is commonly used as a lay-up for ships that aren’t being used at present)

Later a couple I’d met down this way before tied up at the quay to dry out and do some maintenance work, and we had a lovely walk further inland and round the peninsular.

Thenext morning I did some more rambling, this time with a camera. There are some beautiful areas of heath here

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along with the remains of a fort on the promontary – mainly just visible as a ditch and earth bank now –

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as well as the essential rope swing.

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Later on the sun had come out and I headed a bit further down the river to anchor off Turnaware Bar. This is a nice sheltered spot in the easterly wind that was forecast

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and also a splendid base for rowing ashore to pick blackberries and enjoy a walk looking down on Carrick Roads,

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and also to blink at the site of a very large ship in quite a small channel – one of the cargo ships that had been mothballed up the Fal heading back to sea again.

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I also had a very nice coffee with a couple I’d met at the Ocean Cruising Club gathering in previous years who’d attended the rearranged party in Falmouth.

I still hadn’t had enough sailing for the day though, so decided to head down Carrick Roads in the evening.

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The sailing conditions were beautiful, with plenty of interesting boats to admire as well, from a lugger heading up river..

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to several of the Falmouth Working Boats enjoying their race night. Some of these are still for oyster dredging, but they’re also very keenly raced, especially as they carry a huge amount of sail.

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The sunlight was just turning golden when I headed in to St Just – again a beautifully sheltered spot in an easterly wind, but with the added benefit of free anchorage, and a very easy sail across to Falmouth for the Tall Ships festival starting imminently.

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Summer 2014 Part I – dolphins galore!

Posted in Cornwall, Photographs, Sailing, Walking with tags , , , , on August 11, 2016 by maidofmettle

(Yes, the date at the top is right – realised I had various drafts saved and have finally forced myself into getting up to date!)

It took a while to get Maid of Mettle into the water in 2014 – it turned out that moving house, being flooded with work and doing a fair amount of maintenance on Maid were even more of a hindrance than living in Grimsby.

Still, it seemed I wasn’t the only one a bit behind on things – there are normally four posts marking the channel across the ‘Bridge’ in Plymouth Sound (actually a shallow ridge between Drake’s Island and Mount Edgcumbe, further cluttered with old anti-submarine defences), but one seemed to be missing. It might not actually be a bad thing if it stayed that way – the bright yellow buoy in its place is easier to spot!

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Having got out of the strong tides in the Narrows and into a bit more wind I set sail and headed out round Penlee Point and Rame Head towards the anchorage off Looe. It was tempting to head off course when I spotted dolphins leaping inshore off Rame Head, but I prefer to let them come to me if they want to.

It was a beautiful sunny day for tacking towards Looe..

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and admiring the rest of the coastline – much of the area between Looe and Rame Head is very pretty, but with little shelter and being off the direct route between harbours and anchorages I don’t often see much of it.

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And here we are anchored off Looe – fairly full beach but deserted anchorage, easy to sail in and drop the anchor on sand. The north-westerly wind had required a fair amount of tacking to get here but having done that it was nice and sheltered..

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..and even calmer when the wind dropped later in the evening.

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The tide wasn’t due to be fair for a while the next morning but with beautiful conditions I decided to get going anyway – first running down past St Mary’s Island..

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and then tacking along the coast again. There was a fair amount of company, from this little coaster carrying a digger..

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..to some more dolphins!

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Tonight’s anchorage was a new one for me – Gorran Haven, just between the Dodman and Mevagissey. It was once a larger fishing port than Mevva but is now a lot quieter, though there are a number of small boats moored within the harbour wall and hauled up on the beach.

As I expected with a north-westerly wind it was nice and sheltered again. This time I did launch the dinghy and rowed ashore for a wander around the village.

I also started to figure out why I kept seeing dolphins – there were fish swarming so close in that people could just grab them out of the harbour!

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I decided to go for a walk out to the Dodman the next morning while waiting for the tide. The walk up from the harbour is pretty steep to start with!

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It got rather windier as I got round to the more exposed part of the headland – enough that the gulls were starting to find it heavy going at times in the gusts.

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At ground level this little fellow was probably less affected..

