MAIDENCOMBE.NET AUTHOR Jim Campbell

MAIDENCOMBE.NET AUTHOR Jim Campbell
Maidencombe resident since 1960. Local historian and author of the 'Coves of Maidencombe'.
Copyright © 2013 . All Rights Reserved.

COMBE WEATHER

TIDES

CURRENT MOON

KESTREL CALLING

BUZZARD IN MY GARDEN

RESERVE

NST

The bowl of the coombe as seen from Sladnor heights

The bowl of the coombe as seen from Sladnor heights

Maidencombe point

Maidencombe point
as seen above Maidencombe cove.

Blog Archive

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A HAPPY & HEALTHY NEW YEAR TO ALL READERS

Jim Campbell - site author and resident of 54 years
A new year - a new hope.  Some thirty minutes off midnight and I'd like to take this opportunity to wish a happy and healthy new year to all readers of this little website on Maidencombe, a little village on the northern boundary of Torbay.

Plagued with ill health the past month, tonight is no different to other nights as I will be staying in and welcoming the New Year in with my Mum, So Cruise and cat and kittens.

Fifteen or so minutes later, So Cruise, my collie cross and I will then venture out on our Night Patrol (whatever my health or weather, I manage this virtually every night of the year) around the combe, tending to various animals that rely on me for food - Becbla, the blind vixen, the now totally blind old badger boar and some ailing animals.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

FIELDS OF MAIDENCOMBE MAPS COMPLETE

It is with a degree of relief that I can report that the Fields of Maidencombe maps (North and South) are now complete.  A text description of most of the fields and their name origins is underway and should be finished in the next few days.
As can be seen from a specimen copy (above) - names omitted - of the redrawn map of Maidencombe,  many changes have been administered to ensure that there are no copyright infringements of existing OS maps.
The finished maps will be submitted to Torbay Council, the TCCT and St Marychurch  Ward Partnership to be placed on record.
Without the assistance of Alan and Bob Hunt,  historical knowledge of Maidencombe would be lost.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

ROAR OF THE CRUISEDOG

Rom, one of the 'fox' kittens (see ROM & REMY THE FOX KITTENS - A VERY STRANGE STORY ) gets a bit too close for So Cruise's liking on Christmas Day and the warning is dramatic.  It all took only three seconds so I've slowed it down eight times for the effect to be appreciated.   So Cruise is actually extremely tolerant of the kittens and even shares his lower bunk bed with them.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

CHRISTMAS DAY SWIM FROM MAIDENCOMBE COVE

Taken from the northern plateau, some 150 metres away.  Excuse bloom on video, camera malfunction.

HAIL CHRISTMAS DAY

Just about to set out on our Christmas Day Night Patrol and there was a drumming sound on the bin outside the kitchen window.  Venturing outside,  I was welcomed by a hefty hail shower which swiftly covered the path in a Christmas card white embrace.  Five minutes later and it had vanished as quickly as it had come with the temperature over 40 Fahrenheit.  Still, the first real sign of winter has manifested itself in Maidencombe.

The Sanko Mineral, as I thought, has been undergoing maintenance on its 'cruise' around Lyme Bay and has now returned to Babbacombe Bay, lying some 10 kms offshore.

A very happy and hopefully,  healthy Christmas to everyone.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

COMBE ESCAPES THE WORST

Just back from our Night Patrol  and the wind and rain which has lashed the combe all day and most of the evening has subsided - for the time being, as more of the same is rushing in from the west.
Two dead trees down, a small one at the top of Steep Hill and another in the identical spot of a few days ago - caught against the overhead telephone line round the corner from Beehive bend.
Flood water is cascading down Honeysett  and Orchard lanes.  The lower reaches of Steep Hill are awash and culverts are blocked.
However, the combe has escaped the worst ravages of the gale and we should be grateful for that.
The Sanko Mineral has been cruising around Lyme Bay all day and evening, covering about 100 kms on its voyage to nowhere.  She is currently some 20 kms off Berry Head and making 2.8 knots.
There are currently nine vessels sheltering in Babbacombe Bay.

Monday, December 23, 2013

STRANGE TRACK OF THE SANKO MINERAL

After being moored in Babbacombe Bay for many weeks and becoming a familiar sight off Maidencombe, the Japanese flagged cargo vessel Sanko Mineral (photo above) weighed anchor and departed at just after 8 am today.

She then proceeded slowly (about 2 knots) south for 25 miles before veering due north and picking up speed (11 knots +).  A few minutes ago she has turned due south again and reduced speed.

Perhaps she is recharging batteries or undergoing routine maintenance after such a prolonged period at anchor.

Quite a few vessels are currently sheltering nearby including two cargo vessels, the Taranto (ARG) and Sormovskiy-3056 (RUS) which are moored 2 kms off to the south of Maidencombe.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

DREAD WEATHER WARNING FOR MONDAY

Good luck if you're venturing out tomorrow as torrential rain and winds in excess of 60 mph are forecast.  The unusual weather patterns continue with unseasonably  warm temperatures. For the second year running, Spock, our tortoise is still up and looking forward to a Christmas cabbage leaf.
The combe remains waterlogged from previous rainfall and there's a high risk of flooding.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

MAIDENCOMBE TAKES A BATTERING

The much vaunted Storm Christian of October 27th bore little comparison to what was visited upon the combe on Wednesday.  Strong winds lifted my extension in the afternoon and combined with heavy rain, Maidencombe took quite a battering.

A few trees have succumbed to the stronger gusts. Residents of Steep Hill might like to observe a dead tree which has lodged against the overhead telephone cable just after the Beehive bend.

News round-up in Maidencombe:

Stock fencing continues in Nickels Reach and The Slopes.  Temporary roadworks are in place at the junction of Brim Hill and Rockhouse Lane where repairs to the street lamp are in progress.  The fault is exactly the same as when the light standard outside my property failed, so other light standards can be expected to domino effect with the same affliction.  Engineers are hopeful the light will be restored by Christmas.

Monday, December 16, 2013

HOPE TO RESUME POSTING

Apologies for lack of posts.  Illness has been the reason.  I hope to resume posting later today.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

FEROX IN DRAMATIC DASH FOR SPANISH COAST

Early hours of Friday 13th (unlucky for some) saw the Ferox operation dramatically veer from its projected track south and turn towards the Spanish coast.  The tug had been battling winds in excess of 30 knots and mounting wave heights and it seems that the captain had deemed that safety was the order of the day.
The tug and accompanying inland tanker (not known if it is under tow or under its own power) came close in to Muros, a Galician coastal town but did not moor to shelter.
Prescribing a circle, the tug immediately headed out of the bay of Muros and has resumed her original course southwards.
The manoeuvre is strange.  Weather conditions could have improved for the better as soon as the Ferox made safe waters, or a crew member has needed medical attention necessitating the detour.
The Ferox is currently (01:32 Dec 14th) 20 miles west of Sanxexo making 4.3 knots on a heading of 207 degrees.
It is now reported from Poole that the other inland tanker (presumably the Rix Harrier) has left the harbour.  Mysterious ..

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

FEROX UPDATE - CORRECTED

My apologies for posting the wrong tows for the Ferox, here's the corrected information.

The Vanuatu flagged tug Ferox has been released from her detention in Poole Harbour (detained October 27) and was seen clearing Brownsea Island late Thursday afternoon, December 5th.  She was making over 8 knots as she entered the English Channel westbound, apparently too fast to be towing the Valetta.
The Ferox was seen south of Salcombe the next day and then disappeared with the AIS not showing.
She's now back on AIS and is presently some 60 kms west of  Cape Finisterre, making 3.3 knots on a heading of 208 degrees.
An observer in Poole reports that one of the inland tankers is still there and it may be the case that the Ferox is on station with the Rix Harrier which is able to operate under its own power.
There are reportedly two captains on the Ferox at this time.
No destination is given and the original destination of Lagos, Nigeria might not apply at this time.
Given that all tows are currently under intense scrutiny by the Nigerian government in their quest to stamp out oil theft from their pipelines, the Ferox and accompanying vessel may be rerouted to another African country - perhaps Dakar, Senegal - the drop-off port for the More convoy of the towed Novara and the Bominflot 5.
Many thanks to the Grim Snapper for alerting me to the 'Channel Dash' of the Ferox from Poole.

Monday, December 09, 2013

HMS SEVERN CLOSE TO SHORE

Viewed from Brim Hill, the warship is apparently very close in but is actually lying about a kilometre offshore.  The Ore Stone rock can be seen to the right.

Sunday, December 08, 2013

HMS SEVERN IN BABBACOMBE BAY

Zoom in close from the top of Brim Hill this afternoon to make out the identification number P282 and confirm the return of HMS Severn to Babbacombe Bay.  Special op, training exercise or jolly ashore?  Strangely, the AIS was turned off when she moored yesterday suggesting it may have been a special op.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

CONTENTED

Reposing on a colour coordinated stool, Rom (left) and Remy, the rescued 'fox' kittens.

