Friday, 20 July 2018

Never a dull moment as Ravensdale puts us to the test


Photo of the window that sprang a leak when the heavens opened after a long dry spell

The window that sprang a leak when the heavens opened after a long dry spell


The past week has proved the accuracy of a well-known boater’s saying - while you’re enjoying a glass of wine and relaxing on your boat something somewhere is breaking.

I laughed when I first read it, but it’s definitely been true on Ravensdale this week.

No sooner had we sorted one problem on our 43ft seagoing cruiser than another one developed.

The first real rainfall after weeks of hot, sunny weather here at Maryport in Cumbria, UK, gave us a nasty surprise with three windows developing leaks last Friday and over the weekend.

The cooker packed up just before lunch on Monday.

And, on Tuesday evening, it was a bit cooler than of late, so we switched on Ravensdale’s diesel heating system to discover it had stopped working.

It quite literally never rains, but it pours 😊

Phil’s theory is that if we stopped drinking wine then things would stop breaking but I don’t somehow think it would work - or that we would even consider such drastic action 😊


Ravensdale springs a leak – or three


Heavy rain after a long dry spell created a new problem for us.

One of the great things about our Neptunus 133 cruiser was that, unlike so many other boats we’ve come across, she’s never had any leaks, so we stayed warm and dry inside whatever the weather.

But that all changed when the skies opened and delivered a deluge of rain last Friday morning.

Photo of the window that developed the worst leak

The worst leak was along the top of the window onto the aft deck


It started to fall around the time we got up and I needed a waterproof jacket to go up to the marina facilities for my shower, but the real downpour arrived while we were having breakfast.

And I discovered the problem after we’d finished eating when I went down into our bedroom to dry my hair.

The wooden steps leading down from the saloon into the aft cabin were very wet and there were regular drips falling from the top of the aft deck windows, one of which is a sliding door.

Photo of a bowl and towel on the steps to the aft cabin

A bowl and towel on the steps to the aft cabin

I couldn’t believe it when I discovered water pouring in.

We put a towel over the steps with a washing-up bowl catching the worst of the drips on the top step.

The previous day, we’d arranged to spend Friday in the Lake District with a photographer friend who was visiting the area.

When we discovered the leak, Phil said he had to stay and deal with it as soon as it stopped raining, but he was happy for me to go and leave him to it, so that’s what I did.

While I was out, he stripped out the old sealant across the top and down the side of the window frame where it joins the superstructure.

He dried it as well as he could then resealed it using sealant that can be used in wet conditions.

I didn’t manage to get any photos of him doing this as I was out photographing lakes and mountains 😊

We’re hoping its done the trick, but we haven’t had any more really heavy rain yet.

I asked if we could point a hosepipe at it to see if it had worked, but Phil thought it was better to let nature test it when the time comes.

The only reason that we can think of as to why it suddenly started leaking is that the long spell of hot sunny weather had dried out the sealant causing it to pull away from the window frame and/or the gelcoat.

It rained again on Sunday evening and overnight into Monday. We discovered smaller leaks on two of the windows in the dinette, but no water came in through the one on which Phil had replaced the sealant.

On Tuesday, he removed the bow hatch to discover the sealant in the corner that had been leaking was badly discoloured.

Photo of discoloured sealant around the bow hatch

Discoloured sealant around the bow hatch


He scrapped the old sealant off and replaced it with new.

Photo of Phil scraping off the old sealant

Phil scraping off the old sealant


Photo of Phil sealing around the leaking port side window

Phil sealing around the leaking port side window

And yesterday (Thursday) he was planning to do the same thing to the long window on Ravensdale’s port side that stretches across the back of the dinette and into the forward cabin.

He removed the window trim to expose the screws but could not get any of them to turn.

At this point, we had a bit of a rethink and decided that it looked as though the water was getting in between the frame and the glass. This window doesn’t open so he was able to seal all the way around with translucent sealant.

All that remains now is to see what happens the next time we get heavy rain. Fingers crossed that it all stays outside this time 😊

Cooker problems


Our propane gas cooker decided that it didn’t want to cook any more on Monday of this week.