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The cross was instituted by a local rector – besides the spiritual aspect it serves as a very useful daymark for navigation. Many shipwrecks have been partly attributed to one headland being mistaken for another, especially in poor visibility.

This was of course a very prominent location – signalling stations have been located here in medieval times, as well as the Napoleonic War and both World Wars.

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There were plenty of boats coming the other way around the Dodman with the tide behind them. I was hoping the front would pass and give nice weather by the time I started heading the opposite direction.

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A bit more local history – you can also still see medieval strip field boundaries here.

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Going further back to the Iron Age the earth embankment on the right here, known as the Bulwark, was constructed to form a ‘cliff castle’ on the promontory – the other sides are naturally quite secure!

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(I just like this picture. There’s nothing like a good cow to improve a foreground.)

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The weather was indeed clearing as I walked through Penare back down to Gorran Haven, now showing definite signs of life.

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With a fair tide and sky it was time to head on, into the same chilly north-west windΒ  – again gliding gently out of Gorran Haven before tacking along the coast.

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The next big headland west of the Dodman is Nare Head (though it doesn’t stick out enough to get a line in ‘Spanish Ladies’), looking nice and dramatic here in the afternoon sun.

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A fine sail got even better when we were joined by a school of dolphins while sailing into Gerrans Bay. With Maid sailing beautifully they had a great time playing in the bow-wave..

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..occasionally doing laps of the boat..

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..and generally having a good time as far as I could tell, and I was delighted to share in it, both taking pictures and just leaning on the forestay and grinning wildly (no, I didn’t take a picture of that).

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Eventually they headed off to gobble some more fish and I dropped anchor off Portscatho – another relatively exposed coastal anchorage, but perfect in these conditions. It also happens to be the home of my friends Si and Cat, who I first met on Maid in the French canals a few years ago, and it’s nice to try and surprise them – this time I found Si outside the Plume straight away.

As an extra bonus he was planning on taking their fishing boat Kensa out the next day and there was space to me to join them. I was especially keen to go having followed their blog of her construction after we got back from our respective voyaging.

The next morning dawned golden, with Nare Head standing out against the Dodman in the background and Gull Rock offshore on the right.

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Here is Maid with the little harbour in the background – again a short wall sheltering an assortment of fishing boats and dayboats.

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..and here is Kensa..

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It was a very good day out on Kensa with Si and their friend Debs – chilly wind but plenty of sunshine and even more importantly plenty of mackerel. I had left my camera behind though, so we have a bit of a gap on images until later – this is the colourful view down across the beach from the top of the slip later on (probably after the post-fishing pint).

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I have very fond memories of drinking champagne stood knee-deep in the water celebrating Kensa’s launch the last time I was here, but the sou-westerly wind and swell at the time made the anchorage rather rolly when I eventually rowed back out to the boat. With the wind now seemingly set in the north-west spending a while here and exploring nearby anchorages seemed very appealing.

(yes, this kind of thing is part of the reason why I never actually get as far as the Scillies despite them being a nominal target for most of my holidays… They’ll still be there for a good while yet.)

5 years :)

Posted in Photographs, Sailing, the English Channel on September 21, 2014 by maidofmettle

Note – to give the original view from the time via Caroline’s splendid blogging I’ve added that week’s posts into the Index of posts I’ve been working on to sort my blog’s rather confusing timelines out πŸ™‚

Technically this post – Leaving! – is from the day before, so on 21-09-09 there was a bit more of that tidying still in progress. Not much time to think about leaving the UK for an unspecified amount of time really.

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It was time for a bit of a celebration that evening though. A mixture of excitement, and just plain relief to be starting something we’d been planning and then preparing for for so long. The canals were a bit of an unknown at this stage, but more appealing than Biscay in September/October. Not to say we/I didn’t second-guess that a bit at times!

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We had managed to find a window of sunny, light westerly winds for heading up the English Channel towards the shortest crossing point from Dover to Calais where we would enter the canal system – we could have gone in at Rouen but making once of our first sails since the refit an overnight channel (read: motorway) crossing didn’t really appeal.

2009-09-22 #01 East Head to Littlehampton (Custom)

A quick cloudy one lest anything think it was continuous sunshine (why head south at all? πŸ˜€ )..

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but generally the weather was great, especially for admiring the iconic white cliffs..