FLASHBACK TO DECEMBER 2010

The snow covered fields at Maidencombe December 19th 2010 and with warnings of a harsh winter to come, this could be a vision of what is to come for us soon.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

ROM & REMY

The two rescued 'fox kittens' Remy (top centre) and Rom (right) with a Christmas mushroom light.

ROM AND SOCRUISE

A very patient So Cruise tolerates Rom (look closely above his head) one of the two rescued 'fox kittens'.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

FIELD NAMES OF MAIDENCOMBE: 'TOM BOX'

The start of a new series of Maidencombe history and information - the Field Names of Maidencombe.  It'll give me and So Cruise a purpose over the next few weeks as we brave the winter elements. 
This is the first field name video diary of 'Tom Box' and a tantalizing glimpse of bygone decades here in Maidencombe.  The 'Finger' field or 'Box' field as I knew it, turns out to have been named after Tom Box, one of the residents who had an allotment here in the forties and fifties.
Grateful thanks to Alan and Bob Hunt for retrieval of this field name and supporting history.

Much information was gleaned from a meeting on November 13th where Alan Hunt and his brother Bob exchanged knowledge with Jim Campbell and his reservoir of knowledge gained from Captain Bill, Harry Nickels and Hiley Edwards (senior).

Friday, November 22, 2013

MUM HOLDS THE MEDAL

Mum proudly displays the Arctic Star medal awarded to my late father for his service in the Merchant Navy (and Royal Navy) for the Russian Convoy sailings in the last war. 

A MOST SPECIAL DAY

I've just been to the post box to retrieve the mail and was surprised to find a package addressed to my dear old Mum.  As far as I knew, she hadn't sent off for anything and it didn't appear to be from one of her many animal supported charities. 
Mum hasn't been well lately and to cheer her up I had been planning to put up the Christmas tree this Saturday as she so loves the festive season.
I took her a cup of tea in bed and gave her the parcel.  A few moments later there was a cry from the bedroom which I heard in the kitchen.
I rushed in to discover that my late father's Arctic Convoy medal had finally arrived!  Mum was terribly excited and silly old fool that I am, I went all misty. 
A photo and accompanying story to follow.  A most special day here in Maidencombe.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

THE DANGER OF GANTRY ISLAND

Traffic exiting Brim Hill onto the Teignmouth Road are severely hampered by the gantry signage constructed around the lamp post.  A narrow window of view exists which is insufficient for safety of motorists.  At times, this tiny 'window' is blocked off by illegal advertising boards which completely block the view of oncoming traffic from Shaldon.  Highways will be reviewing the situation in the light of complaints from residents. 
The repeater 30 MPH sign to the right of the gantry has served its purpose but now traffic are 'wise' to the sign and do not slow down. 
Repositioning of the signage to the village on the right and Stokeinteignhead to the left may be desirable.  In any event, the notorious 'Gantry Island' is considered an eyesore by many residents.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

FEROX DETENTION UPDATE

My thanks to 'Grim Snapper' for this update on the detention of the Ferox (detained since October 24th in Poole Harbour). Rather than leave a comment on a post (I agree, it's very difficult) please contact me on my email address at:  preconcruiser@aol.com

Tug Ferox – information is now available on the MCA website giving details of the 20 deficiencies found at her PSC Inspection including the 8 grounds for detention.

http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/mcga07-home/newsandpublications/press-releases.htm?id=8F8AD74EBE1E91F1&m=11&y=2013

If and when she is released from detention her name will be removed from the list of current detentions at the Paris MoU on Port State Control website.

https://www.parismou.org/detentions-banning/current-detentions

You can also see details of her previous two detentions by using the Inspection Search facility on the same website.

Friday, November 15, 2013

HMS SEVERN IN BABBACOMBE BAY

Just identified the dazzling light display of this vessel I saw a few minutes ago out on my Night Patrol.  It's HMS Severn (P282) currently anchored a kilometre off Oddicombe Beach in Babbacombe Bay and about two kms from Maidencombe.  She is an offshore patrol vessel of the Royal Navy whose  primary role is fishery protection.  She has a complement of 30 as well as armed Royal Marines for boarding vessels.

Pleased and quite surprised that my Canon Powershot SX40 is now operational once more (fingers crossed) after failing a few days ago with the PC equivalent of the 'blue screen of death'  - the dreaded  ' Lens error Will shut down automatically Restart camera' from which there is little hope of survival.  It may have helped that it was pulled from a shelf by one of the kittens and fell onto my cork-tiled floor!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

'FOX' KITTENS OK


Monday, November 11, 2013

THE GRAVEYARD OF TOWS

The More convoy, subject of great interest on the shipping forums, is now about 110 kms south of Lands End making 4 knots on a heading of 230 degrees.  Martin has kindly given me the current wave heights (crucial for tows) from the Celtic Sea Buoy and it appears that the convoy is being subjected to  wave heights well over 2 metres.

The Novara, smallest of the two vessels, is able to cope with wave heights up to 1.7 metres (according to information received).
Worse is to come late Wednesday with wave heights approaching 4 metres in the Celtic Sea.

The good news for the More crew is that they will have exited the Celtic Sea by then but the bad news is that they will then be within the feared Bay of Biscay - the 'Graveyard of Tows'.
The tiny convoy will have to keep well clear of the coast to avoid the effects of the steep Atlantic swell, known as the Continental Shelf effect.

PROGRESS OF THE MORE CONVOY

Eighteen hours after departing their anchorage off Maidencombe, the More convoy is now about 60 kms south east of Lands End  and about to leave the English Channel for the French coast.
On the Scheepvaart  (shipping) Forum, there is amazement that this convoy is operating at this time of year with these types of vessels.  One suggestion of the loading operation that took place on Saturday is that some sort of navigation lighting system was being put in place.  As I mentioned, there was no lighting at all on the Novara. In any event, the More convoy is potentially on a perilous venture to its African destination, proceeding at a snail's pace of 3 or 4 knots.  To give you an idea of that rate of progress, you could comfortably keep up on foot - if the route was on land.

 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

MORE CONVOY EN ROUTE TO DAKAR

Just after 5:30am, the More convoy left its mooring off Maidencombe.  It is currently about 30 miles south of Plymouth, proceeding at 4.4 knots on a heading of 229 degrees.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

LOADING OPERATION ON THE NOVARA?

By the way, shot Saturday afternoon, not Sunday.  Look closely and you can see crew members on the Novara  directly above the small vessel alongside.

LOADING OPERATION ON THE NOVARA?

Intrigued to see a small tender/vessel alongside the Novara early this afternoon.  Under higher magnification, the vertical orange canister shaped containers appear to be either being loaded or unloaded from the Novara.  Video clip to follow and perhaps you Dutch and German experts out there can tell me what's happening here.

MORE CONVOY LIGHTING ARRANGEMENTS

I saw why there were only two sets of navigation lights showing last night on the More convoy.  The More itself is conspicuously lit with vertical mast yellow lights but the Novara, in tow has no lights at all and disappears at night.  To overcome this, the Bominflot 5 is anchored bow leading to the Novara's stern.  There appears to be only port and starboard lights at the rear of the Bominflot 5, so the illusion is that the anchored vessels appear to be one very long vessel (2 X 85 metres for the tankers. 
Weather is ideal for mooring, a very light offshore easterly breeze and calm waters.  So far, so good, for the More convoy enterprise - whatever that may be.

Friday, November 08, 2013

CLEARER VIEW OF THE MORE CONVOY

Taken just before 1600 hrs local time Friday November 8th with my now semi-operational Canon Powershot SX40.  Better detailing of vessels here.

MORE CONVOY VESSELS

Many thanks to Martin for supplying details of the two inland tankers in the More convoy enabling identification. 
So it's the Novara under tow and the Bominflot 5 is accompanying under its own 'steam'. 


MORE CONVOY REVEALS ITSELF OFF MAIDENCOMBE

Reminiscent of the scene from The Longest Day (1962) when the Allied Invasion Fleet came into focus at dawn on June 6th 1944, the More convoy emerged briefly from a passing squall this morning.  It now appears that (as was the case with the Ferox convoy) the More has one inland tanker under tow whilst the other tanker is able to make way unassisted.  On closer inspection of the More, I can see that this was the vessel with the strange 'Christmas tree' like lighting configuration seen last night.  One of the tankers had no lighting last night - presumably the one under tow.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

MORE ANCHORED

All stop for the More convoy.  Vessels are now anchored less than 2 miles offshore.  Only two vessels showing lights though I know there is another vessel there with no AIS.  Have to wait for daybreak as my Canon has packed in with zoom on low light.

