News 2014

Christmas Dinner at ‘The Weir’

The club tried a new venue this year for the Christmas Dinner and went to ‘The Weir’.  Most people seemed to judge that the the new location worked well, with good food efficiently served – with the big log burner at the far end of the restaurant keeping everyone beautifully warm.  As usual, the meal was followed by the presentation of prizes; many thanks to Adam Hilton (with help from Nicky Buckett) for organising this and to Rosy Hilton for presenting the prizes.  The photos below show club members enjoying the meal, together with a couple of pictures of the prizewinners – thanks to Mandy Pollard for taking them.

Volunteer Awards Ceremony at Wheal Martyn

This year the club was one of the South West Lakes Trust’s ‘Champion Volunteers’ and received a certificate in recognition of UTLSC members’ efforts in their ‘Contribution to Outdoor Activities At Upper Tamar Lake’.  The certificate was awarded at a presentation at Wheal Martyn on Saturday 18th October.  Nicky Buckett received the award on behalf of the club, as the Commodore (and quite a few club members) was away at an instructors’ training day at Plymouth.  Congratulations to all club members who have been involved in activities at the lake this year, such as the ‘Push The Boat Out Day’ and the club’s courses.  The South West Lakes Trust website has the full details.

Thanks to Mandy Pollard for the left hand two photos and the South West Lakes Trust for the right hand photos.

Dartmoor Walk: Scorhill to Fernworthy Reservoir

Although the formal start of the Dartmoor walk was Scorhill, Toby Tobias (who was organising the event) had concerns that the relatively small Scorhill car park might be fairly busy on a Saturday morning.  Accordingly, it was decided to meet up at Okehampton Station and then re-pack into a minimum number of cars for the last bit to Scorhill; this turned out to be a wise decision,  since on arrival at the car park, another walking group (from an Exeter church) were there before us and space was at a premium.  Undeterred, Toby convinced the ecclesiastical ramblers to re-park their cars and leave just sufficient space to squeeze the club’s cars in.  Setting off out onto the open moor, the dozen club members headed south-east on a day where the weather was just good enough for comfortable walking – the cloud base was sufficiently high to leave visibility good over most of the moor, but from time to time the tops of the higher tors disappeared into the murk.  However, Toby’s planning had included compass bearings between key points, so that there were never any worries about becoming disoriented.  On the route, we passed lots of features of interest, including clapper bridges, standing stones, stone rows and hut circles.  After taking the winding path that zig-zagged down the valley side of the South Teign River immediately below the reservoir dam at Fernworthy, we crossed the bridge and a short stroll took us to the picnic site at the eastern edge of the reservoir, with loos and picnic benches – all the benches had good views of the lake, but unfortunately were widely scattered, which made it difficult to chat whilst munching our sandwiches.  The way back took a similar route and everyone was off the moor well before dark (or the mist) descended.  Many thanks to Toby for organising the well-planned trip and taking all unexpected eventualities calmly in his stride; the photos below give a good indication of a fascinating day out.

Thanks to Sheba Tobias and John Dabbs for the photos below

Cycle Trip: Okehampton to Lydford

This year’s cycle trip started from Okehampton Station and was scheduled to head off along the former railway line known as the ‘Granite Trail’.  An attraction of a return to this venue was that the Granite Trail had been extended by several miles and now offered the prospect of off-road cycling all the way to the edge of Lydford.  On a cloudy Saturday morning, a group of nearly 20 people gathered in the Okehampton Station car park, with the numbers augmented by Matthew Buckett (who used to sail regularly with the club back in the 90s), and his wife and family, together with James Buckett.  The Dartmoor Railway was running a heritage diesel train service, with free transport for bikes on offer and several of the group decided take advantage of this and hop on board, so that the train took the strain for the first uphill gradient of the trip up to Meldon Quarry station.  Meanwhile, everybody else set off and fortuitously, the train was running a bit behind schedule, which meant that we all arrived at Meldon at the same time.  From there, the reunited band set off across the Meldon Viaduct and headed up and down on the gently-undulating track, stopping at frequent intervals to look at the views (for example, at the Lake Viaduct) and keep roughly together.  Even going at fairly gentle speeds, the group soon reached the former ‘end-of-trail’ at Bearslake and headed on into the terra incognita that was the recently-added section, crossing the beautiful avenue of beech trees on the Bridestowe road.  Soon after, the end of the Granite Trail came into sight, followed by a switch onto public roads for the last short section into Lydford and the well-known Castle Inn for a lunch break – though a sub-group explored Lydford Castle and had a picnic.  After lunch, the ride back uphill towards the Granite Trail taxed a few thigh muscles, but once back on the old railway line, things got a bit easier.  The trail has always been quite well-used and by now was getting busier – the sight of the large UTLSC party making its way round a curve prompted a friendly shout of ‘Watch out, here comes the peloton!’ from a fast-moving cycling duo coming the other way….   Although it did seem rather harder work on the way back, once the Meldon Viaduct came into sight once more, the knowledge that it was all downhill from thereon made the last couple of miles less daunting.  The final reward on reaching journey’s end was the  Bulleid Buffet at Okehampton Station, into which most of our group headed, for a very  welcome brew and excellent cakes.  Congratulations to all the group for  making it the whole way there and back – a good day out!

