August 1960

In which I start my summer holidays, ride the footplate of an 0-4-4- tank, work at the archaeological dig at Lullingstone and vacation in Devon and Cornwall  during which I see a Beattie 2-4-0 well tank.
Lullingstone Roman Villa
Lullingstone Roman Villa - English Heritage site
Lullingstone Roman Villa - Wilkepedia

Monday 1 August
I cycled down to Paddock Wood with David Tyler and we caught the 12.30 train to Hawkhurst.  The Hawkhurst branch goes through really marvellous cuntry, it is a pity that it is faced with closure.  At Hawkhurst we got into conversation with the driver who offered us a ride on the footplate back to Paddock Wood.  The driver was in the front of the push and pull train, while the engine, with the fireman was on the rear.  The engine was class H 0-4-4T No. 31519.  The fireman told us that there was a 25 m.p.h. speed restriction over the branch but we seemed to be doing more than that.  No wonder the engine was swaying about.  We cycled back to Tonbridge and stayed until about 18.00.  Saw a new push and pull set No. 610.

Tuesday 2 August
Went down to Lullingstone today.  Not much has been done to the grid although some pottery has been found, Medieval and late Roman.  Just before dinner there was a terriffic thunderstorm which lasted until about 13.30.  This stopped work for a while and there was another storm just before 15.00 which ruled out any hopes of further progress.  I cycled home early and encountered yet another heavy fall of rain.

Thursday 4 August
I went down to the dig again today, the weather has been very good all day.  I have two more new recruits - both from Shootershill school.  They are good workers although very inexperienced.  John (Palmer?) was also down there, it is the last time he can come for some time as he is going on a works course, holiday and then hop picking.  We had our dinner down by the river, the water was very cool. We spent half an hour afterwards searching the bed for broken glass - there is a great deal of it.

Friday 5 August
Down to Lullingstone again today.  Again, the weather has been very good although it clouded over this afternoon.  I have been on my own all day - just trowelling - haven't found anything.  One advantage of being on my own is that I can work as slowly as I like.  One boy came to see me and, when he left, jumped on to a side berm.  He was just going to jump down the other side when he realised that there was a fifteen foot drop.

Saturday 6 August
I have been able to get quite a lot done at Lullingstone.  Have had two extra helpers.  Progress is slow because of the trowelling.  We have started to find things - a Roman-type nail, pieces of plaster and a piece of bone (may be human collar bone).  I went down to the river to have dinner.  We managed to float a huge log which was in the bushes and David (from Farningham) stood on it.  Unfortunately it heeled over and he fell in.  From then on he jumped in and out from the log with all his clothes on.

Monday 8 August
Went down to the dig to make my second application.  The rain wasn't too bad but, even so, the museum was flooded. I can imagine John Bide frantically trowelling a channel in the pouring rain in order to direct the water from the museum.  I have at last reached the Roman level and have found several pieces of pottery and some nice bones, including parts of jaw bones - a sheep's and a cow's.  Mr. Carrwell has cut off our water supply (the next move in the feud) so we are going to re-excavate the Roman well to save having to go up to the Colonel's place in the gateway.

Tuesday 9 August
I went down to the dig today although I didn't get very much done.  We went swimming in the lake just before dinner. I swam right over to the other side, it wasn't too difficult although it took me some time and I had to swim the breast stroke. 
I left early to go the the first training session of the new rugger season. We practiced at Goddington.  There is a system of circuit training which is not so strenuous as the one at school. We played a game afterwards in which I scored a try.

Friday 12 August
Dave Waywell came down with me to the dig today.  The weather, which prevented me from coming Wednesday and Thursday, has cleared up but it is still a bit dicey.  We have been following the Roman treading level. It seems to go at an oblique angle into my grid and through a berm.  I have found a number of bones - two vertebrae, a leg joint and some rib bones. No human ones. 

Saturday 13 August
Went down to the dig as usual, it was more fun on a Saturday.  I have followed the path as far as the berm and have been knocking the berm down.  It is quite dangerous work as there is a fifteen foot drop from the narrow ledge upon which I was standing.  As well as this I had to knock down the part I was standing on.
I came home early and after tea I went with Dave, Mum and Dad to Chipperfields Circus in the field off Cray Avenue. I haven't been for a long time and I enjoyed it very much.  What amazed me was the number of people who appeared in more than one act.