2009-09-24 #01 Brighton to Eastbourne (Custom)

Some strange memories do stick out – being woken up by the boat suddenly heeling over in Eastbourne Marina in the night because we were moored near a sluice from the lock!

Looking at the nex picture, it’s slightly strange to think we had no choice about helming back then (Maid will steer herself happily at some angles to the wind, but not that one) – self steering is definitely a luxury. Mind you, when the wind’s light and it’s sunny..

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I don’t actually remember much of crossing the channel from Dover – I suspect because I spent some of it getting ready to go up (and probably rather less actually up) to free something I’d got caught, and what felt like most of the rest fixing issues with the burner and pressure pump for the paraffin cooker so we could reheat lunch! (Thinking about it, the others must have got lumbered with a lot of steering on a rather less cheery day..)

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I did manage to serve lunch before we got to Calais though – and the fried supper Caroline made after we moored up still stands out as delicious.

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So, France! And into the canals..

(I won’t be repeating that, but I will add it to the Index of posts, as well as some more general reflections. If you can’t contain your curiosity just browsing through from the indexed posts or clicking the ‘French canals and rivers’ category on the right should do)

August 2014 sneak preview

Posted in Cornwall, Photographs, Sailing, Walking on September 10, 2014 by maidofmettle

While I’m getting around to writing the next instalment, here’s a taster πŸ™‚

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September 2013 part 2

Posted in Cornwall, Fun, Music, Photographs, Sailing, Walking with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 7, 2014 by maidofmettle

The following day I went for a bit of a sail and decided to anchor off the Molunans again having spied Dave already there.

2013-09-25 #02 St Just to Little Molunan

We went for a circular wander on the Roseland, up towards the lighthouse and looking back over the boats..

2013-09-25 #03 St Just to Little Molunan

..before heading east, and then inland and circling back to the beach again (rather different weather to the last time I was here).

2013-09-25 #05 St Just to Little Molunan

I’d taken a slightly longer route on the return trip going right round opposite St Mawes, and was rather surprised to find Dave spear-fishing when I rowed out. Thoughts of moving to get away from the Eye of Sauron..

2013-09-25 #07 St Just to Little Molunan

..and the incessant foghorn were soon dismissed in favour of chat ranging from sailing to woodworking to northern Finnish tribespeople and a delicious fish supper (though the foghorn did get rather irritating later on).

The next day we left the hooting behind and sailed north before parting ways off St Mawes, with Dave continuing northward..

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..while I headed in.

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The next few days were largely spent sailing between St Mawes and Falmouth, with friends and free anchorage in St Mawes and music sessions in Falmouth. Generally it was easy going one way…

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..and harder getting back!

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The sun only seemed to come out later on.. (still windy though).

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There was also the rather amusing circumstance of being introduced to someone I’d known years previously by a mutual acquaintance- eventually we both worked it out!

A couple of days later a couple of us headed to anchor on the Penryn River and dinghy up for the local ‘River Revels’ festival. I was rather jealous of Nick’s sail getting up there…

2013-09-29 #01 Penryn River Revels

Unsurprisingly I don’t have any pictures of the blindfold rowing race I came fourth in, but I should think if you imagine this sculling race with more contestants and more chaos you wouldn’t be far off:

2013-09-29 #02 Penryn River Revels

After fish and chips several of us went to a music session in the nearby Famous Barrel, which I’m rather ashamed to say I never discovered when Chris & I were working on the boat in Penryn.

2013-09-29 #04 Famous Barrel folk session

I tacked back to St Mawes again the next day (can’t believe the amount of easterlies in that holiday) to meet up with Si and Cat

2013-09-30 #01 Falmouth to St Mawes

and then popped back to Falmouth for some music in the evening.

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The next morning with the wind changing round I decided to go to the Helford, but sailed into St Mawes first to see if anyone was about and was joined by another friend for the sail over. Definitely a good photo-taking opportunity..

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with thanks to him sailing rings round Maid though the weather was looking rather ominous. Remarkably, we both made it to the Helford before it started chucking it down.

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The following day looked the most sensible to head back to Plymouth, though it was rather grey

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and strangely I’m not sure I’ve ever been seasick so many times as on that trip, even nearing Mazagon or between Madeira and Tenerife when I was definitely worse off overall.

