Pilgrim BM45 Voyage June 2017

The shipping forecast leading up to the voyage date was looking most inclement and turbulent and indeed on the day of the voyage nothing had changed. Winds were up to force six maximum with moderate to poor visibility and lashings of occasional medium to heavy rain. However the weather was not aggressive enough to keep Pilgrim storm bound for the afternoon and once the guest and I had chosen bunks and stowed personal belongings way it was time to get the usual crew / guest safety briefing underway and then have a decision of the sailing options available.The passage plan at the time was to head towards Dartmouth and pick up a mooring there, but due to the stormy weather the passage plan changed to having an afternoon of sailing in Torbay and then head to Torquay marina for the evening and stay at a mooring there for the night.

Pilgrim BM45 alongside Provident, which is a mule class Brixham trawler.


Pilgrim BM45 is a Brixham gaff rigged ketch sailing trawler built in 1895 by J W & A Uphams, which is one of Brixham’s most famous ship yards. She is one of a few surviving red sailed wooden built sailing trawlers left.


Pilgrim BM45 – Ship Specification

  • MMSI: 235000438
  • Call Sign: ZQSP8
  • Rig: Gaff Rigged Ketch
  • Sails: Main gaff and main topsail, Mizzen and mizzen Topsail, Foresail, Jib and Flying Jib
  • Length on deck: 22.70m(74 ½ ft)
  • Waterline length: 19.96m (65 ½ ft)
  • length overall incl. Bowsprit: 28.82m (94 ½ ft)
  • Bowsprit: 10.36m (34 ft)
  • Beam: 5.33m (17 ½ ft)
  • Main Mast height deck to mast-top: 21.94 m (72 ft)
  • Draft (aft): 3.2m (10 ½ ft)
  • Gross Tonnage: 90 tonne gross
  • Engines: Twin Doosan 5.8, 120 BHP Diesel

Pilgrim BM45 – Accommodation Specification

  • Total persons Carried: 15
  • Berths: 16
  • Main saloon: 8 berths
  • Forward Cabin: 4 berths
  • Crew accommodation: 4 berths
    (Note on charters sold by the berth we only carry 10 Guests)
  • Heads / showers: 1 Heads with shower located forward – 1 Heads with shower located aft


Pilgrim’s engraved name and her tiller.


The navigation desk!


Pilgrim’s galley and bunks. Which includes a snazzy parrot.


With the guests and crew all in agreement that the best idea was to have a sail around Torbay for the afternoon and then head to Torquay marina for the evening, we slipped the mooring and headed out to Torbay. It was a little rough while sailing in the bay and the rain was intermittent but we had a good wind to sail by and we had unreefed mainsail and mizzen. We also had staysail up and a jib. The passage to us close to Berry Head, which is an site of special scientific interest and despite the poor visibility, there was a fantastic view of the lighthouse.


A misty view of Berry Head lighthouse as white horses gallop away from the bow of Pilgrim.


The jib has been tied with wool and ready to be rigged up.


A sea veiled in swirling mist.


Wild (and rain) filled sails.


A brief moment of rain-free sailing!


It was soon time to make one final trip across Torbay and head reluctantly towards Torquay marina. It would have been preferable to moor at Dartmouth, not only as it would have given us more sailing time but also because it is an incredibly beautiful area, with lots of different water craft moored up on the pontoons and swing moorings. The weather turned again, becoming very misty and wet just before we entered Torquay marina, which was perfect timing, as it would have been sheer folly to have remained sailing out in the bay with weather like that.


Heading to the marina. Really glad the gear has latex neck and wrist seals on it. Definitely needed to be kept dry while out on the water!


Misty skies and wind-filled sails.


A rather clean looking starboard buoy riding the waves.


Motoring up to the pontoon.


The marina offered a fair amount of protection from the weather blowing around outside the marina walls. This was the view from the moorings.


Once we had arrived at Torquay marina, we sorted the boat out for the evening and then got into something more comfortable and sat around the table in the galley and had a long chat about all kinds of things while the evening meal was being cooked. Once dinner was ready we all tucked in and also enjoyed a glass for wine or ale. Dinner and dessert was fantastic and afterwards we continued having pleasant conversations over a mug of cocoa with a good helping of Kraken rum poured in… purely to keep out the cold, naturally. The weather battled outside the marina entrance but inside the protective walls, it was really rather calm and relaxing. It was a really good evening.


Views out to sea.


A soggy deck, cloudy skies and light rain.


Getting the bunk ready for the night. A little tight though, but cosy all the same.


Lights out! Even the parrot had settled down for the night.


In the morning we all got up and enjoyed a really nice cooked breakfast and listened to the shipping forecast which was being broadcast via the VHF. The forecast was not much better than the day before, however it was a little dryer and considerably less windy, so that cheered everyone up. Once breakfast was over and we had a small briefing in regards to our sailing options for the day, we then stowed away our gear, suited up in sailing kit and we were ready to leave the marina. It was sunny with only a light coating of mist and the rain seemed miles off and it never reached up. So we slipped the mooring and left the marina. After motoring out a small way, we hoisted the sails and had a long morning of sailing around the bay; however we had to remain in Torbay due to the weather conditions.


Motoring out of the marina and past a bobbing port buoy.


A few of Pilgrim’s bowsprit.


At the tiller of the Gaff Rigged Ketch. All 90 tons or so of it.


Rendered passing honours to Vigilance as she sailed past.


The ship’s bell, with cloudy skies.


Heading back to Brixham, which hailed the end of the voyage.


Once we arrived back at Brixham marina, the voyage was sadly over. Despite the weather it was a truly fantastic voyage and the sailing was most enjoyable. It had been a while since I was on board a traditional sailing vessel and it felt good to be on one once again. It was a brilliant way to start the sailing season.