Monday 15 August
Had my hair cut, my hair had grown so long this was a memorable occasion.  Went down to the dig.  The Roman path was completely uncovered and we have started to trowel down into the pit which is below it.  We went swimming in the lake at dinner time.  It was very cold at first but very enjoyable.  We stopped on the way over to watch a helicopter spray a field of potatoes at Holbury.  It was flying very low, at some points it was only two feet above the potatoes.

Wednesday 17 August
Dave Waywell is still staying with us,  We went down to the dig,  Its been quite sunny especially this morning.  We went swimming in the lake - over to the other side and back, it didn't seem to take so long although I felt a bit tired through having put on a spurt at the end.  After dinner we went scrumping in the wood behind the dig.  It is common land.  We found quite a few trees although the apples were very sour.

Thursday 18 August
Went down to the dig with Dave - I found a small piece of Samian pottery, my first piece.  It may help to date the Roman pit we are trowelling through.  Went into the lake and swam four lengths of it (it is 100-125 yards). It rained heavily this afternoon so that very little work was done and we came home early.

Friday 19 August
I have heard my "A" level results.  I passed all three but geography was a shock.  Geography 6, Economics 3, Mathematics 5.  We have got on with the pit and have completely excavated it.  Apart from a couple of smashed bones and two small pieces of pottery we have found nothing today. 

Saturday 20 August
The Colonel thinks that we may have uncovered the steps up to the mausoleum.  He gave me a little work to do and then went off to Farningham.  My job took me about an hour and then I did odd jobs around the site.  The Colonel didn't come back after dinner so I did some trowelling in the new chapel  This will be my last day down here for a some time.

Tuesday 23 August - Tavistock

I stayed the night at Dave Waywell's house in Forest Hill. We got up at 06.00 and left for Victoria Coach Station at 06.50.  The coach left on time at 08.15. It followed the A30 all the way to Exeter with stops at Hartley Wintney, Salisbury, Yeovil and Honiton. We changed at Exeter and arrived at Tavistock at 18.30.  Dave Wright and Terry Wall were in another coach.  From Yeovil to Exeter the sun shone brilliantly but it clouded over after Exeter and this made Dartmoor look very bleak indeed.  After supper we went into the village and stopped at the "Duke of Gloucester" where we met two half drunk Australians:
"Jesus, man, you go to Australia, you gotta bloody work.  I don't know what I do, I guess I just bum around."
"If you go to Australia, never go on a binge.  In Australia a binge lasts for at least five days.  Truly, it does."
They were touring in an Austin truck and offered us a lift back to the hostel,  We, rather foolishly, accepted.  It was going alright until a car going the other way didn't dip his lights.  We swerved and brushed a telegraph pole support wire which ripped off half of the front bearside mudguard,  They didn't seem unduly worried - neither were we.

Steam engines seen: 76028 34063 30707 30131 4606 30225 34024.

Wednesday 24 August - St. Just
The Australians said they would give us all a lift to Penance if we could get to Liskeard by about 10.30.  Unfortunately there was no bus until 12.00 so Dave Waywell and I decided to go to Liskeard by train.  We arrived at Plymouth North Road just in time to see our connecting train departing.  The next train was not until 13.00 so we decided to go all the way to Penzance by train which meant 1 hours to wait.  The weather was poor - showery, and the station is nowhere from anywhere interesting so we spent the time on the platform.  I got into conversation with a few drivers and firemen.  The fireman of a Hall "Washford Hall", No. 4976, which was piloting a Castle, No. 5032 up to Newton Abbot told me that the coal brickettes were used a great deal in this part of the country.  They were better than ordinary coal because there wasn't so much dust.  The "Haycock" method of firing is used. This entails putting the coal just inside the firehole doors at the top of the grate. The motion of the engine then rocks the half-burnt coal down the firebox.  One driver took us into the cab of his newly-delivered diesel hydraulic locomotive No. D821 "Greyhound" which later on took out the "Cornish Riviera" on to London (12.35 depart).  The engine crews seem to like the new diesels very much; they are much more comfortable and cleaner than steam.  There are heaters for the crew and a small ring to brew tea on.  These locomotives are fitted with bellows-type corridor connections for use when working in multiple.  We had a look inside the motor compartment.  It is very dark inside and there is a heavy smell of oil.  While we were inside, the driver started up the diesel engine, the noise was terriffic in such a confined space.  We couldn't get out quick enough.

