“MASCOTTE” THE MOVIE-STAR SAILS PAST PENARTH

The classic Bristol Channel pilot cutter "Mascotte" passing Penarth Head today

The classic Bristol Channel pilot cutter “Mascotte” passing Penarth Head today

There was a nostalgic glimpse of the past to be seen from Penarth Esplanade and from Penarth Head this morning as the famous vintage Bristol Channel pilot-cutter “Mascotte” sailed past – heading for Swansea.

“Mascotte” is now 112 years old but is still able to show most modern yachts a clean pair of heels and is reputed to have been the largest cutter that ever operated in the Bristol Channel .

The N indicates Mascotte's original home port - Newport

The N indicates Mascotte’s original home port – Newport

Despite her immense traditional  gaff-rig, she could be handled by just one man and a boy whose job it was to get her pilot alongside incoming ships before other pilots competing for the business. The big letter “N” on her sail indicates that her home port is Newport

Mascotte is tough and immensely strong . Instead of steamed and curved timber stringers in her bilges Mascotte has solid-iron railway lines – heated, bent and beaten to follow the graceful curves of her hull .

Despite her speed and size Mascotte still only needs a relatively small crew

Despite her speed and size Mascotte still only needs a relatively small crew

After passing through several owners she was bought by the Cardiff Brewer’s Brains to be berthed in the disused West Dock alongside a new pub called the Schooner – but her draught was too great for the dock and the idea was scrubbed.

Mascotte was then based for a while in  Penarth Marina but later laid up in Swansea where Brains put her on the market  After years of haggling she was eventually bought by the Winters family who embarked on a huge and very expensive renovation of the classic vessel.

Passing Penarth - heading for Swansea - Mascotte gathers speed in the sunshine

Passing Penarth – heading for Swansea – Mascotte gathers speed in the sunshine

One non-traditional renovation was the installation of a new twin-screw hydraulic propulsion system –  with feathering props – which helped in freeing up space below and made her easier to handle under power.

She also now has a mahogany finished main saloon with space for seven people to eat together,  a traditional coal-fired stove and now regularly takes part in cutter races in the Bristol Channel and numerous bookings for film and tv work.

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PENARTH “PIER VOLUNTEERS” MOOTED TO “MEET-&-GREET” VISITORS

Penarth Piermaster Peter Andrews carries out the daily job of hoisting the Vale of Glamorgan Council's official flag on Penarth Pier's jackstaff - but the council still doesn't think it gets enough public judos for management of the pier.

Penarth Piermaster Peter Andrews carries out the daily job of hoisting the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s official flag on Penarth Pier’s jackstaff – but the Barry-based council still doesn’t think it gets enough public kudos for its management of the pier.

Penarth Civic Society is discussing with the Vale of Glamorgan Council a scheme under which its members would be trained to carry out duties as voluntary “meeters-&-greeters” on Penarth Pier .

The ‘pier volunteer’ concept was explained to members by Civic Society treasurer Chris Wyatt after outline discussions about the idea with the Vale Council’s operational manager  Colin Smith.

The Vale Council apparently feels it doesn’t actually receive much public kudos for all the  work it does on the pier – and that many people are under the mistaken impression that Penarth Arts and Crafts Ltd (which runs the Penarth Pier Pavilion) also runs Penarth Pier itself.

Chris Wyatt Treasurer of the Penarth Civic Society is inviting members to become a "Pier Volunteer"

Chris Wyatt Treasurer of the Penarth Civic Society is inviting members to become a “Pier Volunteer”

Chris Wyatt told Civic Society members that Penarth Pier is “one of the best-managed piers in the UK”   but the Vale of Glamorgan Council’s efforts and regular expenditure of “tens of thousands of pounds”  had been “largely unreported in local media”. Many people he said had no idea about the extensive maintenance work undertaken on the pier

[PDN Note : All maintenance on the pier has been extensively reported by PDN – see http://tinyurl.com/z7ql6fx and http://tinyurl.com/jy4jygy

Mr Wyatt said that MV Balmoral would be carrying out quite a few cruises from the pier during the summer and there was a pressing need for volunteers – people to “meet and greet” passengers embarking and disembarking – and to act as liaison contacts with the ship. The “meeters-and-greeters” he said, would stand at the landing-stage and explain the situation to passengers in the event of the ship being delayed or sailings being cancelled.

Balmoral embarking passengers at Penarth Pier

Balmoral embarking passengers at Penarth Pier

Vale Operational Manager Colin Smith had pointed out that, even when the Balmoral or Waverley were not operating, there could still be lots of people on the pier –  especially in holiday periods –  who had questions about where they find somewhere to eat and drink, how they could get to Penarth Town Centre,  what time the buses operated, or how they might get from the pier to the Barrage and the Marina .