MORE UPDATE

Just been observing the approach of the More convoy through binoculars. The MTS Vector has passed by at close proximity en route for Brixham - no connection.  Two vessels now clearly lit up. One showing port starboard lights and another looking like some sort of rig, strange.  Even stranger, is a vessel approaching them from the south with no AIS.

MTS VECTOR

Just noticed that another tug, MTS Vector is on an intercept course with the More from the north.  Her destination is Brixham so it may be a coincidence.  Popping up the road to observe.

MORE CONVOY CLOSING ON MAIDENCOMBE

Now about 10 kms off Maidencombe and slowing to 3.3 knots. I cannot make out any navigation lights through binoculars.  Even small fishing boats clearly illuminated.

FIRST SIGHTING OF THE MORE CONVOY


MORE CONVOY CLOSING IN


MORE CONVOY UNDER WAY

The More and presumably the two tows have left their shelter in Weymouth Bay and are about to enter Lyme Bay. Current speed and track 3.7 knots 274 degrees.  Thanks Martin.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: TUG FEROX DETAINED BY THE MARITIME & COASTGUARD AGENCY IN POOLE

I am indebted to the 'Grim Snapper' for releasing the following information.  I stress that the detention of the Ferox has not, as yet, been verified by the MCA.  The photo of the Rix Harrier confirms my video comments on the apparent unseaworthiness of the vessel.  The Grim Snapper's text is in bold italics:


The tug Ferox has been detained by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency according to comments on the Poole Harbour Commissioners Facebook page. It is also noted as being detained in this picture from the news pages of the Solent Shipping website. 





Ferox 'detained' in Poole November 2nd  


Ferox's tows in Poole: Valetta (left) and Rix Harrier
Grim Snapper also comments that the Ferox was only released from detention in the Dutch port of Harlingen on the 19th September 2013 having been detained for 21 days for 24 deficiencies to her magnetic compass, charts and nautical publications.

MORE OPERATION NOW IN WEYMOUTH BAY

Currently moored about 4 kms from Weymouth Harbour.  Her intentions unknown.  My key (and most reliable) source has cited  upcoming wind change of direction for her move across the English Channel, which must have incurred extensive fuel costs.  My Dutch source stresses the importance of sea state and weather  for the towing of these vessels in open sea as the former inland waterway vessels are palpably unsuited to even moderate swell and wind conditions.  Many thanks, Martin.

MORE LATEST

The More is now heading in towards Weymouth Bay.

MORE CONVOY UNDER WAY

My apologies for lack of posts, but my health has been suffering for the past few days now.  I took a look at the More convoy earlier today which had been sheltering east of the Cherbourg peninsula for over a fortnight and see that it is now under way.  It is currently making 6.9 knots on a heading of 292 degrees.  At first I thought the group was making for Poole where the Ferox group is at present, but it now appears to be veering west towards either Weymouth or Lyme Bay.  Have you any intelligence on this Martin?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Lack of posting since Monday due to illness.

Monday, October 28, 2013

AFTER THE STORM - CHECK ON VESSELS OFF MAIDENCOMBE

The Argosy got underway moments after this video was shot.

Maidencombe Village - in the lee of the storm

I stayed up most of the night monitoring Storm Christian and ensuring my property was secure, but down in the sheltered  bowl of Maidencombe and the village, we were in the lee of the storm.
There were a few strong gusts which threatened to build but they died away.  Across Lyme Bay, gusts of 81 mph were recorded at Portland as well as over 60 mph at Brixham and Plymouth.  Rainfall was somewhat less than I thought; I recorded just under two inches falling throughout the night.  I even managed to go out on the Night Patrol and, despite the rain and wind, a few brave but hungry animals were waiting for me.  The strongest of the winds were funnelled in the corridors of Steep Hill and Rockhouse Lane.

Pretty tired but mightily relieved, here at Cruisedog Towers in Maidencombe.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

TUG MORE & VESSELS RIDING OUT STORM CHRISTIAN

Since leaving Rotterdam en route for Dakar, Senegal on October 18th with two inland tankers, the Novara and Flot 5, the More has been 'holed up' east of the Cherbourg peninsula and is currently riding out the gale force winds whipped up by Storm Christian.  Metcheck Europe indicates winds of up to 63 mph in its 'sheltered' mooring off the French coast.  With hindsight, probably not a good idea to start this expedition at this time of year.   The Ferox group, to my knowledge, remains in the safety of Poole Harbour.

STORM CHRISTIAN APPROACHES - AND A LITTLE STORY

Reflecting on the dreadful Great Storm of 1987 as we await Storm Christian's landfall.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

CHINA PEACE SHELTERING IN TORBAY

The Hongkong flagged cargo vessel China Peace is currently sheltering in Torbay en route to her destination of Rotterdam.

DOOMSDAY WEATHER FORECAST FOR THIS MONDAY

The 'Storm of the Century' is forecast for this Monday and is expected to bring severe or storm force winds to Wales and south-west England in the morning and across central to south-east Britain in the afternoon.  It's little wonder that the Ferox flotilla has scuttled across Lyme bay to seek shelter in Poole Harbour as its former anchorage in Babbacombe Bay would have been rendered unsafe in such winds which may be in the order of 70-90 miles per hour.
The relevance and possible danger to us in Maidencombe will become clearer on Saturday, but I will be preparing for the worst in case this forecast is accurate.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

FEROX SPOTTED IN POOLE HARBOUR

This webcam capture of the Ferox and her tow in Poole Harbour approach sent in by my Dutch contact.

AIS ON VESSELS

AIS or Automatic Identification System is required on all international voyaging ships with gross tonnage (GT) of 300 or more and all passenger ships regardless of size.

This requirement may not be stringently enforced if the vessel in question is under tow as evidenced by the two towing operations we are currently following here.  BUT, and it is a big but, it is a major concern that the inland tankers/barges/what have you that may be accompanying such tows, are not operating  AIS transceivers/transponders.  This is of grave concern to agencies and authorities who need this information should the vessel in question get into difficulties and a rescue operation has to be mounted.  An example follows.  This is a translated fragment from:

http://www.schuttevaer.nl/nieuws/zeevaart/nid16369-tanker-vestland-breekt-en-zinkt-op-weg-naar-nigeria.html

On September 5th 2011, the tanker Vestland, an inland tanker which was recently sold to a Nigerian, became detached from the Panamian tug Courbet during a storm, broke in two and sank.  The French authorities found the events surrounding the transport irresponsible and are seeking redress from the insurer.  The French were also very concerned about the Atlantic Trader (in the same convoy) making its own way because it was not equipped with AIS and could not be traced.

The United States are tightening their requirements for AIS on shipping this year and other countries may well follow suit.

If you want a real eye-opener on casualties at sea, take a look at this site:

 http://www.cargolaw.com/presentations_casualties-11.php


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

FEROX STILL IN POOLE HARBOUR

I can confirm the Ferox remains in Poole Harbour even though she has turned off the AIS.  My backup site (I've registered) of FleetMon shows her there.  The More remains anchored to the east of the Cherbourg peninsula (see map).
© OpenStreetMap contributors http://www.openstreetmap.org

Monday, October 21, 2013

NOW WE WAIT

The Ferox and her charges are now moored in the entrance to Poole Harbour  and the More operation is sheltering east of the Cherbourg peninsula.  It's now a case of waiting and watching for movement of these expeditions. 
The Ferox saga is such that it has now been at sea for over a fortnight, with all the attendant costs mounting up, with little to show for it. 
The More is apparently bound for Dakar but that is open to speculation.  There may be further developments to this story which I will keep everyone informed about.

FEROX & MORE TUG OPERATIONS: OVERNIGHT DEVELOPMENTS

The Ferox operation is now in Poole Harbour and the More group is currently moored (presumably sheltering) some four miles off Grandcamp-Maisy to the east of the Cherbourg peninsula.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

TUG LATEST

The Ferox and two associated vessels are now about twelve miles southwest of Weymouth and making 6.4 knots on a heading of 93 degrees.  Meanwhile, the More and its tows are now virtually stationary some 25 miles northwest of Fecamp on the French coast.
This is most curious and if the Ferox remains on this course it appears it is heading back to the North Sea from whence it came.

FEROX UNDERWAY

Seen here an hour ago heading north east (variable) across Lyme Bay.  Just caught them as they were at extreme range.

FEROX ON THE MOVE

Flurry of activity here as the Ferox is underway, making 4.2 knots on a heading of 108 degrees.  She is in tow to one vessel and the other is accompanying under its own power.  Video to follow.  From her heading north across Lyme Bay it may be that she is going to link up with the More convoy fast approaching.

