National Geographic : 1963 Aug
what did he know of the ways of the devil? "Why, sorr, he lives over to Widecombe," was the surprising answer. I didn't see any special sign of the devil at Widecombe Fair, but Old Uncle Tom Cobley was there on his mare. We learned that piece of folklore in Melbourne, and the song that goes with it. When the wind whistles cold on the moor of a night All along, down along, out along lee, Tom Pearce'sold mare doth appear ghastly white Wi' Bill Brewer, Jan Stewer, Peter Gurney, Peter Davy, Dan'l Whid don, Harry Hawke, Old Uncle Tom Cobley and all.... They borrowed the mare to ride to the fair, but the seven of them rode the poor old horse to death. The 1960 Uncle Tom was on a robust gray mare, by himself. His beard was false, and he was selling programs for the fair. Down to the Sea Again I returned to Plymouth, thinking that it was high time to hoist sail again and sweep through the blue waters along Devon's smil ing coast. So early one morning we pulled out from our berth at Mill Bay, and Tectona ran along with the west winds across The Sound, past the mouth of the Yealm, on into Bigbury Bay. We hurried under plain sail past Hope Cove, where the locals were once described as the "worst wreckers in all Eng land." The men there went to bed at night praying to the Lord to send them a "proper wreck," by which they meant a ship full of a rich cargo, with no survivors. The wind freshened and Tectona stormed along at nine knots. It was exhilarating to be offshore again, looking at Devon, that land of great sailors, from the rolling sea. We hadn't noticed just how much the wind and sea had gotten up, running before them, until we turned in to cross the Salcombe bar. By then, we were fighting a moderate gale. "Keep her up! Head into wind!" Tom Blackwell shouted as the stout ketch leaped and rolled, pitching her bowsprit into the sea Sprig of greenery certifies the ale served by the In a medieval rite, Dr. Ivan Barling, portreeve of present the symbol attesting that the inn's ale was Puffs of smoke wreathe the chin of Ash burton's town crier, Fred Wills. Criers once shouted news and weather, but today the post has become ceremonial. Wearing the town crest and carrying a bell, Wills attends the portreeve on a civic occasion (opposite). and almost wallowing her rails under. Spray from breaking seas drove mast-high. A road of white water indicated the bar. Bolt Head, bleak and rock-strewn, offered no shelter; the wind swung around it in one direction at sea level and burst over the top of its gaunt, black-buttressed head in wildly varying williwaws. The cold Channel seas snarled across the bar, and the seaward end of the bay was a wild heaving of waters. "This is where Tennyson wrote 'Crossing the Bar,' " shouted Ike Marsh, "but I guess he was inside when he did!" Indeed he was, as we found out from the locals when we got the anchor down. Lord bareheaded host of the Golden Lion. Ashburton, leans from his horse to not found "wappy," or flat. Official tasters in formal dress stand at foot of steps. Marshals with staves keep order. Office of portreeve goes back to Saxon days; Dr. Barling is the 1,141st to hold the title. KODACHROMESBY NATIONALGEOGRAPHICPHOTOGRAPHERBATES LITTLEHALES© N.G.S.