Archive for Noss Mayo

Easter 2012 part 2 – Cawsand, Erme and Yealm

Posted in Cornwall, Photographs, Sailing with tags , , , , , , , on March 12, 2014 by maidofmettle

I had a few options in mind sailing eastward, between Polperro a few miles down the coast and the most exposed, and the most shelter in Cawsand Bay back round Rame Head. Though I’d not stopped there before it’s a wide open bay with deep water and no hazards, so I’d had no worries about the fact I was likely to get in in the dark if I carried on that far.

With a bit of a swell running, Polperro looked pretty but not attractive from a mooring point of view  Рthe harbour is pretty much a crack in the cliffs, with the deep-water moorings likely to be very rolly and uncomfortable indeed.

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Checking out Looe would have required tacking northwards and I thought the anchorage there was also likely to be a bit rolly, so decided the best option was to continue onwards

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past Rame Head

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on a rather glorious evening

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and finish a fantastic day by tacking into Cawsand at dusk.

It’s quite special to wake up in a new place and see it for the first time in daylight, especially somewhere like here.

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Definitely time for a row ashore

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to see a bit more of the village

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and then keep walking through Kingsand (not a typo but the neighbouring village) and towards Mount Edgcumbe – first along grassy slopes looking over Cawsand Bay

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and then along woodland paths

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until I could look out over Maid’s mooring off Torpoint and further up the Tamar

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returning via the church (and former signalling station) at Maker

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and back over the country park to Cawsand.

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The strange-looking on the left is the Breakwater which was commissioned around the start of the Napoleonic Wars to transform Plymouth Sound from a relatively open harbour to a safe anchorage for the Channel Fleet. It might not look all that imposing at high water from up here, but stretching about a mile across the harbour and built in 10 metres or so of water it was a huge engineering feat requiring about 4 million tons of rock.

Back in Cawsand, I rowed out to the boat again

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and had some dinner aboard before an evening stroll out the other way onto the Rame Peninsula. This is the view back over Plymouth Sound just leaving the village

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and here it is again from further out in the countryside

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and now from the far side of Rame Head.

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Cawsand and Kingsand are just as lovely in the dark

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The next morning dawned fair

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and then had second, rather hazy thoughts about it

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before providing a nice wind for sailing east and visiting Devon for the first time in some years. I sailed close past the Mew Stone (many Cornish headlands have a rock named after a gull off them, and I nearly always think they look much more like a whale)

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but decided to carry on past the Yealm for a lovely sail along the coast

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as far as Hope Cove

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before sailing back and then motoring in under the cliffs – rather tensely due to the unmarked rocks I was leaving somewhere on the starboard side, almost certainly with a wide berth but with a small element of doubt –

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to the anchorage in the mouth of the River Erme.

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Unlike many south Devon and Cornwall harbours and river the Erme is very much undeveloped – partly because the shores are largely owned by a private estate which has kept it that way, and that probably partly because upstream of the anchorage shown the river beyond the bar is very shallow indeed.

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The SW Coast Path does provide access along the shore, and with the occasional horse and rider galloping across the flats at low tide it does feel like it could be another era entirely.

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In the right weather conditions – northerly wind and no swell – it’s a lovely place to stop, in anything else the fine coastal scenery

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wouldn’t be a consideration as the anchorage itself is very exposed to anything from the south. It did in fact get a bit rolly in the evening with just a little swell- nuisance enough for me to haul the dinghy up into the cockpit to stop it banging on the hull, but not a problem otherwise.

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It was still peaceful the next morning, so I took the opportunity to explore up beyond the bar in the dinghy

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before creeping back out under sail

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to anchor in the mouth of the Yealm, and walk through the woods alongside the river.

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This is a rather more popular spot, with many boats moored in the Yealm and within easy reach of the huge numbers in various places in Plymouth Sound, and doubtless the absence of unmarked hazards as well!

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This was the last day of the holiday, but there was time enough for another walk alongside the Yealm

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admiring the waterside villages of Newton Ferrers

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and the even more wonderfully named Noss Mayo

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before sailing back out past the Mew Stone

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past the sights of Plymouth

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and home again to Torpoint.