Location: Teignmouth, Devon, United Kingdom

I'm married with two grown up children and four grandchildren, My wife of 47 years is Sue and we are the same age. My two children are Pamela (blogging occasionly under and Roy,who was recently Paralysed from the waist down due to an Absys on his Spine. My 4 grandchildren are (oldest first) Gavin, Hayley, Thomas,and Zoe. Sue and I are both retired and we're disabled too, her with a badly Arthritic back and spine, me with lung (COPD) and Heart problems.I have always loved Fishing (all sorts) Sue started fishing with me about 8 years ago, now she really enjoys it too. We both love m'cycles and m'cycling, Sue owns and rides her own bike which is a Custom 1981 250 Honda.I own a 1979 Honda CX500. We are both members of this motorcycle club ( view or join our club on or see my blog post Dec 2007 blog "Getting old, never", of course we're badly resticted now due to our illness, only riding in really good weather.Just over three years ago we lost our best friend and Baby Mojo the border Collie, Gone but never forgotten. Please feel free to use any of our photo's but do let me know you have used them, thank you.

Friday, November 21, 2008


On a Gale torn, stormy day in January 1899, the 1,900 ton, 3 masted ship the "Forrest Hall"was in severe difficulties off Porlock Weir, on the North Somerset Coast. A severe gale had been howling for nearly 24 hours and in Lynmouth there were flooded houses and the harbour was unusable due to huge waves. The "Forrest Hall" had severe damage including a lost rudder, she was under tow from a tug when the tow rope parted and the tug was unable to secure the rope again due to the very heavy seas. At about 8.00pm the "Forrest Hall" was in great fear of destruction and being blown onto the foreshore. The lifeboat call out came to the Lynmouth lifeboat the "Louisa"but due to the severe weather the boat was unable to launch. The Coxswain at the time was Jack Crocombe who announced that it was impossible to launch in Lynmouth so why not try taking the lifeboat over the 13 miles to "Porlock Weir"and launch it in its sheltered harbour. The rest of the crew and the crowd that had gathered could not believe what he had proposed. "Porlock" lay in a sheltered bay on the other side of the 1 in 4 gradient of Countisbury hill. The lifeboat "Louisa" weighed over 10 tons and the route was just a rough cart track over the Moor and torn by the wind and torrential rain. After a short discussion it was decided to give it a go, anything to try to save the lives of 13 trained crew and 5 Apprentices. The lifeboat crew sent 6 men ahead with picks and shovels to try to cut a path through. So with the help of around 12 horses and a 100 men the journey began up the steep 1,423 feet of Countisbury Hill. During this wild and precarious journey they had to take several detours and demolish a few posts making the journey in the end over 15 miles. The journey to the top took its toll of men and horses so twenty or so new work Horses were "purloined" to assist on the 1 in 4 downward journey.At this point about 80% of the villagers were so exhausted that they gave up and returned to Lynmouth, leaving around just 20 men to carry on.During this tricky 3 mile, muddy descent a whole corner wall of a house had to be dismantled and at one point the "Louisa" had to be lifted bodily off the carriage because it was too wide to fit between houses, 6 feet long log skids were put under the front of her then she was rolled along them, they were then picked up and carried to the front again and the whole process started all over again. After this over 10 tons of boat had again to be loaded on its carriage. Can you imagine having to try and hold back this monster on slippery cart tracks in a howling gale and heavy rain, this with little or no light as the wind repeatedly blew out the lamps. During this also having to replace a lost wheel too.This fantastic journey eventually ended with a launch from "Porlock Weir" at 6.30 am. The lifeboat braved the heavy seas and it took the weary crew over an hour to reach the "Forrest Hall"and for several hours stood by the stricken vessel which by now had managed to secure a firm anchor hold just a few hundred yards from shore.At daylight the original tug hove into sight and the "Louisa"crew boarded the stricken vessel secured a rope to it and passed it over to the tug. Within a few minutes another Tug arrived and between them they managed to tow the boat to the safe haven of Barry in Wales, all the time accompanied by the "Louisa".It might well be remembered that all the hours that the "Louisa" was at sea her crew had to keep rowing to keep her head up to the wind. Eventually this little flottila hove into Barry at around 5am, 22 HOURS later.
Below this picture shows Countisbury Hill as it is today, the road has been cut into the bank a lot lower than the original track, even so look at Lynmouth foreshore in the distance to give you an idea of this epic journey.

This photo below shows the rough route taken the 13 miles up over Countisbury hill. Obviously there was not a road as such in those days it would have been a narrow "Cart track".

