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Ted's Tales

 

I am not one for river trips really, but the better half recently persuaded me to accompany her on such a trip. I have in the past boarded boats in Plymouth to take in the naval dockyards, Calstock, Bovisand, Cawsands and the like. I have even been on a private boat up the river Lynher, which, in my considered opinion is probably one of the loveliest stretches of river in the UK. However, I do not really find any great enjoyment in just paddling along at a steady 6 knots, especially in inclement weather.
Having said all that you will have guessed that even though I be a Plymouth boy I am not very nautically minded. So it was with some trepidation I accompanied "Action Woman" to Totnes. Those of you who have been to Totnes know what a quaint and ancient Town it is. The Norman bailey castle commands the river approaches and dominates the skyline along with the old church. One has to be reasonably fit to negotiate the steep hill rising to the top and middle of the Town, but the Church, Guildhall, Museum (half way up) and Castle are all worth the effort.
 
We arrived early to take advantage of the 200 space car park next to the jetty. Having parked we took a short walk into the lower part of the Town before returning to the jetty and boarding the boat. The weather was a bit iffy but Action Woman wanted to go on top in the open air so - (Despite my protestations about hurricane force winds and torrential rain) on top we went.
Even if I were able to remember the captain’s microphonic descriptions of the history, ecological, geographical, social and natural attributes of the trip from Totnes to Dartmouth I would not dream of stealing his thunder by describing it in this article. Suffice to say, I was both delighted and intrigued by both the boat trip and the captain’s tale. I would recommend it to anyone. The trip takes some one and half hours but is one which rivets your attention to not only what is being said over the tannoy but also the tremendous views and sights on this beautiful river.
 
Because of the tide we were only in Dartmouth for an hour before having to return to Totnes. We spent the rest of the day exploring Totnes’s steep slopes, shops and ancient buildings, again something, which I can recommend.
My only complaint about the river trip was the captain’s commentary – It was delivered almost word for word in both forward and reverse directions. This seems to be a common problem with river and bus tours. Why is it with so much information available, commentators are incapable of giving more than one version? Even the jokes and clichés’ are repeated.
I was interested to learn that one can participate in a trip between Dartmouth, Totnes and Buckfastleigh by way of river boat, steam rail and bus. Those interested can obtain information from any of the many River Boat companies or the Tourist Information Centres.
 

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