NOW WE'RE CATCHING UP HERE IN THE UK

I am indebted to the binnenschifferforum (see link below) and the kustvaartforum for keeping  me up to date on the nefarious goings on with regard to the export of vessels to Nigeria and the strong links to oil theft that exists there.  The Dutch and Germans are well aware of this situation and now, thanks to them, we will be catching up here in the UK

http://www.binnenschifferforum.de
http://www.kustvaartforum.com

This is particularly interesting and reinforces the strongly suspected use of such tows to the African coast:
http://news.naij.com/32451.html

TUG MORE CONVOY UPDATE
The More is presently making 3.5 knots on a heading of 221 degrees - thirty miles south of Eastbourne.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

ETA TUG MORE

The More is currently underway in the English Channel and about 30 miles away from Eastbourne.  At her current speed (about 3 knots)  she will reach the Ferox sometime on Tuesday - if indeed she is linking up with the Ferox operation.

FEROX BACK ON STATION


 My outside source has told me that the Belize flagged tug More has left Rotterdam with two inland tankers in tow en route for Dakar, Senegal.  The More  is now entering the English Channel making two knots.
It will likely link up here off Maidencombe with the Ferox group.   The Teignmouth NCI  (coastwatch) will now be alerted to this ongoing situation.  High winds are forecast for next week so the tugs and their tows are most likely to shelter here for some time yet.

Friday, October 18, 2013

OCTOBER 6TH AND OCTOBER 16TH TOWS IDENTICAL SHIPS?

I've just been comparing the videos from October 6th and October 16th and the two vessels under tow appear to be identical ships.  The only difference is that the other tug, the More has gone, leaving the Ferox the sole tug in charge of the operation.  The plot thickens.

INTEREST IN THE FEROX OPERATION

I've just seen some interesting stats for viewing figures since October 16th when I've been covering the Ferox operation taking place off Maidencombe.  It's been highlighted on:

http://www.binnenschifferforum.de/forum/showthread.php?45551-Binnentanker-in-Nigeria/page11
http://www.kustvaartforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=6505&start=1200

TUG FEROX


ShipSpotting.com
© Manuel Mohedano Torres

Interestingly, the Ferox was formerly the Spanish flagged Gran Canaria (see thumbnail image) berthed at Santa Pola, Alicante.  The Ferox was involved in an incident involving the Falmouth Lifeboat on October 11th.
The lifeboat was alerted and launched to standby when the Ferox's propeller became fouled and one of the two barges it had been towing had to take over the tow.
This could well be the same operation that was involved a week ago.  It is confirmed that the tow originated from Immingham and was en route to Nigeria.
A suspect operation indeed ..

Thursday, October 17, 2013

OCTOBER 17: FEROX SAGA CONTINUES


FOLLOW UP TO THE FEROX TUG OPERATION

Many thanks to our reader 'Watcher' who sent this in as a response to 'Ferox returns to Maidencombe waters'.
'It's one of the horrible towages with old inland tankers from Holland to Nigeria. This time with one old English vessel . These inland tankers are not built for transport or towage over the seas'.
I must admit that this does seem to be a dubious operation and perhaps there should be tighter controls on the towing of vessels through UK waters as we've already had a similar disaster when the Emsstrom under tow foundered off Hopes Nose. 

FEROX RETURNS TO MAIDENCOMBE WATERS

Strange goings on in the bay as the tug Ferox has returned  (see October 6th post: Another tug operation in the bay) with yet another hulk in tow.  What is puzzling is the presence of a beat-up looking coaster which is lurking nearby.  It looks suspiciously unseaworthy and may be part of the same towing operation as it doesn't appear on the Live Ships map.  I'll monitor the situation.

Monday, October 14, 2013

GOLFING FROM SUICIDE POINT

An archive photo of Bluebird (who was unaware he was being snapped) driving off the notorious 'Suicide Point' near Walls Hill, Babbacombe.  An act of bravado as the author of this site suffers acutely from vertigo and his hobby of cliff-scaling does little to alleviate his malady.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

BRACE YOURSELF FOR A SAVAGE WINTER

The weather pundits are ominously predicting a savage winter for the UK, possibly the worst in a hundred years and that snowfalls can be expected as early as next month.
A slender hope for Maidencombers is the protection afforded to us by the recognised 'micro climate' that exists in our privileged position.
However, I recall some desperate winters here in the early sixties when Maidencombe was cut off from Torquay, Teignmouth and Newton Abbot with snow drifts that defied attempts to clear by the council.  I can vividly remember my dad placing breeze blocks in the boot of his rear wheel drive car to get better traction up Brim Hill and then clawing his way up the hill sideways like a crab.  How about walking along Honey Lane level with the top of the hedge as the snow had drifted over six feet high? 
If this prediction is correct, I can only echo the words of Del Boy:  "Brace yourself!"

Friday, October 11, 2013

ORION RISING

The majestic winter constellation of Orion can now be seen rising in the east over Lyme Bay as seen from Maidencombe..  For the past few nights, I have paused near the top of Brim Hill and gazed spellbound at this most distinctive of star clusters.  It was the first constellation that my late father taught me about and provoked my continuing interest in astronomy.  The  constellation is now in view as shown above but with one missing component, Sirius or the Dog Star which will soon appear as Orion climbs higher in the heavens.  Look for it below and to the left of Saiph which is the bright star at bottom left of Orion.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

QUEEN MARY 2 IN VIEW FROM MAIDENCOMBE

A bit of excitement here from Cruisedog Towers as I noticed that the Queen Mary 2 was proceeding down the English Channel from Southampton en route to New York.  She could be seen just outside of Lyme Bay  at 22:30 hours making 19.6 knots and lit up like a Christmas tree.
And yes, you're right, I don't get out a lot these days.

MFT PATRICIA MOORED WITHIN EXCLUSION ZONE OF THE WRECK EMSSTROM

An interesting newcomer to Babbacombe Bay is the MFT Patricia which has entered the buoyed exclusion zone over the wreck of the Emsstrom.

Trinity House’s Multi Functional Tender (MFT) Patricia works around the coast of England, Wales and the Channel Islands undertaking navigation maintenance work, towing, wreck location and marking.

From what I can observe, this is a routine examination of the marker buoys.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

ANOTHER TUG OPERATION IN THE BAY

This operation has been observed moored a mile and a half off Maidencombe in Babbacombe Bay.  Looked like a single tug towing a hulk until I zoomed in with the reliable Canon Powershot SX40 to discern two tugs,  the More (Belize flagged) and the Ferox (Vanautu flagged) lying next to each other with each in tow to a hulk (two hulks).  Destination appears to be the coast of Spain.  The mooring site is close by the exclusion zone of the ill-fated Emsstrom which also was being towed across the bay when it was holed by its tug and subsequently foundered.

Friday, October 04, 2013

NIGHT PATROL EARLY HOURS

Embarking on our Night Patrol, the horizon was lit up with multiple sheet lightning flashes way across Lyme Bay to the north.  No accompanying thunder was heard.  As we entered the top meadow, the flashes continued unabated every few seconds.  Usually,  we could expect to encounter five or six animals at this first checkpoint but the meadow was eerily empty.  After calling, a solitary dog fox emerged from the hedgerow but seemed loathe to approach into the open.
The sheet lightning had evidently unsettled the denizens of the night.  It was certainly eerie in the combe.

REPOSTED FROM MYFOXESANDBADGERS

KANDAA'S SECRET

For a few weeks now, Kandaa the vixen and the only fox that takes food by hand, has been acting most strangely.  She appears in my garden at the allotted feeding time and devours her food.  Then, after our Night Patrol around the combe, she invariably is waiting for me as So Cruise and I return, some distance from my garden.

However, I have recently observed her taking the food into the same field, pausing to look back furtively at me to ensure she's not being followed or observed.

Well, tonight I discovered Kandaa's secret.  The first clue was a young fox appearing in the lane in front of us and immediately fleeing into a field.  This in itself was unusual as virtually every fox and badger know of our existence and habits.

Around the corner, Kandaa was sitting, awaiting our return.  She advanced and gently took the piece of chicken from my hand, turned and entered the usual field.

This time, I waited for a few seconds, tethered So Cruise my collie cross, and entered the field with my head torch turned off.  Moments later and I heard the usual sounds of  a young fox calling for food. 

It then dawned on me that Kandaa was still taking food to one of her offspring but away from the scrimmaging and fighting of the other first season foxes.  A very sensible choice as all the other mothers and aunties (vixens who care for other cubs/young foxes other than their own) are constantly plagued by foxes several months old who constantly beg and steal food rather than forage themselves.

Kandaa,  a beautiful and wise vixen ...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

AN AUTUMNAL FEEL

A distinct autumnal feel in the combe was brought in via a thunderstorm in the early hours of Saturday accompanied by heavy pulses of rain.  More heavy rain forecast for Monday so hatches need a battening down.

