Archive for the Tamar

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..

2013-09-26 #03 Dormouse Dave

..while I headed in.

2013-09-26 #07 St Mawes

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…

2013-09-26 #08 St Mawes to Falmouth

..and harder getting back!

2013-09-27 #02 St Mawes

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

2013-09-27 #01 St Mawes

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.

2013-09-30 #07 Falmouth

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..

2013-10-01 #03 [Steve]

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.

2013-10-01 #12

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

2013-10-02 #01 Helford to Millbrook

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.

2013-10-03 #01 Pentillie Hole

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

2013-10-04 #02 Cotehele

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.

2013-10-04 #03 Cotehele

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)!

2013-10-04 #05 Cotehele

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..

2013-10-05 #01 Cotehele

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

2013-10-05 #07 Cotehele to Cawsand

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

2013-10-05 #15 Cotehele to Cawsand

and shortly afterwards I was able to start sailing

2013-10-05 #18 Cotehele to Cawsand

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

2013-10-05 #19 Cawsand

There was plenty going on ashore

2013-10-05 #21 Cawsand

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

2013-10-05 #23 Rame Peninsula


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

2013-10-05 #27 Rame Peninsula

and looking back towards it from the east.

2013-10-05 #33 Rame Peninsula

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

2013-10-05 #34 Cawsand

2013-10-05 #35 Cawsand

2013-10-05 #37 Cawsand

The next morning I got up early

2013-10-06 #02 Cawsand & Mt Edgcumbe

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

2013-10-06 #11 Cawsand & Mt Edgcumbe

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

2013-10-06 #26 Cawsand & Mt Edgcumbe

and Plymouth Sound.

2013-10-06 #28 Cawsand & Mt Edgcumbe

Then back towards Cawsand and Kingsand

2013-10-06 #31 Cawsand & Mt Edgcumbe

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

2013-10-06 #32 Cawsand

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.

June 2012 – Tales Of Gales

Posted in Cornwall, Photographs, Sailing, Walking with tags , , , on March 26, 2014 by maidofmettle

My next opportunity to get away for a while was just after the Jubilee weekend in June. This featured both a lot of fun and a lot of weather.

2012-06-06 #01

It began with a severe gale forecast, leading to a hasty trip to seek shelter on the St Germans River. Calm and tranquil now, but not forecast to stay that way

2012-06-06 #03

so I carried on up to the Dandy Hole. Several other boats had already acted on the same idea, including , who I’d met the previous autumn having recognised their boat from Horta in the Azores, and another arrived in the morning.

2012-06-07 #01

It is almost the perfect anchorage for winds of pretty much any strength from anywhere from south to west, with a relatively deep outside of a wide bend on the St Germans River well sheltered from those directions by high ground and trees.

I say well sheltered – still windy enough to flip the dinghy upside down once and create a lot of baling.

However, it’s not all that big, and having spent some time worriedly watching a boat anchored near me swinging quite close I decided I needed to move for a bit more peace of mind. Although I’d been there first I felt I was more likely to be able to move and re-anchor without incident, although it was rather exciting.

I went on a rising tide just in case I got blown onto the mud, and got the engine on the anchor most of the way up before waiting for a lull.. and then pulled very hard to get it aboard before getting going with the engine.

Turning the boat in that much wind took some doing, with the unplanned side effect of trying to run the dinghy under the water. Oops…

2012-06-07 #05

In hindsight I maybe should have had it astern rather than alongside, but there could’ve been some unpredictable issues with that as well, especially since it had already flipped one then. At least it was secure! This time I didn’t bail it out as much though, thinking a little water ballast would be handy.

I’d also taken the opportunity to re-anchor in a much better place, clear of all the other boats and tucked in closer to the western as well as the southern shore of the bend, giving Maid excellent shelter from the wind (the waves are not really an issue here as you can see).

2012-06-08 #01

In fact, conditions were fine to take the dinghy (temporarily minus water ballast) for a trip to explore up-river

2012-06-08 #02

with a very easy trip back – just me and the dinghy itself needed for the sails, and one oar as a rudder!

2012-06-08 #22

Getting back upwind from visiting Paul and Mo was rather more of a workout! By the evening it was still very windy but there was a bit of sunshine to appreciate the beautiful surroundings with.

2012-06-09 #03

The next day I took a shorter dinghy trip and a longer walk towards the village of St Anthony, enjoying some fine views across the river

2012-06-09 #09

and by the evening things had calmed down to a peaceful sunset (you can just see the St Germans viaduct which carries the Grest Western railway over the river below it).

2012-06-09 #17

The next day I sailed back a little way downstream and anchored just off Forder Lake, near another viaduct.