Rame Head and Penlee Point were both very welcome sights indeed, with Plymouth Breakwater heralding very sheltered water.

2013-10-02 #03 Helford to Millbrook

In the end it was a lovely sail in to anchor off Millbrook.

2013-10-02 #04 Helford to Millbrook

For a change the next day I headed up the River Tamar, which I’d never properly explored very far. My first stopping point was very sheltered and isolated, with a steep wooded slope to the south and low-lying meadow land to the north.

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The Tamar is still very broad at high water, creating some spectacular reflections.

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I continued upstream the next day when the tide had come about half way up, so there was reasonable depth, and also so it had more to rise for when I inevitably did get stuck – actually within about 100 yards. Perhaps I had tried to start too early, but then I was hoping to meet people at Cotehele, where I anchored off the quay just about on time.

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We went for a very nice walk round the estate, and then some refreshment in the tea rooms – which also contained this rather useful detailed chart (you can see the amount of mud at low water)!

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Later in the afternoon I went further up by dinghy, as far as the railway viaduct at Calstock.2013-10-04 #13 Cotehele

The following morning was atmospheric to say the least..

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and just as much so when the sun finally started breaking through..

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leaving some rather curious misty effects behind.

 

2013-10-05 #12 Cotehele to Cawsand

By the time I got down to the Tamar bridges it was bright sunshine

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and shortly afterwards I was able to start sailing

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back down the river and out over the ‘Bridge’ (a narrow channel through former anti-submarine defences) to the anchorage in Cawsand Bay.

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There was plenty going on ashore

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and a chance for a bite to eat before setting off to walk across the peninsula and over to the chapel on Rame Head.

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I wasn’t concerned about the evening drawing in as I’d done the walk before and the coast path is generally quite hard to get lost on, so very much appreciated the sunset, both from Rame Head itself

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and looking back towards it from the east.

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Cawsand and Kingsand are two of the most beautiful villages I’ve seen in the dark as well.

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The next morning I got up early

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to go for a walk in the other direction in the Mount Edgcumbe country park

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this time enjoying the dawn light shining through the trees

2013-10-06 #12 Cawsand & Mt Edgcumbe

as well as some beautiful views of the city of Plymouth

2013-10-06 #18 Cawsand & Mt Edgcumbe

lots of deer

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and Plymouth Sound.

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Then back towards Cawsand and Kingsand

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for a quick afternoon swim, and then motoring back out of the bay

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and up to a mooring at Torpoint to head home again.

While I didn’t actually sail all that far it had been a fantastic holiday – really nice to have all that time off at once.

In many ways it removed the pressure to do many long trips, and let me focus very much on what would be happening in the next couple of days, especially good with so many people I knew or got to know around, which was one of the main joys of it.

September 2013 part 1

Posted in Cornwall, Fun, Photographs, Sailing, Unfortunate events, Walking with tags , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2014 by maidofmettle

Well, I didn’t quite make catching up before going away.. will do soon though!

Having spent most of 2013 working well away from home and Maid in Grimsby I was glad to have a perfect day for setting out from Torpoint in September, with clear blue sky and a beautiful north-west breeze to sail past Cremyll..

2013-09-10 #01 Torpoint to the Helford

..and pursue a submarine out of Plymouth Sound.

2013-09-10 #03 Torpoint to the Helford

I took good advantage of the wind, and nice flat seas..

2013-09-10 #05 Torpoint to the Helford

and sailed on much the same course the whole way to the Helford River. There’s nothing like a long passage at the start of a holiday to let you take it easy the entire rest of the time! The wind had got up a bit more by the end, making for an exciting sail in..

2013-09-10 #06 Torpoint to the Helford

..but my preferred anchorage in a north-westerly was nice and sheltered as expected.

2013-09-10 #08 Torpoint to the Helford

I did however get a bit of a shock when I launched the dinghy to row ashore and eat in the Ferryboat Inn (well, it was the first day of the holiday..) and discovered a rather large sheet of paint had become detached from the port bow, around the waterline. I definitely needed a pint after that.