Back in the 1960s the then piermaster ex-navy officer Tom Fearnley ran the pier as a ship - his ship.

Back in the 1960s the piermaster, ex-navy officer Stan Galley, ran the pier as a ship…his ship.

Mr Smith had suggested extending the scope of the “volunteers for the Balmoral”  to have “permanent volunteers at busy periods”,  each working 3 or 4-hour-shifts   answering questions and giving out maps or directing people to the Pavilion, where this information is already available.

The volunteers, Mr Wyatt said, would need to be “outgoing and friendly types with lots of common sense and enjoy working outdoors”. Full training would be given and the scheme would have to comply with all the regulations pertaining to the use of volunteers.

He said the idea was still in the early stages. Some of the work involved in setting-up the scheme would come from the officers of the council and some administration would be carried out by Civic Society members.

The Vale of Glamorgn Council closed Penarth's only Tourism Information Office at Penarth Pier in 2013

The Vale of Glamorgan Council closed Penarth’s only Tourism Information Office at Penarth Pier in 2013 – replacing it with a now-outdated notice board (foreground) called a Tourist Information Point

[ PDN Note: The Vale of Glamorgan Council closed the staffed Tourist Information Office which operated during the summer months at Penarth Pier –  claiming that visitors could easily get information they needed on-line, at Penarth Library and at “Tourist Information Points” (noticeboards – which are now all out of date) . The Tourist Information Office at Penarth Pier was converted into a sweet shop.]  

Other ideas to promote the Pier ( as opposed to the Pavilion) would use the broad area at the end of the pier – once the location of the old Bijou Pavilion – for free public performances ; not a “rock band” Mr Wyatt said – but possibly a “classical soloist”. Other possibilities were also poetry readings and even “drama performances” .

Another idea is to install information plaques at various locations around the pier giving details of various aspects of Penarth Pier history.

 

 

 

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VALE BROKE PROMISE ON TREE-REMOVAL – SAYS PENARTH CIVIC SOCIETY

The Penarth Civic Society was nor properly consulted about the controversial felling of the horse-chestut tree in Augusta Road earlier this month

The Penarth Civic Society was not properly consulted about the controversial felling of the horse-chestut tree in Augusta Road earlier this month

The chairman of Penarth Civic Society, Mr James Long, has given members details of the deal done with the Vale of Glamorgan Council about felling street-trees in Penarth without public consultation – a undertaking which was promptly broken by the council.  

It’s also emerged that Penarth Civic Society has even offered to contribute financially towards the costs which would be incurred by the Vale Council  in replacing felled trees with new trees in their original locations – but to no avail.

The chairman of Penarth Civic Society James Long (centre) with Anne Evans (left) and Society Treasurer Chris Wyatt

The chairman of Penarth Civic Society James Long (centre) with Hon. Secretary Anne Evans (left) and Hon. Society Treasurer Chris Wyatt

The chairman said that over the last year the committee had followed up the “widespread concerns of the apparent decimation of urban trees in Penarth” which had been expressed by members at the last annual general meeting of the Civic Society at which the preservation of trees in Penarth had been made the society’s “main priority”.

He said that in November 2015 the society had arranged a meeting with senior officers of Vale of Glamorgan Council to discuss a “tree strategy” developed by the council . The meeting had discussed what he called  “the main reason for the removal of street trees – which is risk and the fear of litigation”.

This tree in Clive Place was reduced to stump this month by the Vale Council without any of the promised consultation with Penarth Civic Society

This tree in Clive Place was reduced to stump this month by the Vale Council without any of the promised consultation with Penarth Civic Society

The meeting had also discussed the Vale Council’s strategy of  replacing felled trees. “But”  Mr Long said “the one they replace – say an oak tree or a jasper tree  – would not be replaced by another jasper tree –  but by a sapling planted in Cosmeston or somewhere else”. 

The chairman said that in the meeting with the Civic Society, the Vale Council officials had committed to “consult and work in partnership with the Penarth Civic Society”  and would be happy to consult the society prior to any tree removals in the Penarth area – and that a senior officer would contact the society prior to any planned tree-removals or major tree-work in Penarth” .

