11 June - Egret Cup - Merganser first over the line!
Mark S. reports:
Frank and I were at Paglesham for this short race. First thing was to pump a lot of rainwater out. Then there was lots of discussion on the hard as to whether sailing was practicable – eventually a decision to race was made.
Frank sensibly decided to stay ashore and so John Langrick offered to crew (helm) Merganser - a tad windy for his own little boat.
We were last over the start line but reached both the windward mark and the finish line first. We should have been a bit quicker but in the windy conditions we struggled to get the mainsail up in time for the start and the jib sheets tied themselves into a very effective knot that took an age to unravel.
So, on handicap, we were fourth! But we all enjoyed a post race tipple at Plough and Sail.
29 April - Fit out and launch of club dinghy
Mark S. reports:
I was a bit worried when we chose a Bank Holiday to launch Merganser. As it happened we (Frank,Geof,Clem,Gerald and myself) were blessed with warm sunshine and light winds. By 12am we had Merganser on the hard at Paglesham ready to sail but having 3 hours to wait for the tide to reach the boat we adjourned to the Plough and Sail for a hearty lunch. Clem and Mark then sailed Merganser to her mooring with a short detour to chat to Richard Bessey who was getting his boat ready for a voyage to the Americas and then onwards. Gerald, Geof and Frank then ferried us back to terra firma where we finished our day with tea on Clem’s patio – still in the sun and admiring his apricot tree,
Merganser is now available for anyone who fancies a sail.
14 to 18 April - Easter Weekend in the Peak District
Eight HSC members (Geof, Mark S, Mark T, Jo, John, Gerald, Barbara and Richard) spent Easter weeked at Ravenstore YHA in the heart of the Peak District. The hostel is a substantial stone built house, originally built for the owner of Litton Mill, the watermill just down the valley. The hostel looks down over the valley of the River Wye and the splendid hostel grounds cover about 60 acres, extending almost down to the river.
Our walk on Easter Saturday followed the River Wye downstream past Litton Mill, now converted into appartments, then climbed to the cafe at Monsal head for lunch. In the afternoon we continued further along the riverside before returning to Headstone viaduct on the disused railway which is now the Monsal trail. The Monsal trail, being a converted railway, provides a level route for cyclists and walkers and it was pretty busy on this sunny Easter weekend. We followed the Monsal trail most of the way back to the Hostel, passing though one of the old railway tunnels.
View from Monsal Head looking down the valley of the R. Wye, Headstone viaduct bottom right
On Sunday Gerald and John went to visit the Richard Arkwright Museum at Cromford Mills and the Tramway museum at Crick while the rest of the party went walking, Richard takes up the story of the walking party as follows:
We left the hostel c. 0945 and took the lower road past the Anglers’ Rest PH in Miller’s Dale. Crossing the road we took the footpath that runs west along the north bank of the River Wye through Cheedale. This path was a bit more challenging than we had expected, being stony and rocky in places, and we were alternately climbing and descending rocky terrain. Other parts were quite soft mud. As we passed under one of the old railway viaducts we saw some children abseiling down under the supervision of adults. In places the bank of the river was nothing but sheer rock face, and here stepping stones had been provided to ensure a continuous path. We were fortunate enough to see several dippers perching on rocks or flying along above the river, but our phone cameras were inadequate to photograph them. Eventually we reached the cycle hire shed around 11.30, where we were able to buy a coffee before climbing the steep path up to the Monsal Trail. From there it was easy walking on the former railway track back to Miller’s Dale. Here we called in at the Anglers' Rest for afternoon refreshments for before returning to the hostel in light drizzle.
Miller’s Dale station is now used as offices by Park Rangers, but was formerly one of the largest and busiest stations on the London Midland Railway, even having its own Post Office. It was situated on the junction with the branch line into Buxton. Opened in 1863, it had an arched viaduct to cross the river, but in 1905 a second viaduct of box construction was opened. The original viaduct now carries walkers and cyclists following the Monsal Trail. The station closed in 1967, and the line itself was closed in 1968. The station is mentioned in the song “Slow Train” by Flanders and Swann. See http://www.forgottenrelics.co.uk/stations/millersdale.html for a photograph with steam train.