Archive for Torpoint

[Autumn 2011] Falmouth festivities and a new home port

Posted in Cornwall, Fun, Music, Photographs, Sailing with tags , , on February 28, 2014 by maidofmettle

Picking up from the last blog, 2011 saw the 350th anniversary of the granting of a Royal Charter to the town of Falmouth, following its rapid rise from a hamlet at the confluence of the Penryn River and the Fal to one of the most important harbour towns in the country. It made for quite a celebration.

2011-10-05 #01 Falmouth Charter Day (Custom)

The town’s role in the Civil War was a particular focus, with Pendennis Castle having been the one of the last Royalists strongholds to fall. The 155 day siege was happily significantly compressed in the reenactment, with the bicycle cavalry being a particular highlight.

2011-10-05 #03 Falmouth Charter Day

And of course you can’t go wrong with a cannon or two.

2011-10-05 #04 Falmouth Charter Day

(The structure in the background is the fascinating National Maritime Museum Cornwall)

I very much enjoyed the live music in Falmouth as well – here are the excellent Aberfal Oggymen (now The Oggymen as people kept thinking they were Welsh) singing with the crowd packed into the Chain Locker after their performance in the Shipwrights’ Bar

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and this is Falmouth Shout putting on a great performance in The Front.

2011-10-08 #12

In fact it was all good enough entertainment to persuade me to stay on in the area for the town’s annual Oyster Festival, though I’d now decided to keep Maid on the River Tamar (on the Devon border) for the next year.

So in the meantime it was back to enjoying walking round Falmouth, both along the coast

2011-10-08 #07 (Custom)

and inland

2011-10-08 #10 (Custom)

Except of course for the recovery time after gatecrashing a game of beach football. Turns out however much walking you’ve been doing up and down the Cornish coast, it’s still not adequate training. Good fun though.

2011-10-08 #09 (Custom)

I also roamed further up Carrick Roads again, back to St Just (seen here in rather murky weather to say the least, in fact Maid’s anchor light looks to have come on already!)

2011-10-13 #16 St Just

and to the splendidly named Feock, where I rather admired the use of a redundant post-box

2011-10-12 #02 Feock

before returning to Falmouth for the aforementioned Oyster Festival.

2011-10-16 #01

This is a big event here as it marks the start of the dredging season in one of the world’s last traditional oyster fisheries, with the harvest undertaken under sail and by hand punts. It’s also grown to become a celebration of Cornish seafood and culture in general, and draws a big crowd.

(The figure hovering above the crowd is probably Neptune, but no, I have no idea who the man on the left is either)

2011-10-15 #04 Oyster Festival (Custom)

There were cookery demonstrations

2011-10-15 #03 Oyster Festival (Custom)

obviously good food

2011-10-14 #14 Falmouth Oyster Festival

the hotly-contested oyster-shucking competition (a race to extract a bucket of oysters from their shells, for kudos and probably a fair few pints of Betty Stoggs over the year)

2011-10-15 #05 Oyster Festival

and more live music – this was my first introduction to the fantastic Dalla

2011-10-15 #02 Oyster Festival - Dalla

I caught up with Mike in the bar at some point once he’d brought Phantom Lady round from the Helford- here they are, just to show I did check up on the boat occasionally:

2011-10-15 #18

and here are Falmouth Shout belting out sea shanties again, this time joined by the redoubtable Betty Stoggs from Skinners Brewery.

2011-10-15 #19 Oyster Festival - Falmouth Shout

After all that I thought I’d actually better get around to trying some oysters by the Sunday, especially as I never had despite growing up 10 miles away from Whitstable, and having helped my parents gather them at low tide at least once.

2011-10-16 #02

After that it was time to enjoy the racing, with magnificent skill shown on a very congested course, especially considering the sail area and especially the bowsprits of the traditional working boats.

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10 feet of wood projecting from a boat smaller than Maid looks quite a risk at times!

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Sadly, it was soon time to pack the dinghy up

2011-10-16 #52 (Custom)

and sail out to take the tide east towards the Tamar

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with the help of the tide being especially important as there wasn’t much wind for a while!

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Still, there was no ocean swell and rolling here this evening, but a beautiful sunset

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followed by a handy light breeze overnight – very welcome along with the very gentle sea as I hadn’t done any night sailing since getting back from the Azores. I can’t say I’d missed it, but apart from the lack of sleep (especially marked from not being in the routine and being close to obstacles) it was a very easy passage.

Dawn came somewhere off Rame Head

2011-10-17 #04 Plymouth Sound

to welcome Maid to her new home at Torpoint

2011-10-18 #01

So Maid had a new home – and so did I – time to go and start work again.

A strange feeling – it had been a fantastic couple of years away, including the few months of autumn back in the UK, but by this point I was keen to start work again, and it was getting towards the time of year where being based in a house and an office rather than a boat would seem fairly appealing. So more anticipation than sadness, especially as I would get to holiday in Cornwall the next year.