2013-09-10 #10 Torpoint to the Helford

The next day I decided the best plan of action was to sail to Falmouth when the wind changed in a day or two, as it was probably the best place to dry the boat out and repair the paintwork in the area. In the meantime there was no danger so I left Maid at anchor in the Helford (this was her good side)..

2013-09-11 #01 Helford River

and walked east along the river..

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..before turning north up towards Falmouth and the beach at Maenporth – no beach football going on this late in the year (unlike the last time I was there) which was probably a good thing for my legs!

2013-09-11 #06 Durgan to Maenporth

Then back to the boat to watch the evening’s racing on the river.

2013-09-11 #09 Helford River

The next morning the sky looked rather ominous..

2013-09-12 #01 Helford River to Falmouth

..but the wind was fair for Falmouth so I sailed round and stopped in the main anchorage, and was glad to see a couple of other boats I knew, even if I was a bit embarrassed by the state of Maid’s paintwork. There was another boat dried out on the wall at first, which actually proved extremely useful as it gave me a chance to get some advice check out where best to position the boat etc – I was quite tense about drying out since I hadn’t done it for years, and never on my own (and on that occasion her bow plunged into a bit of a hole giving her a very awkward angle at low water).

2013-09-12 #04 Falmouth

We had a great gathering of people from the anchorage and friends ashore or on the other side of the harbour in the Chain Locker, with a superb Irish session to enjoy as well.

When the wall came free I went alongside at high water and tied up, weighting the lines heavily so that they’d keep the boat in position at high water while allowing enough slack to avoid trying to hand the boat off the wall at low water. I also put lots of fenders out against the wall, with a plank to spread the load across them, and lined several water cans up along the side against the wall to make sure Maid leaned that way rather than falling over. At least it kept me busy till the tide was starting to go down. Here you can see it worked rather well..

2013-09-14 #02 Falmouth

..and it was then up early the next morning to get on with the work while the tide was low. The dawn was at least quite impressive..

2013-09-15 #04 Falmouth

..and even more spectacular the next day.

2013-09-15 #09 Falmouth

After spending a couple of days chipping away loose paint, scraping off loose rust, rinsing, degreasing and rinsing again, applying rust converter and repainting I was happy the patching would do for at least the rest of the holiday. The wind was forecast to get very strong so I headed up Carrick Roads to find a sheltered anchorage in the Fal. I actually ended up doubling back, as the place I expected to be good was quite gusty and with only a fairly narrow shelf between the bank and deep water channel, and quite crowded -so I went back downstream to the place that seemed far too open but had actually looked a decent bet as I went past.

It served very well, and was rather idyllic in the evening when the wind died off.

2013-09-17 #03 Channals Creek

In fact it was a place I’d wanted to anchor at some point for years, with the National Trust property of Trelissick on one shore..

2013-09-18 #02 Channals Creek

..and the shingle beach at Turnaware Bar on the other side.

2013-09-18 #05 Turnaware

Having landed there I walked up the ridge..

2013-09-18 #06 Turnaware to Messack Pt

and then southwards parallel to Carrick Roads, a route I’d previously enjoyed much of from the opposite direction. There are great view across open fields and Carrick Roads..

2013-09-18 #10 Turnaware to Messack Pt

..pine trees above the edge of the water..

2013-09-18 #14 Turnaware to Messack Pt

..and from higher ground some beautiful views of farmland with Falmouth in the background.

2013-09-18 #17 Turnaware to Messack Pt

The next day was greyer but still enjoyable, this time rambling around the permissive footpaths in the woods on the other bank, past the chain ferry and overlooking an anchorage and quay upstream.

2013-09-19 #03 Trelissick woods

The next day it was back to sunshine again but an easterly wind, and I took the opportunity to sail down the estuary and anchor in another place I’d wanted to stop for years when a suitable moment presented itself. This was just opposite the fine secluded beaches of the Molunans, just north of St Antony’s Head (more widely known perhaps as Fraggle Rock) lighthouse on the eastern side of the entrance to Falmouth Harbour. I’d walked to and swum from the beaches several times before from St Mawes, but never stopped off the beach.

2013-09-20 #01 Great Molunan

Looking back from the land (of course I went for a walk up to the lighthouse and around the cliffs) you can just about see Maid to the left of centre, looking like she’s surprisingly far offshore, with Great Molunan beach on the right.

