Last sail of 2021. Was welcomed by a Piel Island cottage dweller with a nice cup of tea.
I used to be one of the first sailors up in the morning. Often at the crack of dawn. I would be there exchanging banter with fellow sailors across the anchorage in Piel harbour, often shivering clutching a cup of steaming hot tea, as the sun starts its long climb over Ingleborough (2372ft)— a truly wonderful sight.
Recently things have changed. Now I’m finding I’m often the last to wake, but when I do wake it is with a feeling of extreme cosiness. Another ten minutes, why not! Often one’s dreams are the most colourful, and most memorable at that time of the morning. Even the thought of a nice brew, or even to behold a beautiful sunny morning, sunrays flooding in through the portholes dancing on the varnished bulkhead. But I am still happy to stay put, and dream of what the day might bring.
What has happened you might ask? Well, the answer is something totally silent and non-power-consuming: it’s my recently fitted charcoal stove, which runs happily through the night keeping me nice and warm but more importantly dry.
Here is a pictorial view of how this happened:
There were a lot of trips to Piel Island over the 2021 season. This is just one of them. The main aim is to get out to sea, watch the Lancashire coast with work and worries left far behind. See the Cumbrian coast in the distance come closer and closer. Navigate into the channel and find an anchorage. Get ashore in a small inflatable dinghy. Walk the walk up the long inclined jetty capable of handling a 36-foot tide, order a pint in the Ship Inn, then pay homage to the King of Piel (order more pints). Get back to our moored boats in spite of the 4-knot running tide. Hopefully, sail back into the arms of our loving families the following day.
It is so sad to see once well founded boats left neglected and abandoned. But then again our boat builders need a steady stream of new orders to support the livelihood of themselves and their families. So maybe we should just accept that there will always be the boats of summer-day past, the boats of summer-day present, and the boats of summer-day future. Let us just remember the old and discarded as fondly as we can.
The stretch of tidal water called Bass Pool on the south side of Piel Island has been a focal point for WMYC sailors in 2019. Abandoned over looking the castle, as high up as can be carried by the tide, where the sand and seaweed give way to grass, lies a boat called ‘Inchree’.
A brief synopsis goes like so: –
Five Wardley’s yachts entered ‘Bass Pool’ to drop anchor, three lay there for the whole night.
Those that felt secure enough to trust their ground tackle all had big heavy hooks with plenty of chain, or had the modern delta type anchors that cut deep and efficiently into the sand and mud.
Those who relied on their Chart-plotter for a suitable location were punished severely by an ebbing tide, and were left embarrassingly high and dry. The moral here is don’t trust the men from the ministry and their new fangled electronic charts.
Those who sailed furthest into the pool dried out briefly until the tide returned.
Those on an imaginary line between the lighthouse and the castle brief elevated a few inches and settled again once the flood tide began.
Only those gently swinging at the outer margins of Bass Pool stayed afloat throughout.
Skippers with ladies aboard opted for the perceived greater safety of the large buoys closest to the pub.
Fifteen sailors and two Wardley’s dogs joined in the club event that took place overlooking ‘Bass Pool’ behind Piel castle. Everyone had a great time and later mingled with the other party goers on the island.
The night at anchor was quiet All those involved returned home safely the following day.