The Project Coves is now nearing completion with all text and photos in place.  Intensive checks have to be made to ensure accuracy of information and Grid Reference points.  More updates on this shortly.



Saturday, September 28, 2013

UPDATING SUNDAY

Monday, September 23, 2013

LOST IN THE MIST

The weather forecast got it right.  A heavy mist hung over the upper reaches of the combe as So Cruise and I ventured out for our Night Patrol.

Entering the top meadow, visibility plummeted to a few yards and I was forced to turn my head lamp off as the beam bounced back off the mist droplets.  Waves of even heavier mist floated in and I was very much lost in the mist.

A comedy of errors ensued as man, fox, badger and rabbit got hopelessly mixed up.
Becbla, the totally blind vixen only got her nightly ration of chicken thighs by coming in very close.  The old blind badger boar literally bumped into me and was rewarded with two bananas and chicken scraps.  It was with some relief that I exited the meadow.

Down in the village, visibility was much improved and we completed our rounds without further incident. 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

POSTING LATER


Apologies for lack of posting due to illness the past few days.  I hope to resume posting later today.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

KANDAA & THE LAMB BONE (CLIP COURTESY OF MYFOXESAND BADGERS)

A leftover treat for a favourite vixen - the humorous antics of Kandaa as she eyes the huge lamb bone carefully.  Foxes are very wary of bones as they imagine they might be still alive and can fight back!  Note the classic paw in the air - the classic animal sign of uncertainty.

BRIM HILL OPEN

Council operatives removing cones and barriers. Brim Hill is open once more.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

BRIM HILL SHOULD REOPEN THURSDAY

Brim Hill should be open again by Thursday lunchtime.  I've lost count of the cars that have repeatedly ignored 'ROAD CLOSED' signs and driven down the hill only to be forced to back up when they see that it really is closed. 
One driver actually hit the barrier around the ditch and then got out of his car and started to dismantle the barriers!  He beat a hasty retreat when I went up the path to investigate.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

LIGHT AT LAST

Activated by a photo-electric sensor, the 'Wendy light' came on at dusk.  Strangely, even with a 'ROAD CLOSED' sign at the top of Brim Hill and another 'ROAD AHEAD CLOSED' further down the hill, cars are still coming round the corner and the drivers look most surprised (and put out) to see that the road is actually closed!

BRIM HILL CLOSED FOR REPAIRS TO 'WENDY LIGHT'

This is where the cable blew out and the repair by Western Power.  Now awaiting return of engineers to fill the hole in and reopen Brim Hill.  What a palaver!

THE 'RELIEF' OF BRIM HILL

A return to the 'Dark Ages' as half of Brim Hill has been in darkness since August 26th with the failure of the mid-point light standard.  So dark has it been that I had to wear a head torch to get back into my property when I ventured out in the lengthening hours of darkness.
So it was good to hear the merry sound of diggers outside this morning.  The arrival of Western Power in some force heralded the relief of Brim Hill.
Let there be light ... please. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

KANDAA THE VIXEN

Just went out to get the washing in and met Kandaa the vixen strolling up my path. She's in beautiful condition and will be coming into season in a few weeks time.

Friday, September 13, 2013

LIGHT STANDARD MYSTERY SOLVED

The failed light on Brim Hill
Just over a fortnight ago, the light standard outside my property in Brim Hill failed and Street Lighting were informed.  Their initial visit found no fault with the bulb or timer and yellow paint marks were left on the road to identify the standard for another visit.
Further investigations were carried out Tuesday and Wednesday with checks made at the Thatched Tavern in case the fault originated from their supply.
It had long been thought that the pub had control of some of the village street lighting and even footed the bill for some of the standards.
After extensive tests, it was conclusively proved that this was not the case.
The matter has now been reported to Western Power who supply cabling to all standards.
Under National Guidelines, they have four weeks to rectify the fault.  Mystery solved at last.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Bees on Onopordum acanthium

A relaxing little video clip of two genus of bee settling on  a Scottish thistle (Onopordum acanthium) in the grounds of Brunel Manor.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

LAST NIGHT OF THE PROMS FROM THE ORESTONE MANOR

Saturday September 7th saw the live feed of the Last Night at the Proms from the Orestone Manor.  The restaurant was at full capacity for the event as diners were entertained with rousing renditions of British songs.  

HEAVY WORKLOAD

My apologies for the lack of posts.  My workload has been heavy lately, representing the interests of Maidencombe.  After tomorrow's visit to the Town Hall and a committee meeting in the evening, I hope to have some time to myself and the completion of the Project Coves. 

Monday, September 09, 2013

HEATING ON

Sunday September 8th and the first time that the gas fire was turned on in the day.  The previous night had seen the search for the hot water bottles and an extra duvet for me and another for So Cruise.
Now thoughts turn towards Christmas. 

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

ON THE LIMIT

Four hours into the expedition, the strain shows on young James's face as he hauls himself up the roped ascent at Border Cove.  All the more meritorious as he's only thirteen years old. 

MACHETE TIME ABOVE THE COVE

Searching for an escape route above Babred Cove, the intrepid trio realise that they might be fortunate to survive the expedition ... time for me to break out the machete.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

PAN AROUND THE HOBO HUT

We left everything undisturbed.  Not sure how recently the hut was occupied.

HOBO HUT

An afternoon full of adventures, especially with the discovery of the hobo hut we came across on our way back from Labrador Bay.  The hut was here when last I trekked this path - but that was a decade ago.  Short video clip following.

Monday, September 02, 2013

FOUND - THE SITE OF THE LABRADOR BAY HOTEL WHICH WAS GUTTED IN 1938

A tricky ascent and descent but well worth the effort.  The clip doesn't do justice to the haunting magic of the wooded glade which was the site of the former Labrador Bay Hotel until the fire of March 1938 destroyed it.  The history of the site goes back to 1643 when a cod fisherman, Captain Trapp settled there.

SUMMER'S GONE

But the memories linger on ...

Saturday, August 31, 2013

BRUNEL MANOR - A STROLL AROUND THE GARDENS

A quick video tour of the top gardens at the historic Brunel Manor in Maidencombe.  A glorious last day of summer for us to enjoy the beauty of this splendid place.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

THE TRAVERSE FROM MACKEREL COVE

The main obstacle to proceeding northwards to Herring Cove is the dreaded Traverse Plateau.
An elevated shelf of breccia (rock formed in the Permian period about 250 million years ago) is a formidable barrier to overcome - whatever your athletic ability.  Well, I did it, but won't be attempting it again until I am more suitably equipped and attired.

MAIDENCOMBE MILITIA CALLED IN

An alert went out late Wednesday evening about two cars seen parked up the John Musgrove Trail.  After consultation, approval was given for the western branch of the Maidencombe Militia to investigate. 

Around 1:20 am this morning the situation was clarified.  Apparently a group of students had mistakenly took the trail off Rockhouse Lane believing it was an alternative route to Watcombe. 
They were very surprised by the militia who descended upon them to gently enquire their intentions.

They stated that they would be moving on first thing Thursday and would not be leaving litter.
They were bid a good night and safe passage.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

SLOW WORK IN BRIM HILL

Brim Hill was closed for a period this afternoon as Highways put down five 'SLOW' markers on the road at sensitive points highlighted to the department.  No excuses from now on for any accidents due to speeding down this stretch of road which has had its share of incidents the past few years.   Well done the council.

THUNDER IN THE COMBE

Torrential rain and claps of thunder in the combe as I post.  Swept in from nowhere, glad I got back from town before it started.  Quite handy as I was getting ready to water the garden ...

Monday, August 26, 2013

BLACKOUT MAIDENCOMBE

Wending our way up Brim Hill a couple of nights ago on our Night Patrol,  I noticed the main road at the cross was in darkness.   Sure enough, the reason was the failure of the lurid orange street lamp by the gantry.  Last night, the street lamp outside my bungalow failed to come on and there is now a blackout sector developing.
I don't mind the absence of light 'pollution' but am mindful of security and safety issues that are raised with no lighting.  I'll contact the council Tuesday.

FERRO CEMENT BARGE

Remains of a  WWII ferro cement barge (FCB) on Labrador Bay Beach which is only visible at low tide.  The bow section is further up the beach.  This one was believed to have been deliberately beached just after the war.  FCB's played a crucial role in the D-Day Normandy landings where they were utilised for Mulberry harbours and transportation of fuel and munitions.  Some were motorised, though the Labrador Bay example was not and could have been used for water transportation.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

HIGH ABOVE LABRADOR BAY

The clip tells it all ...

CLAW TROPHY

Found this striking crab claw on the way back from the coves Saturday.  So Cruise barked furiously at it and the cat fled under the settee so it must have impressed them as well!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

LANCASTER & SPITFIRE

Sorry about the judder, but the WWII famous formation appeared suddenly behind me and I only had a few seconds to try and capture a quick vid clip without a stable platform.  Fantastic to see them over our piece of coastline.

