We took the train to St Ives . . .

. . . a birthday treat. The train meandered through Devon – Newton Abbot, Totnes, Plymouth, and on to Cornwall, threading it’s way down the county, stopping everywhere – Saltash, Liskeard, Bodmin Parkway, Lostwithiel, Truro, Par, St Austell, Redruth, Camborne and Hayle, before we changed at St Erth, with time for a coffee in the tiny station cafe. And then Lelant Saltings, Carbis Bay and finally St Ives, to step from the platform into a world discovered by artists long before the holidaying public came to stand and stare, to eat pasties and ice creams and tempt hungry seagulls that know no better.

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Speak up for the horses

You carefully pilot your ship into harbour at the top of the tide. You wait until the tide goes out and there is clear ground around the ship. Then you bring the horse and a cart to offload into. The cargo is heavy – coal, or slag, so you harness two horses in tandem to haul the load across the beach and up to the stores.

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Same walk, different view

We walked down to the Prince of Wales Pier in Falmouth and took the ferry to Flushing. From there we walked to Mylor Bridge, then along the water’s edge to Restronguet. My companions saw the daffodils, the camellia, the fading snowdrops and the unfolding daffodils, the Cornish violets and the yellow gorse. I saw . . .

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Stillness in the dark

(Continued . . .)

This series of posts has covered a short voyage. My original intention was to outline – (mostly in images), a trip I made up the rivers Tamar and Lynher in August and maybe make a few comments about waypoints. Experiencing the advantages and disadvantages of waypoints was the exercise I set myself for the trip. On the way, I learnt much more than expected. All voyages involve a personal journey of one sort or another, but, looking back at this one, there were so many things I hadn’t seen or done before. Like many  people who finish their day job, I ask myself, “What on earth have I been doing all my life?”


I go on deck around 0500 to check the rode. I shortened it last evening to keep Blue Mistress out of the shallows as the tide fell.

It is dark. I have rigged an anchor light aft rather than on the normal fore-stay because it throws a useful light over the cockpit. The boat is only 25 foot long so the difference is unlikely to affect any passing boat. Of the two other anchor lights I can see, one is rigged the same way.

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To the Lynher

(Continued . . .)

The early morning mist reveals four egrets. We enjoy the peace together.

(Click on image to enlarge – an extra click magnifies)


The tide is falling and I decide to wait till after lunch before leaving. There will still be an hour or so to the next high tide but it will be slackening. This gives me a morning to do odd jobs on the boat and time to sit and read.

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The same question

 (continued . . .)

The depth reading is less is 2 metres and falling, the gps says I am exactly on track. Despite my resolution a mile back, I am still following the numbers – and for a moment am completely confused.

The gps says there is a straight line and just to the next waypoint and it’s just under one nautical mile away. It’s on the screen. I want to believe it but I can see it’s wrong  Looking closely at the chart it says the channel crossed to the other side of the river about 100 yards back. I make the adjustment and realise the mistake. When I was entering the waypoints I missed one; even though I checked them, I still missed it . . . not good. (You have to do it to know it).

 (Click on image to enlarge)


Although this is the only yacht I saw on this part of the river, part of the pleasure has been in the other boats. I will add them to the next post.

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Drifting on about technology

 (Continued . . .)

The channel narrows and we pass close to ruins of the South Hooe Mine on the outside of the bend.

(Click on image to enlarge)


All the way along the reaches of the Tamar from here was a busy mining area. In its heyday, more tin, copper, silver and arsenic were mined in this region than anywhere else in Europe.

The mines eventually ran out and the mining came to an end very suddenly in the late nineteenth century, the villages and towns emptied and Cornish miners spread all over the world.  In a small cemetery in Russell, New Zealand, I was very moved to find the grave of a young miner from Cornwall who died in the late eighteen hundreds. He had made the long voyage, found work . . . and died shortly afterwards, far away from home.

Once the mining had finished, the landowners landscaped the land and it was turned over to market gardening, but a number of remnants of the industry can still be seen – like these useful cuts in the bank.

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(. . . continued)

Once through the bridge, I enjoy the scene that’s opening up,

Then the depth reading drops from 4 to 3 metres . . . then 2.5 metres.

The channel is wide here but I’m obviously out of it already.

The tide seems to be taking me down towards the entrance to the River Tavy.

The buoy I had failed to see turns out be a lot further towards the other bank than I expect.

I need to zoom in on the gps. At the level I had it – a  wider view, it didn’t show the loss of track in enough detail. It would have been fine out at sea, but not here where the margin for error is a lot less.

That’s one of the reasons I am doing this.

I look at the chart and sigh. I need to pay more attention.

(Click on image to enlarge)


The buoy at last. The entrance to the Tavy behind.

Because I have neither the boat nor the money to navigate like this . . .

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