When I went to light it to make lunch, it refused to play so I had to microwave our food.

Photo of our galley with the cooker and fridge pulled out

Our galley with the cooker and fridge pulled out

After we’d eaten, Phil started to investigate the problem. He pulled out the cooker and the fridge to get to the wiring behind them.

It looked as though neither had been moved for a very long time as the outside of the appliances and the cooker housing needed a good clean.

That was the easy bit.

Identifying the problem was considerably more difficult.

The two cables going to the cooker were dead. Phil tried to trace the wires back to the fuse box, but without success.

After much searching, he decided the best solution was to put in new cables from the cooker to what we thought to be the 12V fuse box.

Thankfully, he tested the fuses before connecting them up to the cooker as, although they are clearly labelled “12V”, they’re actually 24V.

Photo of Phil connecting up the new cables for the cooker

Phil connecting up the new cables for the cooker


As we haven’t added anything to these fuses so far, we’re assuming that everything connected to them is actually 24V and they've just been mislabelled, but it definitely needs further investigation.

Meanwhile, the cooker is back doing what it is supposed to do – cooking 😊


Our diesel heating system refuses to work


Phil was already beginning to think he’d spent most of this week working on Ravensdale when she decided to throw another problem into the mix.

Photo of Ravensdale's Webasto 5 heater

Ravensdale's Webasto 5 heater

We really couldn’t believe it when the Webasto 5 diesel heater we had installed 18 months ago apparently broke down this week.

It had been so warm here that we hadn’t used it for weeks, but we were feeling a bit chilly on Tuesday evening, so we decided to run it up for a while to warm the boat up.

We switched it on and waited, but nothing happened. I turned it up a bit, but still nothing happened. I then noticed the green light on the console controls was flashing.

Photo of the Webasto heater controls

The Webasto heater controls

Last time that happened it was because the power had been accidentally switched off, so Phil checked that and found it was still on.

It was getting late, so we decided to leave it for the evening and take a look at it in the morning.

After attempting to start it by turning it on and off at the switch three times, it refused to even light up.

Phil assumed it needed resetting, so he found the fuse to the system and removed it for a couple of seconds.

He replaced the fuse and found it had restarted, which gave him three more attempts.

He had to repeat this process three times before he got it working.

Photo of Phil checking the pipes on our Webasto 5 diesel heater

Phil checking the pipes on our Webasto 5 diesel heater


Phil checked the hot air pipes had not been crushed and were securely attached to the heater.

He then took off the fuel filter, noticed that there was no fuel coming from the feed pipe and decided this was probably because it hadn't been used for so long that the fuel had drained back into the tank.

He then changed the filter for a new one, left the pipe undone for a minute and turned the fuel supply off and on at the tank several times.

Shortly afterwards, some muck came out of the pipe into the filter and the heater started working again.

We then had to leave it to run for a while to clear the system of any coke, which meant we were sweltering and had to open all the windows. Thankfully it wasn’t raining.

Phil was pretty pleased with himself when he’d finished and commented that 12 months ago, he probably wouldn’t have been able to tackle the job himself.

Before long, we will hopefully know everything there is to know about the various systems on Ravensdale.


Cleaning the aft deck


Another job that Phil undertook while I was out this week was using teak cleaner and brightener on Ravensdale’s aft deck – hence the lack of action shots again

He tackled this task while I went along to soak up the atmosphere and take photos of Maryport Carnival on Saturday afternoon.

Phil removed the tables and chairs and other items from the deck and used Teak Wonder cleaner to remove the dirt, algae and fish stains that were spoiling the look of the teak. He then applied the corresponding brightener.

Photo of Ravensdale's aft deck looking spotless after cleaning and brightening

Ravensdale's aft deck looking spotless after cleaning and brightening

Knowing he was planning to do this, I made sure all the windows in the aft cabin, which is our bedroom, were closed as last time we deep cleaned the aft deck we forgot to close them.

The windows open inwards, so all the dirty water poured in and soaked a pile of clean washing that I’d just brought back from the marina launderette.