We caught the 13.00 from Plymough North Road which left 10 minutes late behind Castle No. 5069 "Isambard Kingdom Brunel". This engine was very appropriate because the line was engineered by Brunel and the first thing to look out for after leaving Plymough is his famous Saltash bridge which celebrated its centenary not very long ago.

From Brunel's Royal Albert bridge, 110 feet above the Tamar and 2,200 feet long, there is a very good view down the estuary towards the naval craft moored at Devonport.  There were ships of all kinds from motor torpedo boats to aircraft carriers.  To the north of the single line bridge the new road suspension bridge is taking shape.

The first part of the journey through Cornwall runs on high ground.  There doesn't seem to be a square inch of level ground and the steep sided valleys are bridged by numerous viaducts.  This part is well wooded with coniferous and deciduous trees which bear the signs of Forestry Commission work.

The first sign of the china clay industry is at Bodmin Road station with Bowaters China Clay works at the west end of the station on the down side.  The kaolin becomes more in evidence at Par where the harbour is used for its ecport.  All the streams are discoloured white and so are the waters of Par Bay.  After Par the rain came down again and by the time we had reached St. Austell it was raining hard, so much so that the china clay "mountains"were only just visible.

At Truro a sheep with a label tied round its neck was taken out of the train and tied up to a post.  It was protesting bitterly. A trolley was pushed close to it and it jumped up and knocked off a couple of boxes.  Altogether it managed to cause a great deal of trouble.

By the time we had reached Redruth the kaolin working had given way to lead mining.  The countryside is dotted with abandoned mine shafts and drab mining communities.  Even though the weather had inproved the Redruth-Camborne area was very depressing.

The train arrived at Penzance dead on time at 16.35 which gave us plenty of time to catch the 17.10 bus to St. Just.  It was misty for most of the journey but the sun came out as we reached St. Just. The hostel was quite hard to find. It is situated in very pleasant surroundings overlooking the Cot valley which is covered, for the most part, with bracken.  After dinner we went down the valley a quarter of a mile to the sea.  The coast is very rocky and rugged and the sea was rough because of the numerous rocks.  We went up the side of the headland to the north and climbed on to a rock high above the sea close to Cape Cornwall.  There was a good sunset, the clouds, by this time, had broken up and were well scattered.  After this we went inland past a Celtic village, called Carn Gloose, to St.Just.  It was quite dark by this time and we groped our way back to the hostel eating chips - some of the best I have tasted.  There are very few trees in this part of Cornwall although there are hedgrows.  What trees there are, are bent by the strong west wind which gives them the appearance of being stunted on one side.

Thursday 25 August - Pemzance
It was bright and sunny this morning.  The water had been cut off so we had to go down to the stream to get water to wash in.  After breakfast I went into St. Just to get our lunch and met the others on the way to the beach.  We went exploring on the rocky shore. There are many abandoned mine shafts on the coastline, one would have been under water at high tide - it was bored into the solid rock of the cliff where it met the shore.  We went in for a swim later on in the morning.  The sea was quite rough and we had to be careful of the rocks.  It seemed very cold.  We left the cove near the hostel at 11.30, after a short sharp shower, and walked along the coast past Gribba Point, Polprey Cove and Aire Point to Whitesand Bay where we had another swim and also lunch.  By this time the weather was perfect.  There were very few clouds in the sky, although we could see them forming inland.  The sea was an azure blue - just like on postcards.  The water at Whitesand Bay was quite rough with very large breakers.  Ideal for surf bathing.

After dinner we went through Sennen Cove (very commercialised) and over the cliffs, via Gamper Bay and Dr. Syntax's head to Lands End.  From Sennen to Lands End the coast is National Trust.  The cliffs are very impressive and rugged.  There is no beach in this area as the cliffs drop straight into the sea.  Lands End is very commercialised, indeed it is completely spoiled.  In contrast to the first part of our walk this morning it is very crowded.  At Lands End we scrambled over the rocks to get as far west as possible - there's quite a drop into the sea.

We caught the bus back to Penzance via Newlyn and found the hostel quite easily. Roy Bennett and Peter Gregory were already there, having hitch hiked down. After super we went round the town finishing up with six pennyworth of chips.