Take it easy,

Arctic Tundra Fox

The photographs in this blog are owned by ©Arctic Tundra Fox unless otherwise stated, and not for public domain use, thank you.


Dartmoor Expedition April 2017

Craggy granite tors, vast open exposed moorland, wetlands, forests and it’s ever changing weather, Dartmoor can be a wild, rugged and rough place to venture into. Because of the constantly changing nature of Dartmoor an expedition to the moors will not only constantly expose you to the elements but it will also reveal something different to you, no matter how many times you embark on an expedition. As an all encumbering fog rolls across the moor, which forces you to change your route, you can stumble upon a track that was unknown to you and one you would never have discovered if an alternative path was not a necessity. Due to the fearsome nature of Dartmoor, you can understand why Sir Arthur Conan Doyle based his story ‘Hound of the baskervilles’ on the moors.

The goal of this expedition was to explore some of the granite tors and the Bronze Age Settlements that are scattered around the moor. A secondary goal was to escape away from social media and mobile phone signals. The primary and secondly goals were well and truly achieved. The time away was filled with the myths and legends of Dartmoor and lots of walking around the fascinating Tors and settlements. An added bonus to an anyway success venture was discovering a delightful small inn that was tucked away on the moors, which offered fantastic views, good food and ales. Due to the awesome power of the moors, the weather swapped from sunny and warm to dark, foreboding and very stormy, with rolling fog and heavy rain. The constantly changing weather added to the experience, which made the expedition even more of an ever changing adventure.

28th April 2017 – Day One

  • Combestone Tor {Granite Tor} – Hexworthy

Combestone Tor {Granite Tor}.


A mother sheep and her young lamb roaming around the site of Combestone Tor.


The dramatic Combestone Tor.


The roaming sheep, kept a watchful eye on the photographer.


29th April 2017 – Day Two

  • Haytor {Granite Tor} – Eastern Dartmoor, Haytor Vale

Dark clouds building up over Haytor {Granite Tor}.


Wild Dartmoor ponies graze around Haytor.


  • Badgers Holt – Deermeet  (Enjoyed an Ice cream)

The picturesque East Dart River, which flows through Dartmeet.


Wild ponies (an impressive lookign dun) grazing at Deermeet.


A young foal at Deermeet.



  • Hookney Tor {Granite Tor} – Postbridge, Yelverton – (Looks down on Grimspound)

Hookney Tor, looking very dramatic and spectacular.


The rough and ready landscape of Hookney Tor meets the dark and stormy sky.


  • Grimspound {Late Bronze Age settlement 1450 – 700 BC} – Postbridge, Yelverton

A weathered post pointing the Grimspound which is a ate Bronze Age settlement which is from about 1450 BC – 700 BC. A truly fascinating place, steeped in history and intrigue.


Within a large circular wall which spans 150 meters in diameter there stands the ruins of 24 stone roundhouses, which once would of had conical roofs made of turf or thatch. The stone wall was more likely to keep animals in and predators out, rather than for defensive reasons.


Remnants of some of the stone roundhouses. The settlement had a fresh water stream flowing though it, which provided an important source of water to all who dwelt within the stone walls.


The Bronze Age entrance to Grimspound, one of two entrances in fact. This one seems smaller than the other entrance. An exciting thought, that many years ago Bronze Age people herded cattle thought this very entrance as well as bring sued to bring vital supplies and goods in and out.


  • Warren House Inn {One of the two fires has been burning since 1845} – Postbridge, Yelverton (Had an evening drink here overlooking the moors and enjoying a drink beside the fire)

The fog started rolling in as we arrived and the fog was soon swirling around the Warren House Inn. You only have to look at an OS map to see that this place, due to it’s location, can be bettered by some very inclement weather. Warren House Inn is on the B3212.


The inn had two fires burning away which filled the place with a fantastic smell as well as providing heat. After opting for a pint of ‘Fraid Not’, it was time to settle down beside one of the fires.


30th April 2017 – Day Three

  • Warren House Inn – Postbridge, Yelverton (Had Sunday lunch here with a friend)

Enjoying a pint (out of a tradtional glass pint glass) while waiting for a Sunday Roast to arrive at the table. The Inn was warm and cosy, which was just as well due to the wet weather outside.


The Sunday Roast was fantastic, everything was cooked to perfection. It was nice seated beside the fire, while enjoying a roast and hearing the wild weather outside. Sunday lunch was enjoyed with a friend, which is why there is a glass of wine in this photograph, I was mixing drinks. Honest.


This is a rather famous fire as it has been burning since 1845, or so the legend goes!


Upon leaving the inn, it was evident that the tempestuous weather was increasing.


  • Merrivale Prehistoric Settlement {Bronze Age settlement 2500 – 1000 BC}

This is one of the best Bronze Age settlements on Dartmoor. This is an impressive settlement has a mixture ritual sites and a few cairns. This site was probably constructed over a very long period, which spanned from about 2500BC and 1000 BC. Regrettably I didn’t take photographs of this particular site.

  • Turbulent and storm-tossed Dartmoor (Stopped off along the way to Hound Tor for some photography)

A wild, untamed and beautiful Dartmoor landscape.


Flurries of rain blow across the moorland as the fog rolls over the fertile farmland.


  • Hound Tor {Granite Tor} – Eastern Dartmoor, Widecombe-in-the-Moor

Hound Tor {Granite Tor}.


A few granite pillars of Hound Tor in order of size with a grey and stormy sky as a background.


Stunning scenery.


Views from Hound Tor.


Take it easy,

Arctic Tundra Fox

The photographs in this blog are owned by ©Arctic Tundra Fox unless otherwise stated, and not for public domain use, thank you.