Wednesday 22 July 2020

The Isle of Grain

There is a list of things I need to see - is this what people mean by a "bucket list"? The things are spread rather wide and it is serendipity as to whether I can tick a particular one off: Ashton Museum, Hen Llan Chapel at Llandysul, the Freemantle Maritime Museum, Cumbrae Island cathedral - do you get the picture? Bee Ness Jetty has been on this list for some time, so I was pleased to have a spare morning in Eynsford and go to look for it.

This is in part a note of warning. Despite having with me 3 (three) digital devices that were map-enabled, I could not locate it: a schoolboy error in not first procuring an OS map, which others are advised to do. It is concealed on a muddy coastline behind a monster power station, with no obvious footpath of approach.

No matter! The time was well spent in a modest exploration of the Isle with image and informatory highlights as:

  1. The "Isle" is defined by the Yantlet Creek, and the isolated landmass is actually the Hoo peninsula, its name betraying very Saxon origins and history. The Creek is no more but a London Stone can be found - the boundary of London administrative control has its border on the estuary here.
  2. Dickens was a Peninsula regular. It is understood that his opening of Great Expectations was informed by the "lozenge graves" at Cooling St James:
  3. Cooling is blessed with [the remains of] a castle.
    The peninsula was very vulnerable to any invader and the castle was designed to protect all local residents: thus its gatehouse inscription is not in French or Latin, but the English of the time: Knouwyth that beth and schul be That I am mad in help of the cuntre In knowing of whyche thing Thys is chartre and wytnessyng.
  4. Some stupendous 21st Century presences:
    1. Big power stations:
    2. Amazon looming:
    3. Easy views of serious boats:
  5. And in locating facts for the nonsense you now read, I discover that the RSPB reserve is blessed with a Brennan Torpedo Launcher, which time prevented me visiting.
  6. And as if that is not enough, there is an easily seen WW1 U-Boat wreck. Easily seen if you have time, and waders or a dinghy.
  7. And entirely by luck, a smashing GR roundtop:
    (which has caused a puzzle as it does not accord with my records).

So the Jetty remains on my list, and added to it have been the Torpedo Launch station, the London Stone, and UB122. Sigh. Another visit required - I'll bring a bike and a map next time.

Other pictures exist