Friday 26 August - Phillack
Despite Pete Gregory, we left the hostel at 09.30 and went into Penzance where we bought some dinner.  After this we walked down the dull stretch of main road to Marazion station.  This stretch runs along the railway which, in turn runs alongside the sea.  On the map the road crossed the railway at Marazion by a level crossing but a bridge has been built quite recently.  From the coast close to the station there is a good view of St. Michael's Mount, an old volcanic plug with a castle perched on top.

St.Michael's Mount
We then went along the by-roads to Canon's Town.  We then became lost and found ourselves at St. Erth station instead of St. Erth village.  Dave Wright, Terry and Pete went back down the main road to a pub while we went on and had dinner in a field overlooking the Hayle estuary and close to the railway line to St. Ives.

After dinner we waked into Hayle and across the estuary to the coast at Hayle Towans where there is a three mile stretch of sand.  We went in for a swim but it was cut short by a rainstorm.  The hostel at Phillack overlooks the estuary which is quite pleasant at high tide but is a vast expanse of mud at low tide.  The harbour is used by small coasters, it is dominated by a power station on the eastern edge.

Saturday 27 August - Truro
Dave Wright and Terry started hitch hiking to Truro straight away.  The rest of us walked through the country and came on to the main road to the west of Camborne.  Pete had been getting slower and slower and we dropped him off by the roadside.  The three of us then by-passed Camborne and had dinner inthe middle of a roundabout where the Redruth by-pass leaves the Redruth road.  After a very amusing dinner we hitch hiked to Truro.  Dave Waywell went first and got a lift right through.  Sid and I were nearly as lucky as we were given a lift on the back of a lorry to Scorrier and then after walking 200 yards we got a ride all the way into Truro in a van belonging to a dairy farmer.

Truro is a very clean town,  The main reason for this is, I believe, that there is water running down where the gutters would normally be.  Many streets, including the main road, are cobbled.  This gives a very picturesque appearance but it can't be good for the motorists' tyres.   We went down to the river to have a look at the boats.  There was only one largish ship - a coaster from Holland.  The tide was out, exposing horrible sticky mud.  We went out in the evening and finished up, as usual, in a fish and chip shop.

Sunday 28 August - Lostwithiel
The bus for St. Austell didn't leave until 11.25 so I went up to Truro station for an hour or so.  There is a footbridge over the down end of the platforms.  From this there is a good view of the motive power depot.  The station has three through platforms and a bay on the down side for the Falmouth branch trains.  The main line climbs out of the station and curves round to the left in the Penzance direction.  In the Plymouth direction the line is carried high over the town on a lofty vaiduct.  The shed is at the down end of the station on the up side.  The service roads are next to the main line and have been cut out of the hill side.  Next comes the shed and to the far right, some sidings with one of the new Birmingham Railway Carriage and Wagon Co's. three car multiple diesel units.  The engines on shed were the normal assortment of Castles, Manors, Granges and tanks except for one 5700 class tank, No. 3709, which had a bulbous spark-arresting chimney.

The only thing of note during the bus journey to St. Austell was a very heavy thunder storm.  The worst was over by the time we had alighted at St.Austell station.  We waited until it had stopped and then went through Liskey to St. Blazey Gate where we had dinner. The sun shone brightly in the afternoon. We had only six miles to go to the hostel and went along the main road through St. Blazey.  After St.Blazey the road ascends a very long steep hill through Penpillick.  From the summit there is a very good view on all four sides.  To the south we looked down over St. Austell Bay and past Black Head to Mevagissey Bay.  The waters close to Par are stained white by the china clay.  To the west is St. Austell Moor, covered with the white cone-shaped china clay mounds.  To the east and north is high undulating ground.

Lostwithiel is approached down a very steep hill, from the side of which there is a panorama of the village.  There are only two bridges over the River Fowey at Lostwithiel - an ancient narrow 15th century stone-built one and one which carries the main road further to the north.  Before the new bridge was built there must have been quite a bottleneck.  In between the two bridges is a dairy.

The hostel is very good.  It is a converted reform school for girls which has its own chapel attached. Most of the rooms have virtues stencilled over the doors, e.g. "Modesty" and "Compassion".  The men's WCs are stencilled "Regularity" and "Vigour"  Pete Gregory has left his pajamas back at Truro - it was quite a laugh after lights out this evening.