It was neatly stacked ready to put away when we’d finished what we were doing outside. Instead, it was dirtier than before I’d washed it and had to go back in the machine for another wash.

Sadly, I didn’t get any before photos of the deck, but this photo of Phil baiting a hook on a recent fishing trip shows that it needed something more than its usual hose down.

Photo of Ravensdale's dirty aft deck during a recent fishing trip

Ravensdale's dirty aft deck during a recent fishing trip


The deck now looks great, so we’ll have to try to keep it that way.

Last year, when we gave it the full cleaning treatment, we then used a product to dress and seal it, but it was only supposed to last 12 weeks so we’re undecided as to whether to bother this time.


Replacing the antifreeze in the port engine


Phil drained the fresh water cooling system below the heat exchanger on the port engine on Sunday.

Photo of one of Ravensdale's two 300hp Volvo Penta engines

One of Ravensdale's two 300hp Volvo Penta engines


This was long overdue as it probably should have been done when he replaced the heat exchanger and intercooler after they’d been cleaned earlier this year.

When he changed the water in the heat exchanger at that time, he was hoping the water in the system was good enough to top up, so he just replaced the water and antifreeze he’d drained out.

He’s since checked the water that was sitting in the engine below the heat exchanger and discovered it needed replacing.

So, this time, he drained all the water out of the system and flushed it through with a hosepipe several times before replacing it with a new 50/50 mixture of water and antifreeze.

Photo of Phil pouring the new antifreeze/water mixture into Ravensdale's port engine

Phil pouring the new antifreeze/water mixture into Ravensdale's port engine


He used a 50/50 mix to provide a higher level of anti-corrosion protection.

The heat exchanger and intercooler on Ravensdale's starboard 300hp Volvo Penta engine were removed, cleaned and replaced by a local man, who keeps his family's fishing fleet running, to cure an overheating problem. He showed Phil how to do the port engine himself.

The starboard engine was just topped up so Phil's considering draining it and hosing it through before refilling that one as well, although he's checked the mixture and it doesn't seem to be too bad.


Maryport Carnival


Up until last Saturday, I would’ve said I wasn’t into carnivals – not at all.

However, I decided to go up to Fleming Square in Maryport, where the carnival was congregating before it set off through the town, to get a few photos.

I left the boat at about midday telling Phil I really wouldn’t be long - probably about an hour at most – and, at that time, I meant it.

However, I was so impressed by the floats and costumes and the acts that the various groups and organisations put on that I just couldn’t tear myself away.

Photo of a mermaids and pirates float at Maryport Carnival

A mermaids and pirates float at Maryport Carnival


It was a beautiful sunny day, which helped a lot, and the atmosphere was brilliant.


I already knew that Maryport people were some of the friendliest I’d encountered anywhere I’d lived, but they surpassed themselves on Saturday.

Everyone was in party mood and the kids were having a ball.

Photo of local children on a Votes for Women float at Maryport Carnival

Local children on a Votes for Women float at Maryport Carnival


Photo of a pensive moment for a young girl on one of floats

A pensive moment for a young girl on one of floats

The streets were packed with people of all ages trying to get a good view of the procession as it passed and many of them were happy to have a chat as we waited for the next group to arrive and perform for us.

The emergency services led the parade.

And there was a big cheer for Cumbrian hero Simon Lawson, a Paralympian who won the bronze medal in the T54 event at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games and won the men’s wheelchair race at the 2017 Great North Run.

All in all, it was a great day and my “hour at most” turned into almost four hours 😊

I then faced the prospect of looking through more than 800 photos and processing the best of them to put on a local Facebook group.

I will definitely be going to the carnival next year, if we’re still in Maryport…


Lake District photography trip


A photographer friend, who was visiting the area, offered Phil and I the opportunity to join him on a photography trip in the Lake District last Friday.

We both accepted but Phil had to pull out at the last minute when water started coming in around the window and door from Ravensdale’s aft deck.

He told me to go without him as he knew I was really looking forward to the trip and I had a great day out.

I was very glad we hadn’t been put off by the heavy rain first thing as it quickly dried up and, although it remained fairly cloudy, we only had a little light drizzle during the morning then it was dry for the rest of our outing.

