Saturday, 31 August 2013

RNLI Lifeboat Day at St. Ives

Summer Tour 2013

On a pleasant day, I went into town for the Lifeboat Day.

The lifeboat crew went through their drills – it is surprising how quickly they can launch.

The boat is now 23 years or so old and is being replaced by a new design called the Shannon Class. St. Ives Station is due to get their new boat in late 2014.

The Mersey Class 12-009 [12 is a 12 metre boat – 0 is for an aluminium hull and 09 is the 9th in it's class]

The Tractor – the tractor driver is a quiet hero getting the boat into a safe position – bow into the waves – for launching

And away!


 Royal Navy Culdrose helicopter lands a man onto the lifeboat
Another practice run

Thursday, 29 August 2013

National Trust – Trengwainton Garden, Nr. Penzance

Summer Tour 2013

We are certainly getting value out of our National Trust membership this year.

We took the van up past Penzance to Trengwainton Garden. We had visited many years ago (16 years?), so were looking forward to this occasion.

Putting this visit in a bit of context – the day before we had gone to the Urgent Care Centre in Penzance. Chris had fallen off a canal lock beam in Birmingham and her knee remains still very painful. Happily(!), the result of the X-ray showed 'only' a sprained ligament.

Anyway, to get around the gardens in more comfort and so Chris could also see more of the garden, we asked to use a wheelchair!

The injured party!

The gardens are a mix of woodland with some plantsman specimens and a wonderful kitchen garden. Today there were some intriguing scarecrows as well.


 Beauty and the Beast – my favourite

 The Wicked Witch
The Wolf aka Grandmother!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Great Western – Great!

Summer Tour 2013

Having come this far down the country, yet another visit to the Bodmin and Wenford Steam Railway is a must.

Chris went to a beading workshop, Dan and Poppy went to Paradise Mill to see the animals and birds – and I caught the London train out of St. Erth to Bodmin Parkway.
The 43 class departs Bodmin Parkway for Bristol/London Paddington

Mid-week, the Bodmin Railway run a summer 5 journey timetable – all steam. Today we had the Great Western Railway Pannier Tank 4612, recently out of overhaul, heading a 4 coach set. The Fireman said it had plenty of power for the job as it tackled the two inclines up to Bodmin General.

Pics are dedicated to Jonathan and Adrian!

With well over 800 examples built, the 5700 class pannier tank locomotives could be found absolutely everywhere on the Great Western Railway’s system and although in the 1960s their numbers were being decimated by withdrawals, several lasted to the end of Western Region steam including the Bodmin & Wenford Railway’s example, no. 4612.
GWR 5700 class 0-6-0PT no. 4612, built at Swindon in 1942
4612 is a member of the most numerous Great Western locomotive class. Introduced by Collett in 1929 for light goods and passenger duties, eventually an extraordinary 863 were built not just by Swindon works, but sub-contracted to various outside builders also. The 5700 class replaced an eclectic and ageing mix of saddle-tank and pannier-tank designs, some dating back almost to when the GWR was converted from broad to standard gauge. The design was based on the Dean '2721' pannier tanks of 1897 but with much improved boiler and a more comfortable enclosed cab. Testament to the design is the fact that there was little more than cosmetic alteration as successive batches were built until the last emerged from Swindon works in 1949.
Look away if you are offended by noisy/smelly diesels!!

37142 One of a large number of diesel–electrics in preservation, built in 1963

33110 Another diesel-electric ex-workhorse from BR days in the early 60's

Back to things steamy …

4612 on the run around at Bodmin General
Taking on more water – the footplate crew did this each trip

43127 arrives from Paddington – the Cornish Riviera Express – to Penzance. The train was absolutely packed with standing room only. Back to St. Erth – good value at £9.50 off peak return.

Altogether, another great, western, steamy journey!

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Sub-tropical gardens – St. Michael’s Mount

Apologies to blog followers – we have been on a campsite with no 3G dongle signal and no mobile! Anyway, we are now in Somerset, on a small site that is near Taunton and has good internet links.

Summer Tour 2013

Whilst on the island, I took the National Trust member opportunity to walk around the spectacular sub-tropical gardens here. The warming effect of the sea, together with a south facing slope and sheltering trees/walls gives a great rocky garden!

Firstly though, a poignant reminder of the troubled Second World War, when the south coast was thought to be under attack. Here a 'pill box' built out of reinforced concrete – guarding the eastern flank.

View of the gunner across the bay to Cudden Point

The gardens themselves are landscaped into the southern rock-face with the castle looming above – paths and steps climbed and edged around the rocks to give fantastic sea-ward views and small areas of plants clinging to the rocks.

Agapanthus – especially for John!




By now the tide had come and the boats could get into the harbour – the causeway finally flooded. Back to Marazion on the mainland by boat!


Leaving the island by sea!

Saturday, 24 August 2013

St. Michael’s Mount – Magic!

Apologies to blog followers – we have been on a campsite with no 3G dongle signal and no mobile! Anyway, we are now in Somerset, on a small site that is near Taunton and has good internet links.

Summer Tour 2013

We have been to St. Michael’s Mount on several occasions in the past – although not for a long time. It never ceases to thrill. On this occasion, Dan came – first time since being a teenager and our granddaughter for the very first time.

As the tide was out when we got there, it was a walk across the causeway to the harbour.
The approach at low tide
The harbour at low tide

Looking up at the Castle

It is quite a climb up to the castle – here queuing to get in

It is said that the mount may have been the site of a monastery in the 8th - early 11th centuries though Edward the Confessor gave it to the Norman abbey of the French Mont Sant-Michel. The monastic buildings were built during the 12th century and in 1275 an earthquake destroyed the original priory church, which was rebuilt in the late 14th century. It is still in use today.

The priory was seized by the Crown, when Henry V went to war in France. The island castle was fought over and occupied by various parties and featured in the Civil War, held by the Royalists until 1646.  The Mount was sold in 1659 to Colonel John St Aubyn. His descendant, Lord St Levan, continues to be the "tenant" of the Mount but has ceased to be resident there, his nephew, James St Aubyn, taking up residency and management of the Mount in 2004.

The Mount was fortified during the Second World War during the invasion crisis of 1940-41 with three pillboxes still left standing. In 1954, the 3rd Baron St Levan gave most of St Michael’s Mount to the National Trust. The St.Aubyn family retained a 999-year lease to inhabit the castle and a licence to manage the public viewing of its historic rooms. This is managed in conjunction with the National Trust.

Curious castellated chimneys
Church and castle tower

Enjoying the sun and scenic views from the castle top
Looking down on the harbour – notice the tide starting to turn









Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Cornish Coast

Summer Tour to Cornwall 2013

We've been in the West Country for a couple of weeks now- it seems like for ages!

The weather has largely determined activities and we have been on the local St.Ives Porthmeor beach for swimming and body boarding; I have done a couple of walks (one by myself and the second with Dan) and we had a trip out to Land's End.

There has been one horrendous storm and the tent held up well. [There was localised flooding.] Today the sun is out and we are to Godfrey surfing beach!

Here are a selection of photos.

 Walking out from St.Ives west on the coastal path

Much of the coastal headlands are owned by the National Trust

Rugged terrain

A clapper bridge at River Cove
Seals 'cottling' in the bay below

Along the coast
An artist at work

The strong winds make outside washing up fun!
Out walking – to Gurnard's Head

Gurnard's Head is the further headland

Exceptional views
More rocky outcrops!
Dan looks west – 'how far are we going?'
Gurnard's Head!

Ruined engine house
Walking up to the Head

Coastal grandeur 

The iconic signpost at Lands End