Non-Sailing Carrick Roads Weekend

Although three boats were scheduled to make the trip for the September Carrick Roads event, the weather forecast was causing some doubts, as the wind was scheduled to be top of a Force 4 and easterly, which would have meant that launching and retrieving boats at Loe Beach might have been a struggle.  In the end, it was decided that discretion was the better part of valour and boats were left at home, but as the Cosawes campsite had already been booked, people decided to go and have a touristy weekend away.  Saturday was windy but with some nice intermittent sunshine, so we all took the ferry from Falmouth up to the pontoon at Trellisick; the ferry included a detour to St Mawes, where some small boats were actually out racing, but tight into the harbour entrance where the fetch was short.  After a safe landing at Trellisick, we had a pleasant wander round the gardens and then walked down to the beach, where we found that the trees sheltered it from the wind – so we had a very pleasant picnic, watching a group of people building something very odd in the water (it turned out to be a re-creation of The Wicker Man – film buffs may remember the cult  Edward Woodward film – being built in readiness for a fireworks display).  In the evening we all went for the now-traditional meal at the Norway Inn.  On Sunday, a group headed off to Glendurgan, a National Trust garden running down to the Helford – the gardens themselves were rather lacking in colour in September, but we wandered down to the beach at Durgan and spent a considerable time soaking up the sun and talking away.  Again, the beach was beautifully sheltered but the wind out on the water was now stronger again and we had a good view of heavily-reefed yachts beating out to sea through the whitecaps – and then another sailing cruiser sailed off from a nearby mooring under mainsail alone, gradually disappearing into the haze as the waves pounded onto the rocks on the lee shore behind it.  On the walk back, Nicky fearlessly decided to tackle the Glendurgan Maze – and got us both in and, more importantly, back out.  A final quartet then went for an evening meal in Falmouth at ‘The Warehouse’ – highly recommended.  All-in-all, a good weekend (apart from Chris’s noisy campsite neighbours on Saturday night) despite the lack of sailing.

Thanks to Chris Marshall, John Dabbs and Nicky Buckett for the photos

Trip on Brixham Trawler ‘Pilgrim’

This was an excellent trip down to Brixham for a half day session on the Brixham Trawler ‘Pilgrim’, organised by Linda Spiller.  Because of limitations on the number that the boat can take, four people (including Linda and Robin Spiller) went on the morning trip, whilst everybody else from the club took over the boat for the afternoon trip.  Pilgrim was built in 1895 and went through a varied history before being brought back from Denmark, which was eventually restored with the help of a Heritage Lottery grant and is run and crewed entirely by volunteers.  The morning session went well, despite a sharp 30 minute shower and having the whole boat to just the four of us was a real treat.  Everybody then met up at the ‘Prince William’, overlooking the harbour, for lunch and/or a drink; most enjoyable, sitting outside and taking in the scene under bright sunshine.  Then the bulk of the group went on their afternoon trip in brilliant weather (where they got heavily involved in helping to sail the boat), whilst the morning quartet took pictures of them as they left and then watched as they headed out to sea past Berry Head.  All-in-all, it was a hugely enjoyable trip; many thanks to Linda for organising it all (and re-organising when the original boat scheduled to take us out wasn’t going to be ready after her refit in time).

Many thanks to Nicky Buckett and Linda Spiller for the photos below.

Push The Boat Out Day 2014 – report by Mandy Pollard

Push the Boat Out 2014 started with the Lake looking like a mirror!  Fortunately the breeze picked up as the day went on!  Over 25 volunteers were assembled by 10.00am to meet the eager youngsters who were ready to take the first pirate boat trip  We had 5 boats on the water with a UTLSC volunteer crew and helm in each.  Mandy, Rachael and Viv manned the UTLSC gazebo, kindly supplied by John Weller, taking bookings throughout the day and telling potential members all about the Club.  Andy Walter (Jackie’s husband) from Budehaven School kindly took care of safety boat cover along with Brian Pollard.  James Pollard  (joined by Nathan in the afternoon) was booked up for most of the day taking youngsters out on Picos and in fact one family went out with him twice!

Paul Hamlyn, from the Post group of newspapers, joined us mid-morning to take photos which appeared in the papers the following Wednesday.  John and Vicki Duncalf did a splendid job manning the Boat Jumble Sale in the Watersports Centre making almost £60 towards Club funds  The pirate boats took adults and children on trips every twenty minutes although the time slots seemed to go awry possibly due to the helms enjoying the trips as much as the families!  Each boat was armed with a water pump for pirate battles which was a great success and we must get more for next year!

The day ended with an exhausted group of Club volunteers sharing a glass of bubbly from Roger (with non-alcoholic fizz for the youngster and drivers!) along with the most gorgeous cakes kindly made by Viv (Alex’s Gran) and everyone grouped together before leaving to have a group photo taken.