In fact, the moody, grey, cloudy skies were much better for photography than clear blue skies and bright sunlight would’ve been.

Photo of cloudy skies over Lake Buttermere in the Lake District

Cloudy skies over Lake Buttermere in the Lake District


Photo of tree roots and reflections in Lake Buttermere

Tree roots and reflections in Lake Buttermere


Photo of a dead lone tree on the shores of Lake Buttermere

A dead lone tree on the shores of Lake Buttermere


We went to Buttermere and Crummock Water, stopping at several different locations to take photographs.

Photo of a tiny white building on the shores of Lake Buttermere

A tiny white building on the shores of Lake Buttermere


Photo of conifers reflected in Lake Buttermere

Conifers reflected in Lake Buttermere


Photo of a small island in Crummock Water in the Lake District

A small island in Crummock Water in the Lake District


A closer view of the island with two swimmers in the water

A closer view of the island with two swimmers in the water


Photo of a gate in a stone wall at Crummock Water

A gate in a stone wall at Crummock Water

Photo of mountains on the far side of Crummock Water

Mountains on the far side of Crummock Water


It really is a lovely area that we need to get out there and explore.


Splash party


We were invited to an impromptu splash party on Tuesday when a friend’s 26ft Robert Clark sloop went back in the water after seven years on the hard standing at Maryport Marina.

Tony invited everyone who was on their boats, the marina staff and some of the folk staying in their caravans and campervans on the marina’s caravan site.

Considering how few people were here on Tuesday, there was a good turnout for drinks and the buffet he laid on in the marina’s customer lounge.

Some of us then carried on with the party at his boat, Janina of Dorset.

Photo of Tony (left) with some of his party guests

Tony (left) with some of his party guests


Photo of Phil (third from left) chatting to Tony at his splash party

Phil (third from left) chats to Tony at his splash party


Photo of Janina of Dorset back in the water at Maryport Marina

Janina of Dorset back in the water at Maryport Marina


Tony was very glad to see her floating again and is now looking forward to being able to take her out to play on the water.

And his party turned into a double celebration.

On the same day, Marcus from the US bought a catamaran that is currently berthed in the marina.

Marcus, his friend Oscar and Marcus’s dog Ruby also came along to the party, so we drank a toast to his new acquisition.

Photo of Marcus (right) and Oscar at Tony's party

Marcus (right) and Oscar at Tony's party


He’s planning to keep Kuri Moana in Maryport for a while before sailing her down to London, where he intends to live on her on the Thames.


Marcus’s maiden voyage on Kuri Moana


Photo of Marcus and Ruby

Marcus and Ruby

Marcus and Oscar took Kuri Moana out for a sea trial when the marina gate opened on Wednesday afternoon.

He’d hoped the previous owner would join him for her first outing after he’d bought her, but this was not possible.

He asked us if we’d like to go along for the ride, but we had things we needed to do here so politely declined his invitation.

But I offered to pop along and get some photos of his boat leaving the marina and heading out into the Solway Firth for the first time.

The wind speed was higher than we would’ve wanted to take Ravensdale out in and he seemed to be having a few issues with the wind, but he took her out and brought her back safely.

I took some shots of her leaving her mooring, going out through the marina gate into the basin and then heading out between Maryport’s twin piers.

Photo of Kuri Moana in Maryport Basin

Kuri Moana in Maryport Basin


Photo of Kuri Moana heading out into the Solway Firth

Kuri Moana heading out into the Solway Firth


Meanwhile, Phil helped catch the ropes of another catamaran that had been stuck on the mud at the entrance to Maryport Basin since the previous tide.

Photo of the catamaran stuck on the mud at the entrance to Maryport Basin

The catamaran stuck on the mud at the entrance to Maryport Basin


It refloated as the tide came in and returned to the marina just before Kuri Moana headed out to sea.
Photo of Phil (right) helping to moor up the cat when it returned to Maryport Marina

Phil (right) helps to moor up the cat when it returns to Maryport Marina




A change in the weather


The long spell of warm, dry weather in Maryport ended with the torrential downpour last Friday morning.

