Well, Paul can't get much further North in Devon and We can't get much further South. Paul asked on Twitter during DevonHour, a weekly spot where Devonian Twits get together and tweet the bejasus out of a #hashtag (don't ask, either you know or you don't) if anyone would like to write a guest post for his blog. I volunteered.
Do they know that the huge area around Slapton Sands was evacuated in the second World War to provide a training ground for our US allies, or anything about the enormous training disasterExercise Tiger, some of which happened on the beach at Slapton, some of which in Lyme Bay, and which was the single largest disaster in loss of life of the war, a mixture of bureaucratic incompetence, friendly fire and enemy action?
Honestly, we'd love to tell them that and have them explore. There are folk who are pretty much the last generation directly affected by that war, and they need more stories to pass on to their kids and grandkids.
We also would dearly love more younger folk. It's term time still and the 'happily child free' are with us at present, but this really is a town for the kids, too. It isn't a bucket and spade holiday town, it's a town to do stuff, visit castles. We have, well, at least three! We even have a Palmerston Fort. Dartmouth was invaded by the Brittany French, but we repulsed them. Find that in your history books. They were sent packing at Blackpool Sands.
There's stuff to find out about pirates. Politely we call them 'privateers', but we had 'em. The tugs for the Lower Ferry are named after one of them. We were also involved in the Triangular Trade, but not the one with slaves. Hmm, where to find out about that. Ah yes, the museum! And how about those Pilgrim Fathers, the Mayflower and Speedwell lot? Left from Plymouth, did they? Have a look in Bayards Cove and see how correct that is. Come to that they didn;t arrive in Plymouth on the other side either. They anchored of Provincetown on Cape Cod. The wonderful irony is that Provincetown is now a major gay resort!. As my US friends say, “Go figure!” I keep apologising for the Mayflower lot. I keep explaining that the boat was meant to sink, but that's a whole other story!
How was Dartmouth defended from invasion from the sea over the years? It wasn't the big guns of the Brownstone Battery, they had a different job. What to know what? Easy, take a walk on the South West Coast Path, and visit it and find out. Chat toCoastwatch volunteers there, at Inner Froward Point. I volunteer for them can can spin quite a yarn if I'm there when you drop in.
Did you know that Dartmouth was on the Front Line in WW2? Have you ever knowingly been to a front line town? Looking at the peace and quiet today you;d never realise the vast invasion forces assembled here. It was bombed, too. The bombing almost ruined the unique plaster ceiling of the Tree of Jesse, something you can see by appointment with the museum, but it was recovered, all bit one bit.
You see it ain't just the stuff you expect. Dartmouth isn't just one of the most beautiful little towns on the face of the earth. It has a military history, a social history and a whole industrial history I haven't even touched on! Have I even scratched the surface? Seriously, I have no idea. I know there were slums, social deprivation, a jail whose last tenant was a friend's grandfather, stocks, shambles (meat market), a mill, limekilns, one of which claimed the life of a young lad who fell asleep at the top and rolled in to be incinerated, poor kid. There's a powerful river that claims two lives a year, and we have the Navy training baby officers in and around the harbour.
And that's without even thinking of listing eateries, drinkeries, our wonderful local theatre and social centre, glorious and quirky shops, the best cream teas in Devon and so much else.
I bet you just thought we were good for crabbing on the quayside!
We are. But we're a whole lot more, too.
So tell me, did anything catch your eye?
Tim Trent runs a private skippered charter boat, Alucia, in Dartmouth, Devon, and wishes he'd been born and raised in Dartmouth, but has to confess that he is an incomer who adores the place.