 

2013-09-20 #03 Great Molunan

In the evening I sailed into Falmouth to meet up with people and enjoy some more live music – a nice easy run over..

2013-09-20 #11 Great Molunan to Falmouth

..with some colourful racing boats to admire..

2013-09-20 #13 Great Molunan to Falmouth

This time I anchored (where it’s free) off Trefusis Point and rowed across to the town.

When I’d gone ashore the next morning (probably to get sometime from that Cornish institution Trago Mills) I was a bit surprised to see a boat nosing around oddly close to the anchored Maid on the other side of the harbour. Though when I thought about it she looked a bit familiar – and much more so when she dropped anchor off Falmouth. It didn’t take too long for Mike and I to make plans for a drink in the Chain Locker and then for Carolyn to join us.

2013-09-21 #01 Falmouth

On the other side of the harbour we were also making plans to join in a local event to mark the autumn equinox being held at Trelissick, so a little fleet set off up Carrick Roads, gathering one or two others along the way. I hadn’t really sailed in company in some time and it was great fun, with the weather just about holding to give us beautiful sunshine..

2013-09-22 #02 Trefusis to Trelissick

..though the fog was getting nearer and nearer..

2013-09-22 #06 Trefusis to Trelissick

..until it closed in almost immediately after we’d all dropped anchor. It made for a rather atmospheric row ashore..

2013-09-22 #10 Trelissick

..to join the crowd on the (by now very narrow!) beach..

2013-09-22 #13 Trelissick

..and the gloom made quite a seasonal backdrop to Dave’s excellent burning man, preceded by a couple of readings and accompanied by some traditional music.

2013-09-22 #12 Trelissick

Unfortunately the band had to get to a pub session so couldn’t stay, but the party continued for a while with several people having brought instruments ashore.

2013-09-22 #14 Trelissick

The next day I went for another walk in the woods above Turnaware Bar..

2013-09-23 #02 Turnaware

..before sailing down to St Just, again finding some friends (“we’ll put the kettle on” is always a welcome hail when sailing into an anchorage).

2013-09-24 #02 St Just

The next day was very peaceful and I re-sealed a few of Maid’s windows before rowing in to admire the church in the evening – it’s always a beautiful spot but especially so after dark on this occasion with the tide high and the lights on.

2013-09-24 #09 St Just

2013-09-24 #10 St Just

That said, it did make getting back slightly more interesting when the evening service finished and they switched them all off!

August 2012 part 2

Posted in Cornwall, Photographs, Sailing, Walking with tags , , , , , on August 11, 2014 by maidofmettle

Having shot west at the start of the holiday allowed me to cruise back to Torpont with a lot more stops, visiting quite a few places I’d only ever sailed past before.

A calm morning to start with – at least there were no issues with the chain ferry motoring down!

2012-08-28 #01 Fal

By the time I got down to Carrick Roads there was a lovely breeze.

2012-08-28 #07

So out past Black Rock at the entrance to Falmouth Harbour (the entrance would be too straightforward without one great big hazard right in the middle)…

2012-08-28 #10 - Copy

and round the Roseland, past Nare Head and the Dodman to tie up between two mooring buoys in the outer harbour at Mevagissey. Not something I’d done in a while but with the dinghy in the water very simple- basically just pick one buoy up normally (I say simple – not necessarily easy!) and then row a line to the other one.

2012-08-28 #26 Mevagissey - Copy

Mevagissey, or ‘Mevva’, is a beautiful little town, with the harbour possibly still home to as many fishing boats as pleasure boats, though tourism is a much bigger industry now.

Incidentally, it’s claimed (though wikipedia regards it to be somewhat dubious) to have been the first town in the UK with electric street lights, run by a power station built in 1895 and powered by pilchard oil. That’s some sign of how big the fishing fleet would have been then, but probably didn’t do much for any early tourists!

Here you can see the inner harbour, with the old lifeboat house in the bottom left.

2012-08-28 #25 Mevagissey

Here’s the evening entertainment signing on the quayside..

2012-08-28 #28 Mevagissey

..and here’s another picture of the inner harbour.

2012-08-28 #29 Mevagissey - Copy

The next day the wind was rather strong so with Maid tucked safely in the harbour I went for a walk north along the coast..

