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South West: Seaside Winter Walk

March 16


A wild and windy day in mid-March saw nearly 20 hardy souls and one Molly dog brave the conditions to turn out for the South-West group walk in Teignmouth organised by Chris Taylor. A very good outcome given the way we all must have felt when seeing the conditions whilst poking our noses out the door before heading off.

We all met in the car park on the sea front and the first unplanned game of the day was trying to shut the car door and maintain the parking tickets position on the dashboard whilst the wind was trying to snatch it away. All cars secured, and the group wrapped up against the wind, we headed off towards the harbour entrance to inspect the route to take into the harbour should we wish to visit by sea in the future.

Chris gave us some points of interest and caution for approaches where the entry is hazardous in strong onshore winds (NE-S) and that the position of the bar at the entrance can change, especially if there has been a strong onshore blow and it is advisable to seek advice/confirmation prior to arrival with the harbour master on channel 12, particularly during the winter months.

The depth of the channel varies across the bar and is approx. 0 metres to 2.0 metres below chart datum. It is advisable c for the reason seen in the picture where there is a slight lack of depth of water close by the starboard marker! For a more detailed view of the route in please see the useful harbour authority navigation and safety instructions at: https://www.teignmouthharbour.com/harbour/navigation-and-safety

Allowance should also be taken of tidal flows which can be 4 to 5 knots during springs in the entrance between the Lucette Light and Den Point. Shipping movements normally occur up to one hour either side of high water but can occasionally occur at other states of the tide. However during neaps movements can occur at most states of the tide depending on size and draft of the vessel.

Once safely in the harbour, Chris pointed out the 2 visitor pontoons which are available for visiting craft. There is no anchoring in the harbour due to tidal streams and local moorings.

Once everyone was satisfied, we turned around and started heading back up the sea front towards Sprey Point, thankfully in this direction the wind was helping us along and we made good progress towards the Pier where we stopped for a comfort break and then topped ourselves back up again with warm drinks at the café where we were able to secure some brief respite from the wind in the lee of the wall.

Suitably refreshed, we made our way further up the sea front where were joined on our walk by the south coast trainline and we became the people you see walking outside in the cold whilst sitting in the ‘relative comfort’ of the train carriage. At this point, we also had the Teignmouth equivalent of a Hollywood sign moment by posing as a group. I’m sure it would make a great film advert for a future Westerly Owners version of the film ‘Train Spotting’.

Excuse the pun, but we finally got to the end of the line where there was an option here to go down and underneath the railway line, looking at the picture it may not be advisable during very high spring tides but there is the lure of a café at the end of the tunnel for those souls brave enough to take on the challenge! A couple of the group went that way to return to the centre via the road but the majority of the group turned back to head back along the seafront again, this time into the driving wind, sand and occasional rain towards the promise of warmth, food and drink back in Teignmouth centre. Along the way back we noticed there were some interesting nautical themed benches but the conditions didn’t favour sitting down and admiring the view so we pressed on!

We arrived back to the centre relatively intact but our plans to go into the Pavilions for lunch were thwarted as the weather conditions in force when we actually got there meant other visitors had also had the same idea and there was no space for us. A few of us decided to head back to the car park at this point, your author included, but a number of the group found solace and food in the comfort of Coasters café. Overall a very enjoyable day out despite the conditions prevailing earlier in the week and there was a very healthy turnout of members. With the season about to start, it was a great opportunity to all get together and discuss what we are up to in preparing our boats or in some cases actually already having put them into the water. Thanks for Chris Taylor for organising the walk and giving us some local knowledge on the entrance to the harbour and I look forward to seeing you out on the water during the year, maybe even a visit to Teignmouth from seaward could now be in the plans for some of you this year.

Chris Shakespear



March 16
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