Wednesday 22nd August…Helford to Fowey

Continuing the theme of visiting some places we’ve not been to before, we decide to take the shortish sail over to Fowey. The harbour there is still commercial with china clay coasters plying up and down the river and some working fishing boats.

The wind is light as we slip away down the river into a sky that clearly has mixed feelings about our bit of the planet…


and as we round the headland towards Fowey we raise the cruising chute for only the second time in its life with us. We have all day as we can enter Fowey at all states of the tide and so we trundle gently along at no more than 2 -3 knots. We decide that it is time to try to catch lunch, so we hang a few spinners overboard to tempt any unsuspecting mackerel. Lunchtime comes…and goes, but without any nibbles. However the sun comes out and we have some smoked salmon sandwiches and some avocado and muse, not for the first time, how lucky we (and the mackerel) are. We do a bit of reading up on Fowey and realise that it is regatta week. As we get closer we see sailing boats of all shapes and sizes like bees round a honey pot. The likelihood of a peaceful mooring tonight fades into the distance.


As we make our approach up the river we spot the leading marks to guide us in…



…and a not so welcoming one on the rocky entrance.


The river itself is charming in a moneyed sort of way…


The harbour master directs us to find some space on a pontoon but will have to raft up next to another boat. The first one we approach is less than helpful, but we finally get sorted next to a boat whose owners seem to be out. Rafting is the usual ‘fun’ playing with bits of string but we end up looking vaguely proficient…we hope. We try not to look smug when the next boat in has to have several attempts…we are very shallow.

We have arranged to try to meet up with some old friends at the King of Prussia and we naively think that we will be able to have a bite to eat and then a nice catch-up over a few drinks. It turns out that as this is regatta week it is also carnival…this means that none of the pubs serve food today and the only nosh available is hot dogs and hamburgers, a fish and chip shop with a queue a mile long, and an Indian. This turns out to be one of the most indifferent and overpriced  meals…and as our friends turn up, they decide they want the table back. They don’t get a tip!


The carnival is OK apart from the endless succession of carnival queens from various villages, more than one of whom is stuffed into the boot of a hatchback, albeit with lace trimming! Not quite sure if the stylised ‘beauty’ for these 13 or 14 year old girls is appropriate (even for Cornwall), but then who am I as a old bloke to have an opinion about this…?

This is clearly not a beauty queen…

We get to the King of Prussia and find a spot to shout at each other for a while and catch up on stuff. Eventually we give up and get told off by the bouncers as we pose for some pictures outside. For a carnival, this appears to be particularly joyless. We trudge back through an increasingly drunk and leery atmosphere and head for bed. The night is disturbed as the swell comes up the river and we squeak and snatch at the mooring warps.

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