AVRO VULCAN OVER DAWLISH

On my 4th Project Coves shoot this afternoon,  I encountered part of the Dawlish Airshow as I wended my way along the coves.  I thought my old eyes were deceiving me as I glanced up and saw what I thought was an Avro Vulcan flying over the bay.  No tripod, so I had to unsling the trusty Canon Powershot SX40 and blast in the zoom.

Friday, August 23, 2013

THE MIGHTY BORDER BEECH TREE

Bit of a rambling vid clip, I know, but I thought it fitting to take it this afternoon on the spur of the moment.   Confirmed that it is indeed a beech tree (see previous post and quiz) but didn't want to spoil the clip (more) by incorrectly naming it. 

Truly a mighty beech tree,  recognised and preserved on film before its possible future demise.

TREE IDENTIFICATION FROM LEAF SAMPLE


I felt a bit of an ignoramus after taking a video clip of a special tree in Maidencombe this afternoon, so I took a leaf sample (above) to try and identify it when I got back to the PC.  I was fairly sure what it was, but didn't have enough confidence to state it.

I found this interesting link and a little quiz to test what knowledge I had.  I was surprised to see my leaf  at number 1 and even more surprised to find that I had correctly identified it in the first place.

It must have been a fluke as I scored 8 out of 8.  See how you get on by clicking on the link.


LEPRECHAUN SCARECROW

Made me chuckle as I walked down the hill this afternoon.  It appears to be a Leprechaun Scarecrow in Terry's allotment garden to keep the thieving birds away.  Nice one!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

A SURPRISING SIGHTING INDEED

On my way shopping up Moor Lane I was most surprised to see the Maidencombe road sweeper from the sixties walking along with a backpack.
It brought back memories of that now forgotten era.

It may surprise residents to know that there once was a full-time, council paid road sweeper for Maidencombe.

I have forgotten his name but he was a regular fixture around the village with his little wheeled cart and invariably smoking a pipe.
He was, on occasions accompanied by one or two dubious fellows  and my little cameo recall ends somewhat dramatically.

For whatever reason, one late autumn's afternoon, the road sweeper and his two companions attempted crossing the narrow channel between Shaldon and Teignmouth in a tiny pram dinghy.

The current is very strong at this point with a severe undertow and local knowledge about the dangers here were evidently not sought by the hapless trio.

The dinghy overturned, tipping the occupants into the water.  Their situation became dire as two of them were wearing heavy overcoats which became waterlogged, making it impossible to swim to safety.

I was running from Shaldon back to Maidencombe on the afternoon of the incident and vividly recall a dreadful sight that met my eyes.

A rescue helicopter had been called out and was hovering a few feet above the estuary entrance.  I stopped to observe, not knowing of the dinghy capsizing earlier.
A line was suspended from the helicopter and suddenly, it was winched in.  A  body, with water pouring off it, emerged from the water and then the helicopter turned and flew off towards Teignmouth with the body still suspended below it.

I was never sure if the body of one of the others was ever found but the sole survivor was the road sweeper and I never saw him again - that is, until this afternoon.   A surprising sighting indeed ...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

PATIENTLY WAITING

So Cruise waiting patiently for me to get back Monday evening.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

CHESS CLUB AT THE ORESTONE MANOR

I'll have some explaining to do come Sunday lunchtime after arriving home to a house in darkness at 2:30 am.  So Cruise was in the living room looking accusingly at me as I made my belated entrance.
Usually the excuse would have been that I had partaken of a few sherberts too many and had totally lost track of time.  However, on this occasion the reason is somewhat bizarre. 
I had been playing chess up at the Orestone Manor Hotel, after last playing  in 1965! 
Time simply flew by and after scrambling a couple of draws against better players,  I returned home trying to think up a better cover story.

'Playing chess until 2:30 in the morning?  Come on, pull the other one, it's got bells on!'  On second thoughts, I'll say that I had  one too many - at least that'll be more believable.

Friday, August 16, 2013

BLACK SAIL UP

The type of small, inshore craft that would make drops of 'tubs' off secluded coves for later collection from the land.  The tubs (containing all manner of merchandise from brandy to tea) were often bought in the Channel Islands and sailed across the English Channel under cover of darkness with black or maroon sails to cloak their progress. 
Notorious smuggler Jack Rattenbury from Beer on the east coast of Devon plied his lucrative trade all along the Lyme Bay coastline.
If challenged by a coastguard cutter or Royal Navy vessels, the tubs were thrown overboard and the smugglers could proceed without arrest.  On many occasions they could return an hour or so later to retrieve their cargo.

UP THE CLIFFS WITH SMUGGLED GOODS

From the stretch of coastline between Maidencombe and the Ness, smuggled goods such as brandy, rum and tea would be landed at any sandy cove with no access for horses.  The only way up the steep cliffs was by men carrying goods on their shoulders or backs.  Once at the top of the cliff, ponies and carts were waiting.  The hooves of the ponies were often covered in leather to muffle any sounds.

SMUGGLERS TUNNEL

A smugglers tunnel very similar to the one  at the Ness Cove in Shaldon.

EXCISE MEN AWAITING SMUGGLERS

On a lofty vantage point high up on the cliffs, excise men in the early nineteenth century on the lookout for smuggling along a stretch of   Devon coastline. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

TWO CENTURIES OF KNOWLEDGE

It is a duty of those with knowledge to pass it on  lest it fade and be lost in the mists of time forever.

A special little gathering took place this afternoon up at Ferndale House when Bob Hunt and his younger brother Alan took tea with Jim Campbell, the junior of the venerable trio.
Their pool of Maidencombe knowledge is well over two hundred years and stretches back to pre-1930. 

The decades were rolled back as the brothers related experiences and life in Maidencombe before and during WWII.  The shape and positioning of  former buildings down in the village were confirmed by notepad sketches and tales aplenty were swapped.

A few popular stories going the rounds in the village were discussed and subsequently debunked.

The afternoon flew and my head was buzzing with several new facts hitherto unknown.

A worthwhile meeting indeed.





SUMMER'S NEARLY GONE

It came with a surging virtually uninterrupted spell of three glorious weeks in July and then stuttered and stalled as August gathered pace.  Yes, that elusive rascal we call summer has seemingly made its main appearance for this year and now the last fortnight ticks away.  A sensational red dawn Tuesday heralded the weather breakup as the rain swept in this morning.  The garden really needed it, far more than our human desire for blue skies.  Summer's nearly gone but my favourite season beckons ...

Sunday, August 11, 2013

CORRUPTION OF PLACE NAMES

I am indebted to Paul down Stoke Road for the article on 'Lost Village of Labrador' he sent in to me.
The medieval map (above) was included.  Of great interest are the place names, some of them familiar but others are real shockers.  Present day name of one of the lanes running from Forches Hill eastwards is Butterfly Lane.  The medieval map shows it as 'Better Flee Lane' and there is a good reason for this unusual name.  At the old cross stood a gibbet or gallows, positioned high up on the hill to be evident for all to see.  The corruption to Butterfly Lane may or may not have been accidental, but is intriguing, nevertheless.  A fascinating map,  I think you will agree.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

PROJECT COVES NEARING COMPLETION

After three expeditions over the rocks, down tortuous cliff paths, I've amassed sufficient footage and hi-res stills for Project Coves.  There now remains the 'Yippee Kayak By'  when water and tide conditions are favourable to view all coves from offshore and confirm identifying features from seaward.

After the woeful Titanic2 maiden launch and tiny voyage, I will be swapping craft for the Red Surfer, a sit-on kayak with no stability issues.  Also, hopefully, I will be accompanied.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

BUZZARD ZOOM

That's me whistling at the start of the clip - trying to get the buzzard to fly.  You get an idea how difficult it was to hold the camera steady with no tripod when I zoom out at the end.

BUZZARD CALLING

Rare sighting of a Common buzzard (Buteo buteo) on the ground calling to its mate circling high above.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

HUE AND CRY INVOKED

For the first time in living memory in Maidencombe, a hue and cry was invoked from the Thatched Tavern at ten minutes past ten Monday evening. 

A vigilant resident had observed the northern gate to the cider orchard being opened and a land rover type vehicle drive in with a caravan in tow.  It had then exited the orchard and proceeded into adjoining fields under lease to the Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust.

A call was made to the pub and several residents set off up Rock House Lane to investigate.
The landlord, Mick Bruckin and an employee, Andy Maltas were joined by three Maidencombe Residents Association committee members, James Harvey, Rodney Horder and Jim Campbell.

The group caught sight of the vehicle exiting Tipley Finch and driving across the John Musgrove Heritage Trail path into private land opposite.

A strange hour to make such an unusual journey up difficult terrain and it is questionable whether permission had been sought to cross Trust land.  Further investigations will follow today.