2012-08-29 #02

..to Pentewan, once the site of a much bigger harbour since lost to siltation. The very shallow shelving sandy beach looks perfect for the caravan park though.

2012-08-29 #03

Surprisingly, the inner basins are still largely intact..

2012-08-29 #05

though the ‘channel’ to the sea is minimal.

2012-08-29 #06

Mevagissey has a much more practical entrance which I departed from the next day – the wind hadn’t abated but the sunshine on the other side of the cold front made quite a difference.

2012-08-30 #04 Mevagissey

It was a fast and exciting sail tacking up to Charlestown at the northern side of St Austell Bay, taking full advantage of the shelter of the land and consequent smooth sea to charge to windward in winds I’d never normally want to tack into.

2012-08-30 #05

Charlestown is one of the harbours that took over when Pentewan went into decline, and is still used by tall ships today. The fee to use the lock is rather beyond smaller boats, and I didn’t plan on staying long anyway so anchored off and rowed into the harbour in the dinghy for a look around.

2012-08-30 #18

The bottom shelves quite slowly here as well making it quite a long row in against the wind – you can just see Maid anchored offshore in the background between the pier heads.

2012-08-30 #10

Here’s another look at the ships inside-Β  if you’ve seen any period drama with a nautical flavour you may recognise them or the harbour.

2012-08-30 #09 - Copy

Next we shot off downwind, past Gribbin Head and the entrance to Fowey.. Rather less hard work, and almost as exhilarating..

2012-08-30 #24 - Copy

…though I was rather wishing I wasn’t towing the dinghy, which was fine going upwind but now kept trying to overtake and ramming the back of the boat, till I finally found a system to prevent it.

2012-08-30 #21 - Copy

I was aiming for Polperro, which is an altogether different harbour to Pentewan (as was) or Charlestown, very much a crack in the rocks kind of entrance. Can you see it?

2012-08-30 #29

(it’s just to the right of the dark brown rock extending from the left, below the lowest white house)

Given the wind strength I’ll let myself off getting my thumb in this one (note the angle of heel despite the sheltered water and having taken the sails down).

2012-08-30 #31 - Copy

Despite my recent practice picking up the mooring buoy in the much stronger headwind took a while longer than in Mevagissey. It wasn’t helped by the fact that there was no room to maneuver so the couple of times that I missed it and the front of the boat got blown away from it by the wind I ended up having to leave the cove and go back in again. I think the fisherman I kept going past found it amusing enough to not mind.

Eventually I got set and was now glad I had the dinghy in the water to row a stern line out again – there really isn’t any room to swing here without blocking the channel or potentially hitting a rock. I was glad I had a very long line – it was quite a distance (see the angle of the rope in the bottom right!).

2012-08-30 #32

Here’s the inner harbour..

2012-08-30 #40 - Copy

..and Maid out in the outer harbour, with a beautiful moon, especially enjoyed with some very tasty fish and chips at the end of a long and satisfying day.

2012-08-30 #52 - Copy

(it was slightly disconcerting to still hear the swell on the rocks when getting into bed though..)

The next morning I went for a walk along the coast path, finding what was presumably an old huer’s hut

 

2012-08-31 #15

and a bit more of a wander round Polperro – you might guess that this is ‘Shell Cottage’.

2012-08-31 #27

Once the tide had turned I carried on eastward, before rounding St Mary’s Island and anchoring off Looe.

2012-08-31 #32 - Copy

 

There’s plenty of space inside, but it’s shallow and drying out against a wall really restricts when you can leave – especially if you’re heading eastwards and want to have plenty of time sailing with the tide rising. It’s clearly a popular place for crab-fishing though..

2012-09-01 #09 - Copy

The next afternoon’s sailing was very relaxed..

2012-09-01 #19

..with plenty of time to admire the coast and the little villages, while giving the firing range a bit further along a wide berth.

2012-09-01 #21

It was a beautiful evening to arrive back in Plymouth Sound and anchor in Barn Pool for the night,

2012-09-01 #32

with a rather striking moonrise oncc again.

2012-09-01 #34 - Copy

From there was just a short hop back to Torpoint, although admittedly one that required careful timing due to the strong tides through the Narrows. And that was that πŸ™‚