Arriving in a sheltered harbour in the evening sunshine is something to behold. And so it was Monday night as we meandered around the river between the moored yachts and motor cruisers. The channel is reasonably wide but is bound by steep hillsides which fall to the water line; thick with native woodland and some wonderful properties. In fact if you like coastal properties with stunning views then Newton Ferrers is definitely your kind of place.
The sun setting in the west cast a lovely yellowy orange glow across all the hillsides. The water, a deep green, was like glass, with the odd ripple from a little wind gust. Having found our mooring inshore of the wooden gaff boat ‘Charlotte’, we motored across to the harbour master’s pontoon to pay our harbour dues and to introduce ourselves. Then it was back to the mooring and the settling down for the night.
This trip I’d opted for a dome tent; my old one actually. I’d briefly tried it on Arwen some months ago and so knew it would fit but I hadn’t bothered to put on any fixings such as hooks and loops to secure it. Thus we spent some 20 minutes anchoring tent poles against cleats and tying them on with Para cord. At the end the whole structure seemed quite stable albeit there were gaps along the bottom where the coaming was but it wasn’t going to rain overnight so we were quite happy.
It proved to be very roomy with plenty of head room; and most of the cockpit got covered. I wouldn’t like to have vouched for its stability had the wind got up though and so it has strengthened my resolve to design a tent cockpit for Arwen and have a go at making one before next summer.
Having two on-board necessitated some careful thinking and rearranging of kit. We had to plan what to do where and when in advance of actions. Dad took up a stern seat where he could admire the view and as he put it ‘keep out of the way’ whilst I sorted stoves and food. As always I was using two trangia stoves, one on loan from number 1 son. I love trangias. They are simple to use, superbly engineered and designed and give a warmth to the tent as they cook food. First order of the day a cuppa and some soup followed by meat balls and spaghetti for dad and stew and dumplings for me. Main course over it was fruit and custard, biscuits and another cuppa…..and some Toblerone that Dad had sneaked on board (well done Dad!) And all of this was to the accompaniment of Radio 4 and both our favourite programme ‘Just a minute’. Perfect!
Cooking over a camp stove is one of life’s simple pleasures and even the washing up and cleaning up don’t seem to be chores when you have scenery and wildlife. A young cormorant came by and stayed a while diving under Arwen and providing us with some great memories. But then the sun sank behind the hills and the little inside bend where were moored fell into shadow; so it was we opted for an early night. We slipped our mooring and pottered over to the pontoon for the toilet block and then returned and sorted the sleeping mats, sleeping bags and bits and pieces needed for the night. By 10pm we were in our bags and by 10.30 one of us was snoring in a deep sleep…and it wasn’t me!