The residents returned to the Thatched Tavern for a well-earned pint.  A little adventure and a story to be remembered.


Sunday, August 04, 2013

EXPEDITION 3 OF PROJECT COVES

ROCK FLATS
Both the first two expeditions were five hour strength sapping sagas but were good preparation for amassing preliminary photo angles to assess back home.
With high tide around 5 pm I set out at exactly midday knowing that it would be tight to get to the Ness at Shaldon and back before the tide cut me off around 3:30 pm.
Proceeding via the South West Coast Path to my designated drop down one of my cliff paths, I encountered several groups of hikers travelling in both directions. 
I began to feel like a tour guide as everyone stopped to ask questions about the route.  Although I was in a hurry,  it was only courteous to pass a few minutes to convey information.
By the time I cleared Bundle Head just before the Ness, the flat section of rocks was beginning to flood.  After squeezing off a few shots and telephoto video, I gulped down some water and legged it back to my chosen cove escape route up over the cliff.
I just made it with waves breaking up to my knees.   I've scanned the footage and I think I've got everything I need now.  Looking good ...

Saturday, August 03, 2013

HITTING THE COVES FOR EXPEDITION 3

Weather good for filming and tides reasonable for Expedition 3 of Project Coves.  Bumper edition this evening, fingers crossed.

Friday, August 02, 2013

ON THE CLIFF FACE FOR PROJECT COVES

It may not look like it, but this is a clearly defined path above one of the fourteen coves from Maidencombe to the Ness.

SEA FRET AND SURF

On Expedition 2 for Project Coves, Thursday afternoon and events are conspiring against me somewhat ...

Thursday, August 01, 2013

MOVING OUT

Wall to wall sunshine here at Maidencombe-upon-Sea which is ideal for the second photo shoot for Project Coves.  A couple of access points to be mapped as well.  I won't be negotiating  the elevated plateau from Mackerel Cove to Herring Cove this time!  Back with (hopefully) the goodies later this evening.  Moving out   ....  Rawhide!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

BACK TO THE COVES

Still recovering from my five hour excursion from Maidencombe to the Ness via the coastal rock route, Monday afternoon.  Much information was gleaned but a further expedition is necessary to complete the field study.  This time I will be fully equipped with scaling gear and full length machete, as I will have to climb to the Southwest Coastal Path a number of times. 
Had I been so equipped on Monday,  I would have managed the ascent of Red Bag Cove, instead of having to abort only twenty feet from the summit.  The lacerations and multiple scratches sustained are a reminder of the abortive attempt. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

A TIRING DAY

NESS COVE BEACH
Pretty tired after Monday's efforts.  I set off from Maidencombe Cove at 2:10 pm and got back home just short of five hours later.  Over a hundred stills and thirty plus video reference clips were taken for my Project Coves archive.  Now it's full steam ahead to compile text and produce the field guide.



Monday, July 29, 2013

PROJECT COVES

MACKEREL COVE
A sadly neglected project of mine for some months, I am now making time to survey and map the stretch of coastline from Maidencombe to The Ness at Shaldon.  There exists much confusion on the naming of the coves and sandy stretches - beach, inlet or cove - along this stretch with major map sites such as Google maps and Bing maps omitting names for lack of knowledge.

The first three weeks in July with virtual unbroken sunshine would have been ideal for such a project. Well, lackaday, I'll make do with what is on offer, starting this afternoon.  The forecast is (hopefully) dry with sunny intervals. 

To coin but two phrases by Douggie and Arnie - 'I shall return' and 'I'll be back'   ....

Friday, July 26, 2013

MAIDEN VOYAGE - EPILOGUE


BELL ROCK TO PORT

Part 2 of the maiden voyage of Titanic 2.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

CLIP COURTESY OF PRECONDEROTOUS



An adventurous 'action' hour in the life and times of Bluebird as the tiny Titanic 2 is launched from Maidencombe cove and fearlessly sets course for the Bell Rock, some 400 metres distant.  A tiny voyage for a tiny Titanic 2 - but fraught with danger as we shall see ...

MAIDEN VOYAGE OF 'TITANIC 2' - CLOSING WITH THE BELL ROCK

Such a tiny craft that I thought that the name Titanic 2 would be a hoot - little did I know how close to disaster I was sailing to - just like her namesake.  Videos being prepared.

WE HAVE DELIVERY

The redelivered FedEx package arrived an hour ago.  See the video clip 'Yippee kay ak'  over on our sister site at:
www.preconderotous.com

HEAVY RAIN

Heavy rain has now delayed our scheduled Night Patrol.  It could also interfere with my planned 'Action' seafaring adventures.  Not a drop of water has fallen in the combe for all of July and just when I get a boat, the heavens open.  FedEx called this morning with the boat but failed to act on instructions to sound their horn and duly took it away.  Now being redelivered today, fingers crossed.  It all goes to show that if it can go wrong, it usually does ...

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

RAIN ARRIVES

Just started to rain in Maidencombe!  Thank goodness.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

MAIDENCOMBE ESCAPES THE FORECAST RAIN

Out and about last night and there was a short, sharp heavy shower out at Galmpton near Churston.  Maidencombe, however, seems to have missed out and we may have to wait until later in the week for our share.

On the boating front,  the spray deck has arrived but the kayak is scheduled for delivery Wednesday morning.  I had a try on Bobbiball's kayak last night, footage can be seen over on our sister site www.preconderotous.com

Monday, July 22, 2013

FIRST RAIN IN THE COMBE

As forecast in an earlier post,  the first welcome drops of rain fell in the combe about 10:30 pm Sunday night.  The  gentle shower came shortly after a series of sheet lightning  with accompanying thunder roughly 30 miles distant to the south.  A gorgeous freshness in the air lingered in the combe several hours later as if Nature herself approved.  More widespread showers are forecast for this evening.

HAVE BOAT WILL TRAVEL PART 2

Delivery Tuesday/Wednesday - ordered the spray deck, vital if I don't want to be swamped and sink - also due for delivery same time window.  Confidence is high here at Cruisedog Towers and excitement is mounting...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

HAVE BOAT WILL TRAVEL

The advertised 'action'  in a previous post is bang on schedule as I've just won an Ebay auction for a sea-going craft.  Don't get too excited as it's tiny but ideally suited to my needs.  No roof rack on the car so length a major factor as is weight. 

The last time I took to the waves was many a year ago when I launched my surf canoe from Maidencombe cove late one afternoon.  I paddled with ease out towards Babbacome beach some two kilometres away but then had a nasty shock when I turned for home.

The wind and tidal current were against me and it was an exhausting paddle to get back in fading light.  When I did beach there was the fearsome climb up the steep steps carrying the heavy canoe.
Good adventure though it was, I never attempted 'putting to sea' again.

Stay tuned for 'Bluebird Sails Again' - coming to a blog near you shortly ... sigh

BLESSED RAIN COMING TO THE COMBE

A remarkable header given the soggy summers of the past two or three years but now the situation has changed dramatically.  Not a drop of rain has fallen in July thus far and only one day has seen cloud cover.  For three weeks the sun has blazed down on the combe, bleaching the fields and lawns as grass has died away. 

Inevitably, now cometh the thunderstorms and accompanying heavy rain and they could appear anytime from Monday - but more likely later in the week.

The rain will also be an absolute blessing for wildlife in the combe - particularly badgers who have been having a really rough time.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

STILL ALIVE

A yawning chasm since I last posted.  Internet speed has been virtually non-existent and pages take forever to load.  Uploading video has been impossible.  Fingers crossed, we're back in action now. 

'Action'  is the keyword as I am planning some sea operations and adventures next week.  A veritable visual video feast is in the pipeline for regular visitors to the Maidencombers. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

A BEAUTIFUL STUDY

Taken early hours today - fox cub 18 - 20 weeks old.  A really beautiful study of such a young fox taken at close quarters.

Friday, July 12, 2013

DEER CLIP

This clip shot early evening Thursday.

DEER SIGHTED AGAIN

Managed to capture a short video clip of one of our deer again, this time briefly out in the open.
So sharp was her hearing that she looked towards my location immediately I projected the zoom (quite audible) on my Canon Powershot SX40.  This one of many beautiful stills extrapolated from the clip.  Of course, the Holy Grail of combe wildlife snappers is the magnificent stag.  I have encountered him at very close quarters when he leapt across the road in front of me and literally ran up the side of an eight foot wall and disappeared leaving me gasping in amazement.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

A TIRING DAY AND NIGHT

Quite a day Monday was.  I arose at 1 pm (bear in mind I am a creature of the night and usually retire around 4 am) made a cuppa and reclined by my pond with the dulcet tones of the fountain to relax by.  I somehow had it in my mind that it was Sunday and decided that I would have that rarest of things - a day off. 

