30 January 2022 - Annual General Meeting of the Hostellers Sailing Club
Covid has continued to restrict HSC activities so we held our AGM by Zoom for the second year running. Mark, our Treasurer, reported that, the HSC has more or less broken even this year, helped by partial resumption of our sailing activities and hence some sailing fees collected. Mark is also our bosun and told us that he will be repairing the floorboards on Merganser and he will arrange for a sailmaker to overhaul the sails for the boat. It seems remarkable that although Merganser lacks showroom gloss she is still seaworthy after so many years of outdoor storage and hard use.
Easter Weekend - 16th to 18th April 2022 - Manorbier YHA
Back in 2019 we made a decision that our next Easter trip would be to Manorbier in South Wales and after two years of covid we finally brought that decision to fruition in 2022. It proved to be a great choice of hostel - on a spectacularly beautiful section of the South Wales coastline in a somewhat isolated position but with self catering facilities and an on-site cafe (the cafe open through the day for the benefit of passing ramblers). Because of covid we chose to use the campsite provided at the hostel, this worked well (maybe we were a bit lucky with the weather) so maybe camping at hostels will be our choice for future easter breaks. The website editor took a picture of the hostel site using a new toy - see below:
Drone shot of Manorbier YHA site - the camping field is just out of the shot to the right
For Easter Saturday our whole party took a walk westwards along the coast from the hostel, returning by an inland route. The Manorbier YHA buildings are ex-military buildings which were part of a military training camp that is still active and which lies some way to the East of Manorbier village. So heading west from the hostel we skirted the fenced off military area then followed the coast path along the cliff tops to reach Manorbier Bay which lies below the village itself. Manorbier castle overlooks the bay so after finding the pub in the village to not yet be open we visited the castle and had lunch at the castle cafe, sitting at an outside table under a sunshade within the high castle walls.
Taken from one of the towers of the impressive castle, Manorbier bay in the distance
After some of us had paddled on the sandy beach of Manorbier Bay we continued for a few more miles along the coast path, looking down into small coves from the cliff tops and arriving at the edge of Freshwater village from where we turned inland. It was a warm sunny afternoon so we were glad to find the Swan Lake Inn for afternoon tea.then back to the hostel via quiet country lanes and some sections of footpath. Even though it had been dry weather, one section of footpath was flooded knee deep but we bravely splashed through, well not so brave really, we just couldnt find a way round. .
For Easter Sunday we split into sub-groups since not all wanted to do the same thing. The largest group walked to Tenby and back, Gerald went for a cycle ride and met them in Tenby and Josephine and I went by car to take a look at the Stackpole National Trust site which is about ten miles to the west of Manorbier.
I think we all probably made good choices, we certainly enjoyed Stackpole. We started with an early lunch at the National Trust cafe at Stackpole Quay, then walked about three miles west along the cliff tops to the sand dunes and the beach at Broad Haven, still within the Stackpole estate.
Looking down from the Stackpole coast path into one of several small coves
We noted that along one section of cliff top the National Trust had provided strong stakes driven into the ground, these for cliff climbers to attach ropes and we watched groups of intrepid climbers making use of these.
There is a lake extending about two miles inland from Broad Haven, the stream that drains this lake running out over Broad Haven beach. The lake is long and narrow with a couple of branches and well made paths run along much of the lake side and over bridges accross narrow sections of lake - one could certainly make a good all day walk within this estate. We had time to complete our circuit via one of the lakeside paths, we did not have time after that to visit the main National Trust visitors centre, another time maybe. We had read that there are otters on these lakes and as we walked along the path I commented to Josephine that we hadnt seen any such creatures. At that point a group of people just a few yards ahead gestured for us to 'shush', and pointed to an otter just a few feet from us, lying on a tree branch that overhung the water and not seeming at all interested in all the tourists that were staring at it. We have occasionally seen otters when boating on inland waters but this was the first time we had been so close to one. Later on that walk we saw a few more otters swimming out in the lake.
We all planned to return home by Easter Monday evening but that allowed us to spend the morning at Manorbier. We chose to visit Skrinkle Haven, a little cove just down a path leading off the lane opposite the hostel buildings. This cove is walled in with vertically striated rock faces, one of which is penetrated by a big rectangular slot, I think its called the 'Church Door'.(picture at right) The path down to the cove is steep, with a long flight of steps, picture below shows some of us ascending. After that exercise we took lunch at the YHA cafe, sitting in the sun on outside tables prior to our various long drives home. I would say that traffic jams gave us a longer than expected drive back to Devon, I guess that much of the UK population had taken advantage of the fine weather to enjoy their first Easter away weekend for a couple of years.
Climbing up the path from Skrinke cove
7th / 8th May 2022 - 'Susie' on the Oare and Alde
Gerald and Mark road trailed Gerald's Drascombe Dabber 'Susie' up to Suffolk to join two other boats on a Dinghy Cruising Association rally. They launched at Slaughden Quay, Aldeburgh, and sailed on the flood right up to the head of navigation at Snape. Not the first time Susie has been to Snape, below is a picture of a previous visit during 2018. From Snape they sailed a couple of miles back down the river to spend the night at Iken Cliff, (picture below), walking back to Snape for supper at the Plough and Sail. On Sunday they sailed down to Orford and returning from lunch in a cafe found Suzie had dried out on the mud so they looked around Orford while waiting for the boat to float again. Then a beat back to Slaughden Quay where Suzi was hauled out for the drive back to Essex.
Susie at Snape in 2018 (second boat from right)
Susie sailing from Snape back down to Iken, David Jennings sailing ahead
Susi with boat tent set up at Iken
12 June 2022 - Egret Cup Dinghy Race
A small fleet of just three dinghies but two of them sailed by HSC members, Clem in his mirror dinghy and Mark singlehanded in our club owned Wayfarer dinghy 'Merganser'. Unfortunately Clem capsized his boat while leading the fleet - he had just renamed the boat from 'Nanidragon' to the equally weird 'Custard Cream' so that proves that changing a boat name brings bad luck, doesn't it.
I understand that the race was stopped then restarted after Clem's boat had been recovered with help from the RSA rescue launch. Merganser went on to take line honors (again!) with Custard Cream 3rd, the respective positions on handicap were 2nd and 3rd. (The above information is from the RSA Race Officer, if Mark or Clem would like to add or correct anything or send picture(s) please do)