Monday 29 August - Plymouth
I caught the 09.52 train from Lostwithiel Station to Bodmin Road hauled by diesels Nos. D6315 and D6320.  Lostwithiel station is very attractive.  The platforms are planted with palm trees. I changed at Bodmin Road for Wadebridge, the two coach train was hauled by 2-6-2 tank No. 4552.  At Bodmin General the engine picked up a van and ran round the train.  I reached Wadebridge at 10.50.  The first engine I saw there was Beattie 2-4-0 well tank No.30586, one of the three engines I had come specially to Wadebridge to see.  Before dinner I walked around the town.  It was very crowded with tourists and the market day traffic.  The road traffic through the town is very slow because of the level crossing which crossed the High Street as well as the picturesque 15th century bridge over the Rver camel.  There has been a great deal of new building in the outskirts of the town.  The houses are very pleasant and expensive but they completely spoil the valley.

At about 13.40 I went to the shed between the station and the River Camel.  There were only three engines on shed.  Class O2 No. 30200; class N No. 31849 and WR 0-6-0 pannier tank No. 4694.  The O2 was dead but the mogul had a fire, although there was only 60 lbs. per sq. in. pressure on the gauge. It seemed to be simmering.  The pannier tank was having some work done to its coupling rods,  They have been used on the Wenford branch but the wheel base is too long.  I noticed the difference between the different regulator handle positions.

The Beattie well tanks are still going strong.  They have all just been through the works and have at least 36 months left to work.  No. 30586 was shunting in and around the station.  I saw it propelling three trucks, it tried to pull up quickly but the momentum of the wagons pulled it along for some way.  The driver told me that this was the most powerful of the three.  At times they have been substituted on the Bodmin Road trains and have reached 50 m.p.h. but at this speed they are decidedly rough, understandably so for an 86 year old engine.  Of the other two engines, No. 30585 was in the shops, presumably at Eastleigh, while 30587 was on the Wenford Mineral line.  Although I didn't see No. 30587, I was told that it was in very good condition because it had been used during the centenary celebrations at Exeter Central on July 19th.  Of the passenger services the Bodmin Road route was normally worked by Western 45xx tanks and the Padstow branch was worked by T9 4-4-0s which were much in evidence.



T9 on Padstow branch duties

30586 with a GWR pannier tank
I caught the 15.24 back to Bodmin Road hauled by No. 4565 and changed at Bodmin Road for the Plymough train with Nos. D6312 and D6322 at the head.  We passed out of Cornwall and into Devon when we crossed the Tamar.  I got out at Devonport Albert Road, the hostel is five minutes walk from the station,  After supper we went for a walk to a park which is the highest part of Plymouth.  There is a good view over Plymough and the Devonport dock yard.

Tuesday 30 August - Bigbury
We left the hotel in a heavy drizzle, walked down to North Road station and caught the No. 93 bus to Modbury.  During the ride it came on to rain very heavily but it had practically cleared up by the time we had reached Modbury.  There was nothing of note on the walk to Bigbury.  We passed over fairly high ground.  After dinner we had a game of darts at the Pickwick Inn and then went on to Bigbury-on-Sea.  Spent the afternoon on the beach reading and skimming stones.  We had to avoid the sand which was flying in the wind,  There is an island, called Burgh Island, close inshore.  At low tide it is connected to the mainland by a stretch of sand about a quarter of a mile long.  At high tide it is cut off but it is still possible to wade across.  There is a ferry which can only be described as a contraption.  It has caterpillar tracks and the main body is set on stilts.  No wonder the local nickname for it is "The Thing".

The hostel is very good indeed, we even had a choice of meals which the warden and his wife serve personally. We can see the flashing of the Eddystone lighthouse from the dormitory window.

Wednesday 31 August - Bigbury
Have spent a lazy day on the beach.  We played football on the sand until the tide came in when we went further up the beach and stayed there until after dinner.  I went in for a swim with dave Waywell, after which the tide had gone out sufficiently to allow us to walk over to Burgh Island.  We went on to the island and went right the way round.  It rises just over 150 feet above sea level.  At the highest point there is a disused observatory from the roof of which there is a god view of the surrounding coastline.  there are several stretches of rocks just off shore, all of which show jointing and folding.  There is a good view of Burgh island from the hostel common room.  This is particularly effective at high tide in the moonlight with the sea rippling reflecting mrror and Burgh island standing out in rugged, bold, black relief.  We shall certainly be sorry to leave here.

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