But we’ve still had plenty of good weather over the past week and it hasn’t been cold enough to stop me wearing shorts and vest tops.

However, we’ve also had more clouds and some rain, but more is desperately needed as falling water levels in the reservoirs that serve this area mean a hosepipe ban is due to come into force in Cumbria on August 5.

Last Friday started wet but it stopped raining during the morning. It stayed fairly cloudy throughout the day but was still quite warm.

Saturday was sunny, dry and warm with a top temperature of 18.7C (66F) and a top average wind speed of 15mph.

Photo of young lads having fun in the sun in Maryport on Saturday

Young lads having fun in the sun in Maryport on Saturday


We had similar conditions for most of the day on Sunday when the mercury reached 19.1C (66F) and the average wind speed peaked at 16mph.

Photo of rain on Sunday afternoon

Rain on Sunday afternoon 


It rained later on Sunday and into Monday morning. It was then overcast for much of the day, but it remained fairly warm.

The top temperature was 17.5C (63.5F) and the top average wind speed recorded at St Bees Head was 7mph, but it was definitely higher than that in Maryport.

There was more rain overnight and Tuesday was a day of cloud and sunny intervals with the temperature peaking at 16.9C (62F) and the average wind speed reaching 14mph.

Photo of cloud and sunny intervals on Wednesday

Cloud and sunny intervals on Wednesday


Wednesday started dry, overcast and fairly windy. It brightened up during the morning giving way to broken cloud and sunny intervals. The temperature rose to 18.6C (65F) and the top average wind speed was 14mph.

Yesterday (Thursday) was dry, bright and sunny from the get-go, but there was still a good wind. The highest temperature recorded locally was 18.6C (65F) and the top average wind speed was 10mph.

Photo of blue skies at Maryport Marina on Thursday afternoon

Blue skies at Maryport Marina on Thursday afternoon


So far, today (Friday) the weather has been horrible. It started raining around the time we got up and has been doing it on and off ever since, but it's only supposed to last for one day and the forecast is much better for tomorrow.

Friday, 13 July 2018

Sleeping more soundly thanks to our new high water alarm and blackout curtains


Photo of the new high water alarm in Ravensdale's engine room bilges

The new high water alarm in Ravensdale's engine room bilges


Fitting a high water alarm in Ravensdale’s engine room means we will now be alerted if a significant amount of water collects in her bilges.

The move was part of the response to our horrible experience earlier this year when the stern gland on the port prop shaft of our Neptunus 133 developed a nasty leak.

This led to a rising water level in the bilges, which we only discovered by chance.

We fitted an automatic bilge pump soon after the incident and will now sleep more soundly thanks to our new high water alarm.

Lining our bedroom curtains with blackout fabric has also helped to stop the early morning sun waking us earlier than we would like.

Meanwhile, the swan family returned to Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK, yesterday (Thursday) in search of food.


High water alarm


Phil has this week fitted the high water alarm we ordered a couple of weeks ago to make sure we didn’t experience a repeat of the situation we faced when Ravensdale’s port stern gland sprang a leak.

Photo of the leaking stern gland on Ravensdale's port prop shaft

The leaking stern gland on Ravensdale's port prop shaft


At that stage, both our bilge pumps had to be manually switched on and we discovered the problem by chance late at night.

As that was the first time we’d experienced a leaking stern gland, we needed assistance with sorting the problem and couldn’t summon help until the morning, so Phil had to get up every two hours to manually switch on the bilge pump in the engine room.

The following morning a local man, who keeps his family’s fleet of fishing boats running, came along and sorted the problem. He helpfully explained what he was doing and showed us how to do it ourselves.

All that was needed was to tighten the bolts on the stern gland a little to compress the packing.

We immediately fitted an automatic bilge pump and, more recently, ordered the high water alarm as a “belt and braces” solution.

This means that, if we get a leaking stern gland again, not only will we have an alarm to warn us of rising water in the engine room and an automatic pump to clear the water, we will also be able to stop the leak ourselves.

We’re also going to have a look at whether the stern glands need repacking the next time we get Ravensdale out of the water.

