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  • Writer's pictureGethin Thomas

Odds and Sods April 2021

Originally published on Photoblog by Gethin Thomas MAY. 02, 2021

Odds and Sods, or "an assortment of small, miscellaneous items, especially those that are not especially important or valuable".

I take so many photos each month and only use some of them in posts so I decided to do an actual post at the end of each month for the odds and sods that are left over, thus encouraging me to go back and see what I missed.

Only a handful of small rowing boats hang around in the creek all year, so for most of the winter there is little activity. Once Easter comes around there is more boating activity and the nature of the tides and tide times mean that quite often boats appear very early in the morning which are left beached for most of the day waiting for the next tide.

There is a boatyard alongside the creek where some boats are worked on over winter and others arrive for repairs. If beached like these two it often means they are ready to be collected or are just being delivered. The boat yard have a large crane which drives down the slipway to lift up the boats and drive them up the road. It is a strange sight if you catch it, sailing boats coming towards you along the narrow main road.

To take this photo I had to get my wellies on and walk through the stream and the mud. You have to be careful not to lose your footing. You don't want to slip into the mud or water, while holding an expensive camera. You do get a choice of nice low angles though.

Wellies- The Wellington boot was originally a type of leather boot adapted from Hessian boots, a style of military riding boot. They were worn and popularised by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. The "Wellington" boot became a staple of practical foot wear for the British aristocracy and middle class in the early 19th century. The name was subsequently given to waterproof boots made of rubber and they are no longer associated with a particular class. They are now commonly used for a range of agricultural and outdoors pursuits. (Including photographing boats in creeks)

Another one of the thatched cottages at Bantham below. Plenty of moss growing on this thatch. These cottages are very small and would originally have been fishermen's cottages.

The Burgh Island hotel, a favoured haunt of Agatha Christie. Twenty years ago it was a bit run down and in need of some investment. The interiors are all in Art Deco style. At that time you could just wander in and order afternoon tea.

Now, since it has been taken over and restored it is not open to non-residents. In fact you cannot even walk up the drive anymore. They do however also own the Pilchard Inn lower down the road which is very old and has a tiny interior, and this is open to the public. If you can get one of the four or five tables in the main bar it is really atmospheric and dark and you half expect some salty sea dogs to wander in with parrots on their shoulders.

Bolberry Down on the South West Coast Path below. One of the few cliff top coastal paths that is also suitable for a wheelchair which is pretty amazing. The views out across the English Channel are fantastic and travelling straight ahead looking in this direction, according to my research on Google Maps you just miss Brittany in France and the next landfall is French Guiana in South America.

This view below is East towards Salcombe. North of this promontory, there is a small airstrip for light aircraft which is a hangover from the war when it would have been one of the many RAF bases guarding the coast. There is also a massive concrete bunker which served as a communication link during the Cold War.

Royal Air Force Bolt Head or more simply RAF Bolt Head is a former Royal Air Force grass airfield 1 mile (1.6 km) south west of Salcombe on the south Devon coast, England from 1941 to 1945. During the Second World War it was used as a satellite for RAF Exeter.

The Ground Control Interceptor Station (GCI) RAF Hope Cove was established on the northeast side of the field in 1941 to direct fighter operations in the English Channel.

Today the World War II buildings are almost all gone but a memorial to the airfield's war-time history exists in the centre of the site, two notable post-war buildings survive including a large R6 Rotor bunker (used until 1994 as a Regional Seat of Government) and a grass airstrip is still used occasionally by light aircraft. The landowners also hosted an air display there in 2009 which saw a Hurricane and Spitfire visit the airfield for the first time since the war.

There are no fences or warning signs on the coast path and it is best not to wander off the path as the view is straight down at some points.

The Cornish Shrimper 19 below, is a British trailerable sailboat that was designed by Roger Dongray, inspired by traditional shrimp fishery boat designs and first built in 1979. The design has been built by Cornish Crabbers in Wadebridge, Cornwall in the United Kingdom since 1979. The company has built more than 1,100 examples of the design and it remains in production.

A 2013 review in Cruising World by Jen Brett, described the design as "a salty little boat" and noted "with a large cockpit, the Shrimper makes an excellent daysailer for a family, and the basic yet comfortable accommodations below allow the boat to be a simple coastal cruiser." Of the boat's looks, she wrote, "you’ll definitely turn heads while sailing through the harbour".

Frogmore Bridge below. Being in my wellies I was able to photograph the underneath of the bridge and discovered to my surprise that there is an older stone structure under there, presumably a previous bridge.

The Lower Ferry, Dartmouth, below. This is a "Push Me Pull You" type of ferry. Basically a raft with a small tug attached with ropes, that pivots back and forth both pulling and pushing the ferry across the Dart.

