Dover an onwards

Staying in Dover a few days wasn’t as tortuous as I’d anticipated. The harbour is far more sheltered than Ramsgate, and though the town is run down, it has some unique features including the oldest surviving wooden boat in the world, discovered whilst digging a pedestrian underpass so people can walk safely under the four-lane highway dividing the seafront from the town. Dated at 3600 years, it is now beautifully preserved and resides in the town museum. An enterprising local boat builder has constructed a half sized replica which was in our marina.

Replica of 3600 year of boat

Replica of 3600 year of boat

There is also a ‘Grand Shaft’ built as a short cut between the town and the Western Heights, for troops stationed at the barracks above, particularly during Napoleonic times. They were described in 1823 as ‘holes in the ground for Englishmen to hide from Frenchmen.’ It is a 140ft triple spiral staircase dug through the cliff between 1806 & 1809, designed to move troops very quickly from the fort above to repel any invasion. As this never happened the Shaft instead became a route for troops to very quickly get to the bars and brothels of Snargate Street and the Pier.

The triple staircase lent itself well to the strong class prejudice which reigned supreme in the Victorian army, one staircase for ‘Officers and their Ladies’, the second for ‘Sergeants and their Wives’, whilst the last was for ‘Soldiers and their Women’. Cock a snook to that!

The Grand Shaft

The Grand Shaft

We also discovered a couple of Micro pubs, the Mash Tun and the Arlington, both very welcoming, the former has a pulpit as the bar with local beers straight from the barrel, and the latter served gin and tonic in tea cups. Apparently coaches full of discerning real ale and cider drinkers descend on the area to partake of the tipples. Ones we didn’t get to were The Lanes and The Rack of Ale and there are others besides.

Nice cup  of tea in the Arlington

Nice cup
of tea in the Arlington

Our pals Birgit, Carsten, Tim, Jule and their dog Rhonya spent Friday on the M25 and the M2, battling eight hours of traffic in 30C. It was great to see them, even jaded. They set up their camp just outside Folkestone and we met them on the Dover seafront, enjoying an excellent curry at the Cinnamon Island before introducing them to Distant Drum. On Saturday we spent the day on a beach towards Hythe followed by a feast of a barbecue at their campsite.

Bergit, Jule, Tim & Rhonya aboard DD

Bergit, Jule, Tim & Rhonya aboard DD

Jule & Carsten

Jule & Carsten

Cpn Jack & Fergus visit Dover beach

Cpn Jack & Fergus visit Dover beach

Cinque Ports Yacht Club on Dover sea front

Cinque Ports Yacht Club on Dover sea front

Dover beach with the Castle & White Cliffs in the back ground

Dover beach with the Castle & White Cliffs in the back ground

Sunday we were up at 4am and set sail towards Eastbourne. Forecast for 7 gusting 12, the actual wind was 26 gusting 31! A lumpy journey was had with the wind on our nose. Though we got the sails up close to Hastings, we made no headway and would have had to tack to France and back to get anywhere, so gunning the engine, we arrived via a turbulent passage in Eastbourne. The Marina is locked in and we had fun pulling into the lock behind three other yachts and fishing boats, with another behind us. Known as Sovereign Harbour, it is owned by the same company that own Brighton Marina as is just as soulless. Surrounded by new high-rise apartment blocks there are no shops, pubs, character, churches, personality, you get the picture. It does however have excellent showers!

Bog watch update for Dover – the Granville Dock has a set of 5* showers close to the Marina office, each a large self-contained bathroom. Alas I only discovered these whilst being nosy on Saturday night. That’s bog watch done.

France in the distance as we set out from Dover. It's only 24 nautical miles away and Eastbourne is 46.5

France in the distance as we set out from Dover. It’s only 24 nautical miles away and Eastbourne is 46.5

White cliffs from our passage

White cliffs from our passage

Dungeness Nuclear Power Plant as we rounded the headland

Dungeness Nuclear Power Plant as we rounded the headland

Distant Drum at Eastbourne Marina

Distant Drum at Eastbourne Marina

Today’s weather forecast tells us there is strong head-on south westerly wind at 30 knots, our experience leads us to believe this actually means 40+ knots, and walking down to the sea earlier revealed a wall of fog, so we’re heading out tomorrow. Next stop Newhaven.

Selfie with Cpn' Jack & Fergus at Eastbourne

Selfie with Cpn’ Jack & Fergus at Eastbourne

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6 thoughts on “Dover an onwards

    1. workingwildchild Post author

      A light missle all morning has left the decks pleasantly cool, aided by the breeze cutting its way through the architectural montrosities surrounding the dock. Whilt the sea laps against the rocky shore….

      Enough for you Brad????

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  1. keepitgreen2013

    PA! All sounds like a gin in a tea cup t’ me lass. and I am liking the sound of a gin in a tea cup. Presents a whole new dimension for our cream “teas” 😉 love the posts keep up the great work.

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  2. The Browns

    This is great: a tour of the British coast aka C’pn Jack ‘n Fergus style, when do you sail up the Bristol Channel? We could come and visit as you come into view if you continue in the more or less westerly direction? Love hearing from you and your escapades as seafarers at last.
    From the landfarers, J & J Brown

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  3. space2play

    Is that really you? Hardly recognise the bronzed and chilled expression. Looking gorgeous. Retirement suits you. You sure your not in the Colonnial Caribbean with Captain Jack and Admiring Clive? Saddened to read of news of his Ma’s passing from this life but gladdened that he was still in English waters and able to be with his family – perhaps all thanks to DD’s faulty ‘whats its’. Meant to be. I’m hooked on your latest news along Blighty’s coast, and to get out of those sou’ westerlies do swing in to Lyme Bay for some fresh mackerel, or pint of prawns and bottle of Champs. You can park outside the harbour or anchor off shore at Seaton. If your heading straight across for Torquay, I was going to say watch out for the Red Arrows fly past (during RNLI week) but they’ve just cancelled. Keep your eyes peeled on the waves tho, as Dolphins have been swimming alongside the Gig rowers recently. Love to come aboard sometime. Tally Ho my lovelies. Big hug for C. JenJen xxx

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  4. Patsy Cooke

    Hey Guys .. I really thought I was ‘following’ you, and would get notified of new entries .. alas, no!! .. so I’ve just caught up, and am identifying with your learning-curves about the weather, marinas etc, and quite interested to know that we share the same views on Dover … !! P xxx

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