Photo of Phil connecting up the cables to the high water alarm

Phil connecting up the cables to the high water alarm


Phil fitted the float switch for the alarm in the engine room bilges and connected up cables to the light and loud speaker above the console in the saloon.

He has set it higher than the level at which the automatic bilge pump kicks in, so it will hopefully only alert us to a real high water situation.


Put that light out!


Phil came up with a novel solution to the problem of light streaming through the portlights in our bedroom and waking us up well before sunrise.

The curtains that were on Ravensdale when we bought her were not thick enough to block the light so, as a temporary fix, he stretched the waistband of his black running tights around one portlight and fastened his cycling tights on the other one.

Photo of our unusual blackout blinds

Our unusual blackout blinds


This looked hilarious as it meant there were two pairs of legs hanging out below the curtains on the port side of the boat, which faces east when we're moored up, but it worked so we’ve been doing it every night since.

Meanwhile, we ordered some blackout fabric and this week I got around to using it to replace the linings on the bedroom curtains.

I unpicked the old cotton linings (which have been saved as cloths for use in the engine room), cut new linings from the blackout fabric, used the sewing machine to sew them along the tops and down the sides of the curtains then hemmed them by hand.

Photo of me sewing the hem on the bedroom curtains

Me sewing the hem on the bedroom curtains


The curtains are only very short but feel much heavier with their new linings and hang better than they did before.

As for cutting out the light, they are a partial success. No light comes through the curtains now, but light still gets in beneath them where they hang away from the wall.

I’m either going to have to fix them back to the wall in some way or find another way to cover the portlights to stop the light getting in.

But at least the work I’ve done so far has achieved enough to mean we no longer have to have two pairs of legs hanging out from under the curtains every night 😊


Where have all the fishies gone?


We seem to be going through a quiet spot on the fishing front in the Solway Firth at Maryport, Cumbira, UK, at the moment.

And one man who runs a local fishing club suggested the lack of mackerel could be because there were more jellyfish about than usual.

Photo of one of the jellyfish we saw on a recent fishing trip

One of the jellyfish we saw on a recent fishing trip

We don’t know if this is the reason, but we only caught one dogfish on our fishing trip last week, despite trying various baits and fishing methods, and other fishermen are reporting an equally dry period.

We haven’t been out fishing for more than a week now, partly due to the marina gate opening times coinciding with the windier parts of the day and partly because of the lack of fish.

We’re hoping things will pick up again soon and that our next fishing trip will be more successful.

The man who issued the warning about jellyfish said they had been using four rods with different feathers at different depths but didn’t catch a single mackerel.

He wrote: “Billions of jellyfish on the sounder and the feathers and anchor chain covered with their stinging tentacles – not surprisin’ the mackerel R stayin’ away.”

And he suggested that gloves should be warn when handling anchor ropes and chains in case their venomous tentacles have become caught up in them.

We have a windlass to bring in the anchor chain, but if ever have to handle it for any reason, we’ll take his advice as we really don’t want to suffer jellyfish stings.


Rescue of stranded children


Emergency service vehicles rushed to Maryport shore on Sunday afternoon with blue lights flashing and sirens wailing.

Photo of emergency vehicles parked by Maryport pier

Emergency vehicles parked by Maryport pier


We were about to leave the marina for a walk along the shore when we saw and heard three police vehicles and a fire engine heading along the road beside the marina towards the lighthouse.

As we walked along the path by the sea wall, we could see the emergency vehicles parked by south pier.

An ambulance also arrived at the scene.

We later heard that two children, who clambered onto rocks by the end of the pier at low tide, became cut off by the rising tide.

Maryport Coastguard Rescue Team issued a statement saying two casualties were removed from the water by Cumbria Police.

It said the casualties were checked over and placed in a police van to keep warm until the ambulance arrived.

Photo of the ambulance arriving at Maryport pier

The ambulance arrives at Maryport pier


The mother of one of the youngsters later posted on Facebook that her daughter and friend were rescued from the water by “a fabulous police officer”.

We were very pleased to hear that both children were safe and well.


