Friday, 26 May 2017

Portsmouth Harbour Houseboats

In a quiet corner of Portsmouth harbour at Wicor there are a few houseboats,, Seattle or Sausalito it's certainly 'aint, but nice to see there are still a few around.

The top one looks like it might be a converted lighter, an non powered barge that is frequently seen on the Thames loaded with everything from building rubble to household waste.

Above a cosy retreat alongside a huge barge at the far side with an almost full length roof top terrace commanding a panoramic view across the harbour.

And how about this for a floating candidate for Grand Designs?

Monday, 22 May 2017


Nicely disguised summer house/cabin on the foreshore at Hill Head.

I didn't really notice the painting as we approached, nor the shed until after we'd passed.

Friday, 19 May 2017

French Boats

Seen along La Rance estuary in Brittany. What a fantastic spot to keep a small day boat pulled up on the beach in front of a fortified manor house, probably wouldn't happen in England.

Local gaffer, probably based on a working bout but definitely yachty and look at the length of that boom.

Close up of the boat in the background which I think is a Gilles Montaubin design.

Spinnaker run up river.

Ulysse afloat seen from across the river, not dissimilar to the day boat above but with more of a recreational boat influence in the lines perhaps?

Looks like a Philipe Harlé design, probably the Armagnac design, looks very well kept and ready for the season.

And yet another dory.

Monday, 15 May 2017


Further inland from St Malo up La Rance lies Dinan another delightful, historic and fortified town. The quay is separated from the main town adjacent the famous viaduct which was also probably the first river crossing until the modern bridges were built.

Along the eastern shore of La Rance lies Mordreuc which grew up around lime kilns, a tide mill and a stone dock where wood to heat the houses in downstream St Malo could be loaded.

Ulysse a local day boat waits for the tide, the bay is sandy and firm plus well sheltered.

A couple of pictures for fellow blogger Doryman, the dory type was clearly common on La Rance, clearly suited to the shallows and sandbanks. These days built in ubiquitous GRP and still used as working boats.

This pretty canoe stern cruiser pulled up on the hard looks to be very well equipped with wind vane steering and beaching legs. It's such a nice spot I'd be happy just hanging out there waiting for the tide.

Saturday, 13 May 2017

Slipway Saturday

You don't see too many tow vehicles like this in Bursledon. While I generally like American pickup trucks from this era I don't confess to much knowledge and couldn't see any badges.

It had a lazy petrol engine burbling away and plenty of weight and ground clearance for towing - neat.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

St Malo

In all the times we've been to France we've never visited the fortified town of St Malo before and what a gem it is, the old town is contained within Napoleonic fortifications and is a great place to wander around and explore.

Outside the beach stretches away east along the Cote Emeraude (emerald coast), no doubt come summer it will be a little more busy but on a sunny spring day you could imagine you were in the Caribbean.

The inshore fortresses are built on rocks which are perfect for scrambling and climbing and searching the rock pools for interesting creatures.

Inevitably with all the history there were some interesting boats like these three modern old gaffers, which interestingly are all traditional British designs.

There were also one of two more modern designs.

A local boat heading out to sea, could have been a picture form 100 years ago.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Early Morning

We've had some fantastic early morning recently down on the river so I took a break from running and dragged the boat down early for a row.

Could it get any better?

Update on the above from this morning, light north easterly wind blowing down the river, clear blue sky, cool air was great for running. What a difference a few weeks make.

Friday, 5 May 2017


We've been in France again short trip over Easter to Brittany, on the way stopping off at the Normandy port of Honfleur.

Above en route, we're not exactly sure where this is but probably Le Canche river, looks like a tricky entrance.

Honfleur vieux-bassin (old harbour) surrounded by 16th and 17th century buildings, the town grew up on maritime trade based as it is at the mouth of the river Seine opposite Le Harve. In later years it became a favourite of artists including Monet a theme which continues today.

Some interesting boats seen along the old commercial harbour, I've seen these training boats before ketch rigged around 26 feet with twin rudders, they look fun to sail sort of a modern, high performance Dranscombe.

This one by the late Daniel Bombigher which is think is his Shpountz design but they are shown in plans as a schooner while this lookslike a ketch (could just be the bad camera angle). Whatever it's very salty and romantic, but looks like a lot of work to sail and maintain.

Local boat either restored or a new build as part of the program in France where local communities were encouraged to build replicas of their native craft. I couldn't read the detail other than day trips are available.

Interesting paraphernalia at a waterside bar, L'albatross was in fact an Evinrude, judging by the rust and corrosion probably best used as an ornament.

Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Osborne View

We dropped into the Osborne View pub at Hill Head for a coffee and to check out if it might be a good place to take grandma and granddad for lunch.

The pub (originally and old Victorian hotel) has great views of the Solent across to Cowes and has had something of a themed make over in recent years based on the liners and cruise ship history of Southampton.

This great old painting shows what the harbour was like years ago, and frankly apart from the boats and the Hill Head Sailing Club not too different now.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Sailing Season

The sailing season got off to a good start with the nice weather we've had during April.

On one of the best days there were over 40 kids out sailing at the Hamble River SC peanut and cadet sessions.

Monday, 24 April 2017

Holly Hill Park

I've lived within a mile of Holy Hill park for 12 years and have never visited until last week. The historic parkland preserves around 35 acres of woodland, ornamental gardens, a grotto and lake which were part of the Holly Hill estate. Created around 1870 it's believed that Joseph Paxton laid out the gardens which diverted a small tributary of the Hamble river on the eastern bank of the Hamble.

The entire park is very peaceful and relaxing, especially so down near the lakes which are populated with ducks and other wildfowl and I understand terrapins which must have been introduced to the area.

There's a splendid carving, I hesitate to call it a totem pole. Presumably a more recent addition.

Well worth a visit

Friday, 21 April 2017

Low water stroll

We took a stroll along the shore from Hill Head to Lee on Solent at low water recently on a fine but slightly chilly day in early spring.

It's interesting to see how the landscape is revealed at low water, the sculptural effects of the tide and currents, the wild life, undisturbed far away at the water's edge.

Sarsen Stones (Tertiary Quartzite) littering on the shingle beach below the tide marks , apparently carried down and deposited during the ice age.

Details of some more recent structures reaching out into the Solent and which require a warning marker at high water.

Despite the pressures of development all around, this little stretch of the Solent remains quiet and connected to nature.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Waterside retreats

Walking along the foreshore by Hill Head a few of the houses have summerhouses or I guess you could call them cabanas on the edge of the shingle beach.

Above definitely a cabana, if it had palm roof it could almost be a tiki bar, then again if you look closely there's a wood stove to keep things warm which is probably just as well given our climate and the fact that all these huts face the prevailing wind.

Modern garden building design (above) meets North African inspired concrete (below)? There are two of these structures which apart from the decorative bricks over the door and windows made us wonder if they were wartime structures?

Any one of the above would be a great place to watch the sun setting over the western Solent with a beer or glass of wine and something cooking on the barbecue.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Nautical Names

Which also demonstrates that the Bursledon Blog is committed to diversity and equality.