This picture was borrowed from this site, it shows a rowed lifeboat but doesn't actually say if this was the one either used at the time or in the re-enactment.
This boat below stands in the centre of Lynmouth and is a replica of the original "Louisa", I believe this was the boat used by the current lifeboat crew and villagers whan doing the 100th anniversary reconstruction.
So there we have it I think that was amazing. Now a really good (but Long) poem
On the 12th of January ’99, a horrible gale blew
and our lifeboat went to Porlock to save a helpless crew.
Never had a storm so cruel swept our village by the sea
for the waves roll in like thunder and the hills shook violently
Brave men crept to their firesides and barred their doors that night
children drew close together and women trembled with fright

For hours the storm was raging no sound of life was heard
it hushed all human voices with a silence still and weird
But hark from out of the darkness a signal rocket fired
A call for the Lynmouth lifeboat the lifeboat men required
And barred doors were unbolted and timid hearts grew brave
A ship in distress they murmur to save from a watery grave

And soon the deserted village was thronged with hurrying feet
and willing hands pressed forward the lifeboat down the street
To the waters edge they brought her manned by her faithful crew
But the waves rolled in like thunder and the wind more violently
For and hour or more they battled with each high and awful wave
oh! can they never launch her and the sinking vessel save?

Stout hands grew sick and fearful and hands were rung in pain
As the men were driven backwoods they tried and tried in vain
Then a voice was heard, and strangely the crew strained ears to hear.
Carry the boat up yonder, she’ll launch from there ne’er fear.
Up yonder? A thousand feet above? And then 10 miles or more,
before we get her to the sea to launch her from the shore.

Nay; Nay; our lifeboat crew are brave and Englishmen are strong.
But they cannot risk that journey, so perilous and long.
Then through the crowd all hurriedly, a women pressed her way,
And when the crew saw her white face, they knew what she would say.
Oh lads, we fair would keep you, we need our husbands sore
but on that wreck out yonder they surely need you more.

On and save the fathers, that perish but for you,
And mothers may be on that ship, And little children too.
Can you leave them to perish, and seek your homes again.
Must it be said tomorrow our crew; was called in vain?
No never, never cried the crew we’ll go, cost what it may.
And ‘ere another hour was passed and the boat was on her way

That strange and awful journey when fifteen horses drew
The village lifeboat up that hill manned by her faithful crew
Can never be forgotten for old and young were there
And each man took a lantern and all the work did share
On and on and upwards and then the bleak, bleak moor
Is reached without a murmur with footsteps firm and sure.

No thought of cold and hunger could stay those men that night
Only a lamp rekindled or a loose wrap drawn up tight
And then a moments halting for as they climbed before
They now descend for three long miles before they reach the shore
The horses are growing weary Ah! Can they take the bend
Where the hill is steep and narrow and safely reach the end.

Words cannot tell the anguish ‘tis better veiled from sight
What men and horses suffered during that awful night
Only this, hour of hardship and then the sea at last
The lifeboat launched in safety peril and danger passed
What of the wreck the drowning? They saved them everyone
They saved the children’s father they saved the mothers son.

Me thinks the heart eternal throbbed with compassion then
And bestowed a benediction on our brave lifeboat men.

30 September 1938

This poem was obtained by Robert E. Webb. He copied this one on holiday in Lynmouth..Who the Author is I'm not sure.

Joke of the day.

Lobster Story

In a small fishing village, a Newfoundlander was walking Up the wharf carrying two at-least-three-pound live lobsters, one in each hand.
It was three weeks after the season closed! Whom should he meet at the end of the wharf but the Federal Fisheries Officer who, upon viewing the live and wiggling lobsters, says: "Well me Laddie I got you this time - with two live lobsters three weeks after the season Closed!"
The Newfie says, "No - My Son you are wrong! These are two trained lobsters that I caught two weeks before the season ended."
The Fisheries Officer says, " Trained like how?"
"Well my son, each day I takes these two from my house down to the wharf and puts them in the water for a swim. While they swim I sits on the wharf and has me a smoke, or two. After about 15 minutes I whistles and up comes me two lobsters, and I takes them home!"
"Likely story", the Fisheries Officer says! "Lets take them on down the wharf and see if it`s true."
So, the Newfie goes ahead of the Fisheries Officer to the end of the wharf where, under supervision, he gently lowers both lobsters into the water.
The Newfie sits on a wharf piling and lights up a smoke, then another! After about 15 minutes the Fisheries Officer says to the Newfie, "How about whistling?"
The Newfie says " What For?"
The Fisheries Officer says, " To call in the Lobsters"
The Newfie says, " What Lobsters?"


Blogger Gina E. said...

"What lobsters?" ha ha ha!! Good one,Bob! I liked the story about the Louisa lifeboat. Don't know if you have ever heard of the Loch Ard Gorge on Victoria's coast. Parts of our coastline are pretty ferocious at times too, and there were countless ships and lives lost in this area around the same time as your story.

12:01 p.m.  
Blogger Bev said...

What a coincidence in our postings!
I remember going to the museum in Lynmouth and reading this story, but great to be reminded of it again.

It is a hell of a steep hill, and we only just managed it in a Landrover Discovery so a tremendous feat and very brave.

3:27 p.m.  
Anonymous Ray Toms said...

Hi i am struck by the perseverance/determination of these people, and wonder whether we would do the same today? We tend not to be as commited to our neighbours troubles and concerns, but more towards ourselves and our own lives and families. Perhaps it is a question of accountability.
Pastor Ray Toms

8:00 a.m.  
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