Unusual Facebook request that nearly killed me 😊


I recently received a request on Facebook from someone who lives in Nottingham asking me to take a photo of the house in Maryport where his Nan used to live showing its proximity to the sea.

He said he used to spend his school holidays there as a child and asked me to take the photo from a certain location showing his Nan’s old house and the sea so he could show it to his partner.

I had no idea who he was but could see no reason not to do as he’d asked as it wasn’t really going to be a chore – or so I thought.

When I got there, I discovered that his Nan’s house was in the middle of a terrace on the opposite side of the road from the sea and the green he wanted the photo taken from was beyond the end of the terrace on the same side of the road as the house.

I decided the solution was to take four photos from different angles, including a panoramic image from the green showing the end of the terrace and the sea as I didn’t have a wide enough lens to get it all in one shot.

Photo of the row of terraced houses I was asked to photograph

The row of terraced houses I was asked to photograph


They aren’t the most artistic photos I’ve ever taken, but he seemed to be happy with them, which made my day 😊

The worst part of the exercise was that I tried to take the photos on the way to a hair appointment with little time to spare.

To check I was in the right place, I asked one person I met if I was on the right street. He wasn’t sure and knocked on the door of a woman living nearby to ask for more information.

I then had to explain what I was doing.

The householder wanted to know who the name of the man's Nan, but I didn’t know the answer to that one.

She started to tell me some of the history of the street and normally I would have been interested to listen but had to make my excuses as I was getting late.

After hurriedly taking the photos, I realised I had just four minutes to get up to the town for my appointment.

Another shot of the terraced house showing its proximity to the sea

Another shot of the terraced house showing its proximity to the sea


I decided a long zigzag flight of steps, known as Market Steps, would be the quickest route and nearly gave myself a heart attack trying to hurry up 108 steps – that’s if I didn’t lose count when I felt as though I was dying and ended up having to haul myself up the last 20 or so steps using the handrail.

I was just two minutes late getting to the hairdressers, but I was puffing and blowing like a steam train 😊

Photo of Market Steps at Maryport

Market Steps at Maryport

I went back to have another look at the steep steps and to take some photos of them on Tuesday.

This time, I paced myself and was in less of a state when I reached the top, but it's definitely not something to hurry or to tackle on a very warm day.

I counted the steps again and there are definitely 108 of them.

I'm considering doing them regularly as a form of exercise but have a feeling that would result in one of three outcomes - I'll either fall and break my neck, have a heart attack as a result of the exertion or end up very fit.

The trouble is that I'm not sure which is the most likely outcome so the jury's out on that one at the moment 😊

Photo of the view from the top of Market Steps

View from the top of Market Steps


Another shot of the view from the top of the 108 steps

Another shot of the view from the top of the 108 steps


Photographing Maryport


As usual the marina and harbour proved popular subjects for my photographic outings this week, partly because I totally love boats and partly because they're quite literally on my doorstep 😊
Photo of Maryport Harbour at low tide

Maryport Harbour at low tide


But I also enjoy taking photos around the town in Maryport and took advantage of a walk up to town for a hair appointment last Friday afternoon to get some more street scenes.
Photo of looking down Shipping Brow towards the Solway Firth

Looking down Shipping Brow towards the Solway Firth


On Sunday evening, there were some great reflections in the water that were just crying out to be snapped.

Photo of reflections at Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK

Reflections at Maryport Marina in Cumbria, UK


Photo of the marina building in Maryport

The marina building in Maryport


A short walk along the shore to the lighthouse and back along the side of the marina on Monday afternoon provided more photographic opportunities. These included a man collecting peeler crabs for fishing bait from plastic pipes he'd buried in the mud in Maryport Basin.

Photo of two people and a dog enjoying a sunny day on Maryport beach

Two people and a dog enjoying a sunny day on Maryport beach


Photo of a man collecting peeler crabs in Maryport Basin

A man collecting peeler crabs in Maryport Basin


There was also a beautiful sunset on Monday evening. I was of two minds as to whether to go out and photograph it and eventually decided, just in time, that it was too good to miss.

