A short passage to Dartmouth

3 – A few days away – to Dartmouth and back

I’ve been away for a while – first a week on the boat then a trip to London for a ’45-year’ reunion. In the latter we met up as fellow students, still recognisable as the young people we used to be – (well . . . some more, some less)! It was fun. But the London of today is not the same as it was 45 years ago. Our dental hospital was in Leicester Square and we could walk across the square without having to push through crowds of tourists. Not that I wish to turn the clock back – tourists are good for the capital, but I want to record this enormous increase in population and to contrast it with the single-handed sailing I enjoyed a few days before.

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Three images from yesterday – Knightshayes

We were invited to visit Knightshayes accompanied by the former head gardener who had been involved in designing and planting the gardens for over forty years from the early sixties. He was talking about the trees he had planted from seed, about the garden and woods from before the garden and woods were there, about the way they had collected trees and plants, about why they had put them here . . . or there.

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A visit to Appledore

3 – Bideford Bar

I have never crossed Bideford Bar but it seems that I have known it all my life. I thought I would check it out. Who knows? I may yet get the chance.

Many sailors have crossed this Bar, and many still do. To them I say, please bear with me. I am doing what I should do – looking at the water, reading the entries in the pilot book, looking at the chart. Also, I am looking at it from two different viewpoints – what it’s like now and what it might have been like in the nineteenth century. I have always had  problems envisaging what it would have been like to live in a castle that now stands in ruins, but envisaging being at sea in a wooden sailing ship is different altogether – the sea is the same sea, the wind the same wind.

That there was a gale blowing and rain was in the air last week just made it more interesting. The outside bar was hidden in the murk . . .

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A visit to Appledore

1- The Maritime Museum

Over the years I have mentioned the trading ketch, Ceres, which belonged in turn to my great-great-grandfather, my great-grandfather and finally my grandfather. I promised myself that, when I finished the day-job and had more time, I would further explore her history.

Last week, I visited Appledore in North Devon – three reasons:  to visit the small and excellent Maritime Museum , to find Richmond Dry-dock – (in the photograph of Ceres below), and to look at Bideford Bar across the entrance to the Taw/Torridge estuary.

When I arrived, a gale was blowing and there was rain in the air.

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A day-sail – 6 hours

I foolishly left the camera my smaller Lumix camera in Farnham at the weekend, so yesterday I took the heavier Nikon 3200 SLR instead. The problem is where to put it down in a hurry when I need to attend to the boat. It sits in one of the canvas line bags at a stretch otherwise in a bag hung just inside the companionway.

There were a number of people enjoying the water. It was one of those days when the wind was steady (F3), the sun shone, the sailing, as they say, was easy. I left the mooring about 1100 and was back at 1700. No pressure.

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