Snowy Dartmoor Expedition December 2017

In the early hours of the morning, long before the sun had risen, snow began to fall upon Dartmoor. Dartmoor is a wild and rugged landscape; it really is shaped by the elements. When it’s snowing with arctic cold winds -3°c (felt like -7°c) and the snow flurries are being illuminated by a pale morning sun, the moors really do look absolutely spectacular. The views were worth the early morning start.


Light dusting of snow resting upon a gritted road.


Parked up by Haytor.


Haytor among the fallen snow.


Snowflakes shining through a pale sunrise.


More snow flurries being illuminated by a pale morning sun.


Warm rubber boots and Mountain Horse winter overalls.



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.


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.