Photo of Maryport lighthouse at sunset

Maryport lighthouse at sunset


And a walk up to town for a bit of shopping on Tuesday was another excuse to try to get some different shots around the town.

Photo of Fleming Square at Maryport

Fleming Square at Maryport


It was on this trip that I discovered the impressive architecture we have here in Maryport.

There are some lovely old buildings, monuments and sculptures around the town.

Photo of Crosby Street in Maryport

Crosby Street in Maryport


Photo of Senhouse Street in Maryport

Senhouse Street in Maryport


Photo of Shipping Brow in Maryport

Shipping Brow in Maryport


These, together with the shore, the harbour and the marina make the north Cumbrian town a photographer’s paradise IMHO 😊


Marina wildlife


We saw the swan family in the marina for the first time in nearly a fortnight yesterday (Thursday).

And they headed towards me as soon as I rattled their tub of floating duck and swan food.

I was really pleased to see that the three cygnets are still alive and seem to be thriving as they were much bigger than the last time we saw them.

Photo of me feeding the swan family

Me feeding the swan family


Photo of the swan family waiting for another feed

The swan family waiting for another feed


Photo of the cygnets enjoying their food

The cygnets enjoying their food


Although a bumper crop of jellyfish are being blamed for the poor mackerel fishing so far this summer, we’ve seen far fewer in the marina than were around by this time last year.

Until yesterday (Thursday), the odd ones I’d seen always seemed to appear when I didn’t have my camera with me.

I tried to take a couple of snaps with my mobile phone, but it really doesn’t take good photos especially if I try to zoom in on something.
Photo of a compass jellyfish at Maryport Marina

A compass jellyfish at Maryport Marina


Thankfully, I discovered one close to Ravensdale yesterday and it stayed long enough for me to fetch my camera and take a few photos of it.

Meanwhile it looks as though the pigeons nesting in the drainage hole in the harbour wall near Ravensdale may have produced two young.

There have been four pigeons going in and out of the hole this week – the usual pair and two others that look smaller and slimmer. One is also much darker in colour than its usual inhabitants.

Photo of one of the new arrivals

One of the new arrivals


Photo of the other new inhabitant of the drainage hole

The other new inhabitant of the drainage hole


They look like young birds so I’m hoping it means the pair that have been trying to breed in the hole since the spring finally managed to raise a brood.


More sunny summer weather


The warm summer weather continues making us wonder if we really are in the north of England.

This just doesn’t happen here or at least it hasn’t for many years, not that I'm complaining 😊

The only down side to the weather over the past week is that the wind speed has been 10mph or more at the times when the marina gate was open so we haven't been able to take Ravensdale out to play on the water.

Saturday was sunny and warm with a top temperature of 20C and a top average wind speed of 10mph.

Photo of sunny intervals on Sunday at Maryport Marina

Sunny intervals on Sunday at Maryport Marina


Sunday started a bit cloudy. The clouds continued throughout the morning with sunny intervals, but it got very warm when the sun came out during the afternoon with the mercury rising to 22C (72F) and average winds speeds of up to 13mph.

Monday morning was a little overcast, but it soon got warm again even though it was a bit cloudier than of late. The highest daytime temperature recorded locally was 19.1C (66F).

The top temperature on Tuesday was 19.7C (67F) with the average wind speed peaking at 13mph. It felt very warm again, particularly up in the town, but the sea breeze made it feel more comfortable in the marina.
Photo of another sunny day at Maryport Marina on Tuesday

Another sunny day at Maryport Marina on Tuesday



Wednesday was another bright and sunny day with a good breeze. The temperature reached 19.7C (67F) with a top average wind speed of 11mph.

Just for a change, yesterday (Thursday) was warm and sunny 😊 The highest temperature recorded at St Bees Head was 19.3C (67F), but it felt much warmer here despite the wind, which peaked at 10mph.

Photo of sun-baked grasses on the shore at Maryport on Thursday

Sun-baked grasses on the shore at Maryport on Thursday


Today (Friday) started wet with a short spell of heavy rain – the first real rain for weeks. The weather brightened up as the day went on with a top temperature of 16.6C (62F).