Sentimental Sunday: Messing about on the Water

My Grandpa Hibbitt (Charles George Hibbitt) used to have a boat, a small cabin cruiser, and we spent many hours as a family on the Kingsbridge/Salcombe Estuary. He kept the boat at Frogmore Creek, a short drive from his and Gran's home in the South Hams village of East Allington.

Frogmore in 2010
Frogmore in 2010

They say the sense of smell is the most nostalgic of the senses. Every spring when the new season arrives there's a certain smell in the air and it always reminds me of our days out in the boat. Mind you, the smell of two-stroke does the same thing.

Grandpa on his boat
Grandpa on his boat

Grandpa had two rowing boats but one leaked so we never used it. The other one would accompany us on our day trip, being towed by the cruiser. The rowing boats were named after my elder brother and I (my younger brother probably wasn't born when the names were first used). It sounds stupid now but I remember being miffed that the leaky boat was the one named after me.
 
Grandpa would moor up in a cove and my brother and I used to row around in the rowing boat. Some of the coves were only accessible from the water so it was like having our own little private beaches.

My two grans are sitting on the beach with the cabin cruiser in the water and the rowing boat behind
My two grans are sitting on the beach
with the cabin cruiser in the water and the rowing boat behind

We used to hang a makeshift fishing rod out of the back of Grandpa's cruiser as he motored along the estuary but we never ever caught a fish. No doubt, that would be something to do with the lack of bait! I'm sure the fishing was just to occupy us.

There were numerous swans who used to grace us with their presence and I remember being told how they could break your arms if they came near you. I used to be really scared of them.

We sometimes went to Kingsbridge in the boat and I seem to recall there being a miniature train that you could ride on, close to the harbour.

Kingsbridge in 2010
Kingsbridge in 2010

Grandpa's love of the water most certainly developed when he was a young boy. His father was a coastguard and so the family were brought up in various places by the sea.

Grandpa was born near Dundalk in Ireland, at a place called Soldier's Point, and his father was stationed at a number of places in Ireland before coming back to England, specifically to Cornwall and Devon.

Grandpa was 9 years old when they settled at Devil's Point in Stonehouse, now part of Plymouth, and he was 15 when they moved to the Yealm Estuary. The family most likely lived in the Old Coastguard Cottages opposite Newton Ferrers, and I imagine Grandpa would have regularly sailed on the Yealm during that time.

The Old Coastguard Cottages opposite Newton Ferrers, Devon, in 2010
The Old Coastguard Cottages opposite Newton Ferrers, Devon, in 2010

Later in adult life, Grandpa and Granny used to take boating holidays on the Norfolk Broads and it was after Grandpa retired that he bought his own boat.

Grandpa on his boat
Grandpa on his boat

Our boating days were over by the time I was 9 when sadly, Grandpa passed away in 1972, but the happy memories live on.

The pictures of the boat are amongst my Grandpa's collection of old slides.

[Why Sentimental Sunday? This phrase has been included in the title in order to take part in Blogging Prompts at Geneabloggers]

[Note: All content on the Hibbitt & Barnes Family History website and blog is copyrighted. Click here for conditions of use.]

Category: Sharing Memories

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