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by holes, cracks, and chasms. Some masked by the gorse and fern are dangerous traps for a stranger, and inspire a sense of insecurity. Not a place to linger in after you have looked into the deepest fissures, and scanned their perpendicular sides.
Beyond these, which are known as the Vincent Pits, rises the pointed crag visible from the other side of Saw-mill Cove. It stands on the edge of the cliff, sheltering a little cabin and a foot or two of ground, protected by a low wall, used as a look-out station. There, in the west, lay the Mewstone, indicating the site of Plymouth; and there, scarcely discernible, far, far away to seaward, rose a tiny dark column-the Eddystone Lighthouse. To my unaccustomed eyes it seemed much more than ten miles from the nearest shore.
From hence the ground slopes rapidly inwards, and you see to a long distance inland, and up to the extremity of Bolt Tail, across cultivated fields. That notch yonder is Ramillies Cove, where the Ramillies frigate was wrecked in 1760, and her captain perished with nearly all on board.*
* A very“ brackish poet,” as Admiral Smyth would call him, thus records the melancholy event:
“ Seven hundred and twenty brave men had she,
Oh, 'the fatal Ramillies !
Which made our men to weep, and our captain to cry
From the top of Bolt Tail you overlook the whole of Bigbury Bay: there is the Thurlestone, a remarkable isolated arched rock of red sandstone, rising from the sea, where the prevailing strata are slate ; and beyond it Burr Island, off the mouth of the Avon; the estuary of the Erme, Stoke Point in the distance, and the broken and irregular line of the shore--the morrow's route. Then down to Hope Cove, where, at the Yacht public-house, you may may get a decent bed and entertainment. The cove is formed by a break in the dark, rugged cliffs, and behind it stands the little village on the road leading from Salcombe to Kingsbridge. This road is seen on the right on descending from Bolbury Down, and you may get into it, if so inclined, without going round by Bolt Tail.
Visitors are, perhaps, rare at Hope, for while I sat over my tea a number of the children and some of their parents came jumping and peeping in at the window to see the stranger, upon whom they passed sundry criticisms. A troop of damsels went past on horseback; and presently came laden packhorses, and hucksters selling fish and vegetables from
“My boys, mind your business, your skill do not spare,
Oh, the fatal Ramillies !
Oh, the fatal Ramillies !"
the panniers. It was Saturday evening, and the villagers made their purchases for the next day. Glasses of ale were frequently called for; not the sparkling beverage brewed from malt and hops ; but a compound resembling in appearance the mixture of rum and milk once held in much esteem by stage-coachmen. Milk, spice, and spirit are among the ingredients of " white ale," as it is called; and as it does not improve by keeping, it is brewed only in small quantities at a time for immediate consumption. It is kept in large stone bottles, and you will scarcely pass a public-house from Dartmouth to Plymouth without seeing a number of the empty bottles piled away in some part of the premises. I saw a dozen or two outside the miserable little “Inn" at Halsands.
Later in the evening I strolled round the beach, and up to the flagstaff overlooking the bay. The cove itself is narrow, sprinkled with rocks, among which a large conical mass stands conspicuous; and is noted for the great quantities of crabs and lobsters caught around its shores. The houses of the village form an irregular street, with piles of dried fern for fuel, standing here and there in
and a stream that skirts the road for a short distance, and tumbles into the sea at the head of the cove.
I was watching the deepening of the shadows on the calm water, when a cheerful salutation roused me, and after the interchange of a few words, the friendly strangers who gave it invited me to pass the rest of the
evening with them at the coast-guard station. The interior of the house a little surprised me by the resemblance of its fittings to those of a ship, its queer little nooks and corners, and medley of paintings, fishing-tackle, and pistols and cutlasses. I had two pleasant hours of social chat, and went back to my sleeping quarters at the Yacht, gladdened by such an experience of impromptu hospitality.
Bigbury Bay-Burr Island-Sandy Beach—Bantham-A Room-full of
Fishermen-Veined Cliffs—Shuffleborough-Formidable Fences—The Two Snails-Stitscombe-Mouth of the Erme-Mothecombe-Stoke Church-Noss, a Picturesque Village —The Yealm-Newton Ferrers— Noisy Sabbath Eve — The Echo-Wembury - Plymouth SoundBovisand Bay—The Watering-place—The Breakwater - The Catwater-The Dockyard-Mount Edgcumbe—The Hoe-Emigrants.
The shore of Bigbury Bay is as irregular in elevation as in outline; masses of bold cliff alternating with broad depressions that sink to the level of the beach, where you walk through deep, loose sand, or up to your knees in the rushes that grow along the damp streaks which mark the course of some small stream, absorbed in its struggle to reach the sea. Something suggestive for the moralising mood. In the deep indentations of the coast-line you see how the waves prevail against soft strata, while the harder rock is left projecting. The map shows an instance on the great scale, from the Start to Bolt Tail, where the stubborn strata defy the ocean and intrude far into his dominion; but on either side of this solid bulwark he has wasted the land and formed the two large bays there represented.
From the top of the cliff to which the path rises on leaving Hope you get a fair view over the bay, the numerous ridges of rock running out from the shore,