Imagine my surprise an hour or so later to discover that it was Monday and I had many chores on my rota.  Cancel the day off.

Gardening, household cleaning, cooking and making a buck or two on the sports trading ensued and then off to the hash at 6 pm.  

A ninety minute run with adventures completed the evening and then it was back home to prepare for our Night Patrol around the combe.  All in all, a tiring 24 hours.

Sunday, July 07, 2013

HIGH SUMMER IN THE COMBE

There's been a glorious start to July with clear skies and temperatures more in keeping with the image of the English Riviera down here in Torbay. More of the same is forecast for the coming week.  After  previous dismal summers it's fingers crossed that we have a change of luck. 

The fine spell has greatly assisted my push for fitness and Saturday saw my eleventh consecutive day of gentle running.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

FOX CUB OUT AND ABOUT

Seen out early hours today.  More interested in a nearby badger than me and So Cruise.

Friday, July 05, 2013

SCENT OF LIFE - BREAKOUT

Left: as found April 21 2012. Right: Today tiny sprouts emerging from the narrow aperture.
Remember the 'Scent of Life' video last April?  There's been 'developments' as you can see from the above photo. Even though the plant inside the scent bottle is never watered, providing its own source of moisture, it is flourishing and growing.  See the original video over on Preconderotous.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

VIEWS FROM MAIDENCOMBE ON A SUNNY DAY

Zooming across Babbacombe and Lyme bays with my Canon Powershot SX40.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

I FEARED THE WORST

After not sighting Limper (injured front paw) for several nights,  I was beginning to fear that something dread had overtaken her in the night.  I was going to post her suspected demise after returning from our Night Patrol.

In the melee of feeding,  I saw a vixen approach from a certain position at my side and suddenly it struck me that this vixen was indeed Limper but - remarkably - with virtually no limp!  As she made off with some food I noticed a very slight limp every few strides, it was certainly her!

There had never been any swelling on the affected paw necessitating my administering antibiotics and I was curious what had caused the injury.

It occurred to me that she had probably been present for several nights without my noticing her presence.

BLOG CONTENT

BLOG CONTENT
The twinning of Maidencombe with Comeinbemad reflects the light-hearted nature of this gentle blog. The articles posted are written by the author alone and have no connection with any official body or association.

SLADNOR PARK CHALETS

SLADNOR PARK CHALETS
Eerily shrouded in mist, two of the lower chalets of Sladnor Park.

BURNING OF THE BAMBOO MAN JUNE 5 2016

AN ODE TO SLADNOR PARK

(sung to the tune of 'Home on the Range')

Oh give me a park where the badgers can roam
Where the deer and the wildlife reside
There never is heard the developer's word
To disturb where the denizens abide

Oh give me a park where the diggers are banned
And the architect can't earn his fee
Where the noise of the town
Is a far distant sound
And conservation is all it can be

For when houses are built
The council covered in guilt
And all the animals forlorn
Now the only sounds to be heard
Are vehicles absurd
And the cries of a motherless fawn

Jim Campbell

Search This Website

OUR MAIN LINK - CLICK ON IMAGE TO REDIRECT

OUR MAIN LINK - CLICK ON IMAGE TO REDIRECT
THE ENDANGERED CIRL BUNTING - SYMBOL OF THE MAIDENCOMBE COMMUNITY GROUP

PUTTING MAIDENCOMBE ON THE MAP

PUTTING MAIDENCOMBE ON THE MAP

OUR LOCAL LINK

I came across this fascinating and informative guide to St Marychurch and Babbacombe recently. For many Maidencombers, these are our local shops and first 'port of call' before venturing into the urban jungles of Torquay. There's a local news feed which is regularly updated. Well worth a look. Here's the link:



CLICK HERE FOR BABBACOMBE & ST MARYCHURCH GUIDE WEBSITE

MOST VIEWED POST ON THIS SITE

MOST VIEWED POST ON THIS SITE
The old Toll House on the west side of the A379 Teignmouth Road, stands at the junction of Claddon Lane with the A379 about 50 yards from Ridge Road and the former position of the black and white Solomons Post sign (see side panel right). This early photo shows the open porch (lower left) - now blocked off and the blanked out toll-board recess (top right). Under the angled roof on the right, there is a small shop and working post office. The building probably dates from 1827 when the new road was built. Originally named Solomon's Post Gate when there was a gate across the road for the toll collector to open upon payment.

RAMBLING GROUP WRITE-UP OF WATCOMBE TO MAIDENCOMBE WALK

Found this interesting little site with a rambling group's write up of walks. CLICK HERE FOR MAIDENCOMBE WALK ARTICLE

MAIDENCOMBER SLADNOR VIDEO AND WRITE-UP

YOUR LOCAL WEB APPROVES DREAMINCOMBES

YOUR LOCAL WEB APPROVES DREAMINCOMBES
After scrutiny by a panel, this site has been added as a reputable source of information about Maidencombe.

ARCHIVE: MAIDENCOMBE TIMELINE EVENING AT THE THATCHED TAVERN

The first Timeline evening took place Wednesday evening March 20th at the Thatched Tavern. Local lad Ziggy Austin's brainchild, it was an endeavour to map out the history of Maidencombe on a ten metre paper scroll. The initiative was first mooted and widely supported on Ziggy's Maidencombe Residents Facebook page. Residents and non residents were asked if they could research local history on the area and bring along any material such as postcards or text to place on the scroll.
The first evening was well attended and as can be seen in the photos on the left, a great deal was achieved.
Longest residing villager, Alan Hunt attended to add his considerable knowledge and was supported by his 'young' student Jim Campbell with a mere 53 years of residence under his belt.
The pub opened up the restaurant area for the occasion and were most generous in providing sandwiches for the studious throng.


SOLOMONS POST AT THE JUNCTION OF TEIGNMOUTH ROAD & RIDGE ROAD

SOLOMONS POST AT THE JUNCTION OF TEIGNMOUTH ROAD & RIDGE ROAD
No known images of this iconic Maidencombe landmark exist. Post war and up to the late 1960's, sign posts were wooden posts painted black and white. This is a close reconstruction of the sign where buses would actually pull in to for passengers to alight or board.

A UNIQUE VIDEO

A video of one of my foxes being treated for Sarcoptic mange - taking the medication on the food by hand. She recovered completely and my thanks go out to the Derbyshire Fox Rescue who supplied the medication.

DRAMATIC EROSION OF THE SOUTHWEST COASTAL FOOTPATH

Worth a look as Maidencombe's section of the SWCP is also very much under threat.

From myfoxesandbadgers site

ARCHIVE: DANGEROUS STATE OF CLIFF FACE

ARCHIVE: DANGEROUS STATE OF CLIFF FACE
Photo taken from the beach cafe above Maidencombe cove and the arrows indicate the cause for concern. A minor land slip has already taken place and the Environment Agency had a look Christmas eve in case the cove had to be closed.

ARCHIVE: Entrance to Crossways at Maidencombe Cross

ARCHIVE: Entrance to Crossways at Maidencombe Cross
After a catalogue of antisocial behaviour displayed by motorists illegally entering a private area, the police recommended that the entrance be made narrower. A sad indictment of society.

THE FOLLY AT SLADNOR PARK

THE FOLLY AT SLADNOR PARK
Constructed between 1830-1833 by Mrs Groves who inhabited Sladnor Manor House at the time. The hexagonal tower and accompanying arched outbuilding were built of Devon red sandstone. A projecting castellated cornice crowned the gothic apertures and single faux crossbow slit at ground level. A most interesting aspect of the folly is the purpose-built pony and trap winding carriage-way which Mrs Groves carved through the north western woods of the estate to facilitate her passage to and from the folly. The structure is now in poor condition and it is earnestly hoped that Richmond Villages, the new owners of Sladnor, will be able to make safe the folly to enable residents to enjoy in years to come.

FEATURES OF MAIDENCOMBE

Some of the features we will be mentioning:

ROCK HOUSE GAZEBO
THE CASCADE
THE IRON STILE
THE CASTELLATED FOLLY
THE BAT RETREAT
THE PUMP HOUSE
THE PILL BOX
THE 190 OAK
SMUGGLER'S LANE

GRADE 2 LISTED ROCK HOUSE GAZEBO

GRADE 2 LISTED ROCK HOUSE GAZEBO
Circa 1850. Constructed of Devon red sandstone with unfortunately, as is the case with the Sladnor Folly, some cement patching. Sited at the eastern end of the garden, overlooking the sea. A single storey structure with faux castellated parapet. It has a one-window front incorporating a gabled porch on the front to left with a segmental headed and arched doorway. There is a matching arched window to the right. Reportedly, the structure had a flight of external steps for access to the flat roof with commanding views of Lyme Bay. The interior is clay-tiled laid.