I am aboard the Westcountry trading ketch ‘Bessie Ellen’ (built in 1904) thinking of her as a bridge to the Westcountry trading ketch ‘Ceres’ (1811-1936). I have six men in mind – Henry Petherick, William and Walter Petherick. Barnabas Shazell and Donald and Alfred Petherick, three generations of the same family, each man closely involved with running ‘Ceres’.
I have a chart in mind. It covers Scotland, Ireland, England, Wales and Cornwall.
I am on the Glasgow-Oban train preparing to sail from Oban on the northwest coast of Scotland to Fowey on the south coast of Cornwall aboard the Westcountry trading ketch ‘Bessie Ellen’. During a ten-day passage, we will see all five countries.
I’ve been using the ‘crop’ tool, trying to give the impression of a large fleet moving slowly across a frame where the only fixed point is a snatch of land in the bottom left hand corner of some of the images. Obviously a video clip would do it, but I like the black and white, the reflection of sunlight on the water, the contrast in the sails.
This is the tall ships fleet off Falmouth in August 2014.
(Images by Bill Whateley)
12 – The days of sail
There were other boats that made the passage into Cornwall exciting. I don’t know all their names but I enjoyed their presence and the past they represent:
11 – Falmouth Working Boats racing
I arrived in Falmouth around the middle of the day. The wind was quite strong and the water taxi not keen to go out, so I spent a very useful hour or two in the library at the Maritime Museum.
Out to the boat about 1600. The wind was easing. Early evening I had a privileged position. I only wish my photography was up to the evening light.
7 – Downstream, Form and Function
The trip down river had a certain sense of urgency. The sky said it – there was wind up there.
5 – River Fal, ‘Old Dreadnought’
The plan was to moor for the night against one of the visitors pontoons upriver..
4 – Poor light, Carrick Roads, Quarantine
It was a poor day for photography. I had spent the night in Falmouth Yacht Harbour, sheltered from the strong easterly wind by the pilot boat Arrow.
2 – Richmond Dry Dock
From my grandfather, via my mother, we had inherited a box of flood-affected old photographs of sailing vessels, including a large number of my grandfather’s trading ketch Ceres. Among these were several of Ceres in dry dock.