2012-06-10 #05

There are still some remnants (such as boundary markers?) from where there was once a wooden viaduct on Brunel’s original southern alignment of the railway here.

2012-06-10 #03

The village of Forder further up is very green and leafy- I went for a bit of a walk around here before heading back downstream

2012-06-10 #07

for a walk along the river – here I was checking up on Maid from the woods near Anthony Passage.

2012-06-11 #05

The next day I sailed down the Tamar, passing Paul and Mo in the Narrows. It looked like the black clouds behind them had passed us by, but there were some ominous ones upwind as well.

2012-06-11 #10

Having decided to continue rather than anchor in Barn Pool, I rather regretted this as the rain absolutely teemed down, stinging even with sunshine still visible out to sea

2012-06-11 #12

and turning the water surface white.

2012-06-11 #13

I have very rarely got quite so wet so quickly, and was very glad to drop anchor in Jennycliff Bay on the far side of the Sound to change into some dry clothes and eventually stop shivering.

2012-06-12 #01

However listening to the evening forecast it now sounded like this wouldn’t be a comfortable place to be, so I decided I’d better motor back across the Sound past Drake’s Island

2012-06-12 #04

to Barn Pool. Humph (though incidentally, I did get told a while later that the wind had blown strongly all over the place here that afternoon causing a boat or two to drag – probably why it’s empty other than me in this photo – so perhaps not stopping here earlier wasn’t such an error after all!).

2012-06-12 #06

I spent the next day at anchor here, rowing ashore and walking on the Mount Edgcumbe estate. A good day for relaxing in the sunshine, as you can see below 🙂

2012-06-12 #08

And also nice for walking through shady woodland

2012-06-12 #09

to where I could see out to sea. Definitely a day for walking or motoring rather than sailing.

2012-06-13 #15

I stopped in at the Edgcumbe Arms on the way back – a very nice pub, though I imagine it must get pretty quiet in the winter, being one of those places that’s easy to visit by boat but relatively hard to get to by land.

2012-06-12 #23

There was time for a run ashore (though not involving a pub this time) the next morning as well, with a slightly different route for the walk, this time taking in Milton’s Temple. The inscription from Paradise Lost on the back wall is certainly apt:

“Over head up grow
Insuperable height of loftiest shade;
Cedar and fir and branching palm,
A sylvan scene; and as the ranks ascend
Shade above shade, a woody theatre
Of Stateliest view.”

2012-06-13 #04

Another slightly surprising structure in the park is the Folly Tower, which offers fine views over Plymouth and the northern part of the Sound.

2012-06-13 #10

Walking further round, the view southward became rather sunnier, and brought a fine sea breeze as well.

2012-06-13 #15

Very fine for going sailing in fact – here Maid is heading south from Barn Pool

2012-06-13 #22

before turning round Drake’s Island having decided I’d like to finally pop into Plymouth for a bit.. The Barbican area is certainly well worth a visit, with an attractive and busy harbourside

2012-06-13 #30

and some fine sculpture.

2012-06-13 #33

One of the chimneys of the Plymouth Gin distillery is just visible in the background here, in a very nice old bit of town, though I was more interested in the fish and chips.

2012-06-13 #34

Delicious eaten under way, with a fair wind and a fine sunset to go and drop anchor in Millbrook Lake.

2012-06-13 #35

The next morning, after a bit off a row up the nearby creek towards Millbrook, it was time to go and hide from the next gale in the Dandy Hole. This was a rather exciting sail on the way in, with barely any water under the keel and the already strong wind giving quite some speed with just the one jib up. I was glad I’d sailed the same way earlier in the week so had some idea of the channel from experience as well as looking at the chart, and even more that luck seemed to be with me!

2012-06-14 #07

The warm sector of the depression certainly lived up to its name on this occasion.

2012-06-15 #01

As well as catching up with Paul and Mo who’d also returned to ride out the forecast gale, I went for a (rather energetic as the westerly started building) row up to the village of St Germans, just next to the impressive railway viaduct on the London-Penzance line.

2012-06-15 #06

If I’d kept count of how many attempts it took to take this photo, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t believe it anyway. It seems hilarious that ‘selfies’ are suddenly news now – if you write a blog about travelling on your own they’re fairly essential, whatever your personal vanity (note the artful blurring, takes years off!).

2012-06-15 #10

The next day was time to head back home


with a bit of a detour up the Tamar to Saltash

2012-06-17 #02

which happened to be having a regatta – probably good for the spectators that the gales had passed, though I’m sure no self-respecting pilot gig crew would be bothered.

2012-06-17 #06