Here is the tug, pulling the ferry away from the slipway. In the background is Bayard's Cove, Dartmouth. This is the only intact original quayside as in the rest of town, land has been made up over the centuries to extend the town out into the river, creating more building land. It is at this quayside that The Mayflower and The Speedwell called in for repairs on their journey to the New World in 1620.

Here the tug is moving around to face in the opposite direction.

Owners, South Hams District Council, funded the refit and removed the tug Hauley VI from the water for a complete renovation in April 2020 during the start of the national lockdown.

The engine received a complete rebuild with treatment for corrosion in the wheelhouse and replacement of flooring steelwork. The entire deck receiving an overhaul from top to bottom, with beams, planks and other components all being refitted. Although, the hull and keel were in good overall condition; large areas were resealed to make them watertight and areas were strengthened throughout to ensure all construction standards were met.

A complete electrical rewire was carried out and old electronic equipment was replaced with new. A fuel tank, compatible with new regulations, was installed to allow access to the forward towing point. If that wasn’t enough, a replacement rudder, propeller and shaft were also fitted. With the external contractors works completed, the vessel was then completely repainted and prepared for launching.

Following successful sea trials and a MCA inspection, Hauley VI was passed fit for service on 11 January 2021. Hauley VI is now up to current standards and ready for service.

“The Dartmouth Lower Ferry is not only an essential part of life for our residents to go about their daily lives, but it’s also an iconic part of our local history. It has been transporting vehicles and foot passengers between Dartmouth and Kingswear since the 1700s. It’s also a real tourist attraction and draws visitors far and wide to experience the delights of the River Dart and its nearby towns and villages.”

Here you can see that the tug is now fully turned and pulling the ferry platform across.

Coming off the ferry in Kingswear you can see this unusual milestone below. This milestone is a "Grade II Listed Building".

The milepost situated on the slipway of the Lower Dart Ferry. Circa early C19. Rectangular granite post. It is unusual in having the distances in miles, furlongs and poles.

In case you were wondering what furlongs and poles were. Here is a guide which should clear that up for you. Possibly.

3 barleycorns 1 inch (in or ")

12 inches 1 foot (ft or ')

3 feet 1 yard (yd)

5½ yards 1 perch, pole or rod

40 poles 1 furlong

8 furlongs 1 mile

3 miles 1 league

Kingswear is the end of the line for the railway.

The railway to Kingswear was built by the Dartmouth and Torbay Railway, opening on 16 August 1864. The original aim had been to reach Dartmouth but the railway station in that town, which sold train tickets and processed parcels but lacked platforms and trains, was only ever reached by ferry. The railway company opened the Yacht Club Hotel at the southern end of the station in 1866, intended mainly for passengers on the ocean-going ships that called at Dartmouth at that time.

Braveheart, below, was built in December 1951, in the famous Swindon works, by British Railways. The British Railway 4-6-0 standard class 4 was built for use on the Western, Midland and Southern regions of the recently nationalised rail network. They were extremely versatile mixed traffic locos, frequently used on passenger duties.

The engine was allocated to a number of Midland region sheds during its short life and 1964 saw it allocated to Shrewsbury from where it was withdrawn and sent to Barry scrap yard in December 1966. In Barry scrap yard for fourteen years, it rotted and donated parts to other locos, until it was bought as a wreck in 1981. A four-man syndicate based on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway brought it back to steam in 1994.

For four consecutive years, 1995-98, it was the mainstay of the ‘Jacobite’ tourist train from Fort William. After a missing a year it returned in 2000 when it was named Braveheart, in recognition of the Mel Gibson film, which was shot in the West Highlands. The syndicate decided to sell the loco in 2002 and the Dartmouth Steam Railway and River Boat Company became the new owners.

This , below, was the sight that greeted me one afternoon when I looked out into the back garden. A Sparrow Hawk had decided to have a very messy lunch. Having cleared up most of the mess there were many small light feathers scattered all over the garden, blowing around in whirls for about a week, some getting caught up in various plants. I had initially thought they would all just blow away but to no avail. So reluctantly having decided I was going to have to go round the garden collecting them up I spied a sparrow collecting them for me. Then another sparrow arrived and over about three days I watched occasionally as they regularly appeared and hunted down every last feather with which to line their nest.

This is a shot of the churchyard in Sherford where our Parish Church is. What a contrast to the main churchyard in Kingsbridge denuded of all of it's gravestones in favour of an easy to maintain lawn. These aged relics show hundreds of years of the ground moving beneath them, as they lean in all directions.

It's a while since I included a sunset, so here is my latest, to finish off this April set.


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