We have already signed up two families as new members with more to follow possibly taking part in our courses before they join us on Sundays.

A big “thank you” to everyone who helped.

Many thanks to Mandy Pollard and John Weller for the photos below

Bude Canal and Coast Walk

This walk combined an impressive diversity of scenery in a relatively short distance.  After parking in Helebridge, the group assembled at The Weir restaurant on the other side of the main road and after a fortifying coffee to get everyone going, set off; amongst the group, it was good to see Neil and Barbara Wallace again and catch up.  Kathy Wyke came along with her grandson Benjamin in the pushchair and did the first part of the walk with us, but (as anticipated) had to leave the party before the second half of the walk when the going became too tough for wheeled transport.  On reaching the cliffs south of Bude, the wide-reaching views were as impressive as always and there was some sunshine to temper the stiff breeze as everyone headed downhill towards the town.  Most people then made a scheduled lunch stop for good food in The Olive Tree next to the canal, with some adding an ice cream from the nearby stall for good measure.  The walk then ended with a gentle walk along the canal bank, back to our starting point.  Many thanks to co-ordinators Vicki and John Duncalf for organising an excellent event that went very smoothly.

Thanks to Mandy Pollard for the photos below.

Bodmin Steam Train and Lanhydrock Walk

Thankfully, this year the day for this event (cancelled due to torrential rain last year) had absolutely stunning weather for March, with bright sunshine all day.  A total of 17 people gathered at the steam railway’s main station at Bodmin General and clambered into the coaches as the engine backed onto its train.  The atmosphere of the railway generated a considerable amount of nostalgia amongst the older members of the group, who remembered the time when steam trains were just a way of getting from A to B and not a tourist attraction.  After a gentle 20 minute amble downhill, the train arrived in the bay platform at the Network Rail station at Bodmin Parkway and everybody gathered for a photo as the engine glided past the platform.  The group then set off up the Lanhydrock House carriage drive, alongside the sparkling River Fowey and up into the extensive grounds of the Lanhydrock estate.  Walking at very different paces, various sub-groups chose different routes through park and woodland, but fortuitously emerged more-or-less simultaneously in front of Lanhydrock House itself; the reunited group then made for the Park Cafe for lunch, where everyone found seats, despite the huge number of family groups trying out the newly-opened cycle tracks starting nearby.  Over half of the group then decided to head back to catch the 2:15pm train back and nearly everyone made it; commiserations to Mick and Mary Carter who got back just too late but who, like characters in a ‘Thomas the Tank Engine’ story, then took a taxi and had the satisfaction of overtaking the train puffing up the steep uphill gradients and getting back to Bodmin General first.  The rest of the party took things more gently and caught the last train back at 4:30pm – with some taking advantage of Parkway’s excellent signal box cafe to wile away the wait.  All-in-all, a good day out; thanks to the weather gods who smiled on us….

Thanks to John Dabbs for the photo below.

A group shot on Bodmin Parkway bay platform, with the Bodmin & Wenford ‘s steam engine in the background

Scrub Up 2014

A few photos of individuals from the scrub-up morning that traditionally marks the start of the Upper Tamar sailing season.  There were in fact a good number of people there – and afterwards the Watersports Centre was quite full with people eating their packed lunches – but sadly the weather then deteriorated so that nobody sailed in the afternoon.

Cinema Trip: ‘All Is Lost’ at Plough Theatre, Torrington

As a last-minute replacement for the cancelled Quiz Night, this event still attracted a good number of club members, despite the Sunday-evening slot which may well have put some people off.  An advance party went for a meal at the Indian restaurant, Maya in Torrington (the Plough Cafe not being open for food on Sundays), which produced a good meal and did well in getting everybody finished in time to amble round the corner for the start of the film and join up with everybody else.  The film itself was a cinematic tour-de-force from Robert Redford, in which he was the sole actor, and told the story of a solo yachtsman whose boat is damaged by a loose container and then struck by a storm – very well done, but not exactly a light-hearted film.  Coming out, you could hear conversations from some of the Tamar sailors along the lines of: ‘….. I wouldn’t have done it like that….’ as they discussed the attempts of Robert Redford’s character to survive the various disasters that befell him; one fervently hopes that they never find themselves in the same position…..    The photographer’s brief for the photos below was firstly for a happy smiling photo, purporting to show everybody going in – and then a gloomy, worried shot of everybody as they came out, discussing the awful disasters that can befall anybody who goes sea sailing.  However, one has to admit that the ‘gloomy, worried shot…’ isn’t completely convincing, particularly as Toby’s finger-nail chewing ‘worried’ look made those around him break up into fits of laughter; it looks very much as if none of the Tamar sailors are likely to feature in the Oscars in the forseeable future – and in fact, probably shouldn’t think of giving up the day job for an acting career any time soon. 

Laser 16 Clean Up

A hardy band defied the February gales and, in a brief interlude of better weather, turned up at the lake to scrub and clean the club’s Laser 16 – preparatory to advertising it for sale.  Many thanks to all those who helped.