Sunday, 25 October 2015


The lovely farmers I am living with while studying in Exeter let me tag along to Dartmouth yesterday. They were heading for the food festival to do some research on goat meat in the area but I was more interested in going off to do my own thing. Which of course meant photography and some exploration. 
Well the weather didn't start well for the photography side of things. All the way down to Dartmouth it was misty and rainy and just plain miserable. When we arrived at Dartmouth at midday nothing had changed but there was a promise of clearing skies by 3pm. 
My first point of interest for the day was Dartmouth Castle and St Petrox Church where my great-great grandfather was christened and married. I had been before, way back in 2007, I think it was. 
I decided to walk from the city centre around the bay to the castle, forgetting that last time we drove that way and it's not actually that close. The castle is situated on the right tip of land in the photo below. 

Across the Dart River is Kingswear which can accessed by ferry (foot or car) or by driving the long way around the countryside. There is a little steam train there and a ride on the train and a walk up a hill can take you to Agatha Christie's last holiday home.

This paddle steamer, called Kingswear Castle is the last of its kind still operational in the UK. This one was from the early 1900s and built by Philip and Sons Boatbuilders further down the river. The more interesting thing for me is that the Kelland family were apparently masters of the steamboats that travelled from Dartmouth to Totnes once upon a time. Now a more updated and fancy ferry can take you on that trip. But the paddle steamer still takes people along the Dart and out to sea in good weather.

This is the view from Bayard's Cove, a fort used to protect the bay. There are holes all along the outside where the cannons would have stood to fire out at invading ships. These days little kids throw baited lines over the edge into the river to catch crabs.

Looking back, the promise of some sun was beginning to come true!

A pretty little cove around the corner from Dartmouth town centre with some expensive-looking houses. Around the corner to the right Dartmouth Castle hides behind that bit of land. Somewhere.

I don't know how long it took to walk to the castle but it felt a bit longer than I expected it to be. St Petrox Church and it's graveyard are to the left and centre and Dartmouth Castle (an English Heritage owned property) is on the right. I didn't go into the castle because I didn't feel like paying the £8.

St Petrox Church again.

At the bottom of the hill from the church and castle is a little spot where the "ferry" picks up passengers who can't be bothered to walk back again (like me!) or who parked at the castle and want to see the rest of Dartmouth (like normal people!). I say "ferry" in inverted commas because it's just a small boat.

A small boat "captained" by this guy.

For only £2.50 we were escorted across the Dart and back to Dartmouth with lovely clearing views.

Once I had had a quick, but messy, lunch (chips, of course!) with a gull chick watching very closely, I decided I had some time to take a trip on the paddle steamer. Because of the weather, as I said above, we weren't going out to sea, but just further up the river and back. It was about 1hr 20min or so.
Going up the Dart, it was very very windy and a bit cold but I stood at the front of the lovely boat and watched the autumn trees, the gulls, cormorants and countless moored boats go by.

Britannia Royal Naval College on the hill.

HMS Hindustan is now a training ship for the college so permanently docked in the river. But once upon WWII the Dart Estuary was full of ships getting ready to land on the shores of Japan (if the paddle steamer captain was correct!).

For some unknown reason I love this shot. Perhaps its the different colour ships or the trees, or both.

A lot of little buildings hide among the autumn trees on the shore.

On the way back to Dartmouth it wasn't so windy. The flag had been wrapped around the pole by the wind but it managed to unfurl itself while we steamed back.

Remnants of the earlier rain on the deck.

A tour bus for an Agatha Christie event!

Agatha Christie's last holiday home before she died. It hides among the trees.

This is part of Sir Walter Raleigh's boathouse. He was given the lands on the other side of the river by the crown.

If I remember correctly, this is Brunel's first viaduct. He wanted to build one over the Dart but the farmers refused to let him. So he had to content himself with just the bridge from Kingswear. It is still used for the cute steam train.

Blue skies. Kind of.

Sunlight behind the flag was just too good not to photograph. No colour changed. It came out like this.

This one I did change to capture the clouds behind the flag as well. But I do love it.

One last view of Kingswear before we turned towards the Dartmouth town centre.

And a pretty hill on the other side of the river, where the fancy Dartmouth houses sit with the best views.

It was definitely great to get away from the farm and work and enjoyed the alone time and being able to take photos again although these are not my best - my camera needs a clean and the scenery was marred by the mist and dull light. But it was still worth the trip. I'm not sure when I'll get back down to Dartmouth again. My next big trip is to Launceston area for my placement induction at a school for two weeks. There might be some photos from that.

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