The Vale Council Mr Long said, had also said it would  be happy to be represented on any group being set up and would also discuss replacement trees and root protection systems and also the possibility of sharing costs .” The chairman said that the Society – as a charity – “might be able to give a grant to assist the local authority in planting trees in the streets”

Tree surgeons at work removing undergrowth from the escarpment overlooking Penarth Marina

Tree surgeons at work removing trees from the escarpment overlooking Penarth Marina. The Civic Society have described it as “decimation”

Unfortunately – the chairman said – the Vale of Glamorgan Council did not consult the Society about what he called “the decimation of trees above Penarth Portway and Terra Nova Way , nor the recent tree- removal at Clive Place  and we were not really consulted about the  demolition of the chestnut tree in Augusta Road ”  . Mr Long said the Penarth Civic Society was “disappointed”.

The chairman went on to say that a “Tree Forum”  had been organised on January 14th which had been well supported by interested groups including Gwyrddio Penarth Greening, Friends of Belle Vue, Friends of Dingle Park, the Marina Residents Association and others. The meeting had considered the strategies adopted by other cities  to preserve and enhance street trees.

On March 2nd there had been a further meeting  at which a group had been set up under secretary Dr Anne Crowley  . It is this  group which will now deal specifically with the Vale Council  with regard to a “Tree Strategy Arrangement”  .

A full turn out for Penarth Civic Society's AGM last night at Hampton's Blue Pelican Cafe in Ludlow Lane, Penarth

A full turn out for Penarth Civic Society’s AGM last night at Hampton’s Blue Pelican Cafe in Ludlow Lane, Penarth

A year ago Penarth Civic Society had been at the brink of collapse because it couldn’t fill vacancies on its committee  – but the organisation has now bounced back with a growing membership list increasing popular support. There was a full turn out last night for the Society’s Annual General Meeting held at Hampton’s Blue Pelican restaurant in Ludlow Lane.

The chairman –  James Long – said that a year ago the Society had been in what he called “a very difficult situation” because long-standing members had retired and the executive committee had been dwindled to only two members. However, after media publicity about the society’s plight, new members had joined the committee . He wanted to thank Chris Wyatt – who runs the society website –  for making “his knowledge and experience available” to the new committee  and Society president Chris Loyn  whose support, enthusiasm and encouragement had been “invaluable” .He also acknowledged the work of Tracey Alexander in editing the Society newsletter and local artist Diana Mead for her beautiful illustrations .

The main committee had now, he said,  “re-established the presence of the Society in the town”.

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NEW MYSTERY SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS PUZZLE PENARTH

One of the surveillance cameras is sited outside Penarth Leisure Centre

One of the surveillance cameras is sited outside Penarth Leisure Centre

Local residents are puzzling over the installation of – at least – two new solar-powered surveillance cameras in Penarth.

One camera has been installed on Windsor Road near the bus stop outside Penarth Leisure Centre. which gives it a view towards the Brains railway bridge.

The cameras have nothing on them to indicate whose operating them and who is watching us.

The new Raytech cameras in Penarth have nothing on them to indicate who is operating them – or why

The cameras have pan and tilt capability and are also equipped with infra-red lights enabling them to operate in total darkness.

The new camera at the bottom of Cliff Hill - near the lifeboat station can read a numberplate on Beach Road and see everything on the Esplanade - even in the pitch dark.

The new surveillance camera on Cliff Hill, Penarth – near the lifeboat station – can read a numberplate on Beach Road and see everything on the Esplanade – even in the pitch dark.(Photo John Clark)

Meanwhile an identical camera has been installed this week on Penarth Esplanade near Penarth Lifeboat station – mounted like the other one on a galvanised steel pole with solar panels on top.

The appearance of these cameras has mystified the “Safer Vale Partnership” – the South Wales Police  and Vale of Glamorgan Council  organisation which is responsible for all CCTV cameras across the county.

The Safer Vale Partnership had heard of the new camera at the Leisure Centre but was not aware of the second camera installed at the lifeboat station until this morning .

The installation on the Esplanade does nothing to enhance the Victorian ambience of the sea front (Photo John Clark)

The installation on the Esplanade does nothing to enhance the Victorian ambience of the sea front (Photo John Clark)

The Safer Vale Partnership says neither of the new cameras has anything to do with its CCTV network and that it has not installed any new cameras anywhere lately. In any case, when the Safer Vale Partnership installs CCTV cameras, each installation is usually well publicised – but there has been no publicity whatsoever about Penarth’s new secret surveillance cameras

The new cameras are made by RAYTEC an American company which makes surveillance infra-red cameras that can read numberplates and see people at a considerable distance in the pitch dark without street lighting.

The on-line magazine Professional Security says Infra-Red cameras “can see through some materials”. Quite what implications this has for the modesty of Penarth residents is unclear.

There is no  record of any planning application having been made for the new cameras and neither installation has been discussed at any Penarth Council meeting  – even though each installation requires a steel pole to be installed with a camera mount and solar panels at the top .

UPDATE: This afternoon the Vale of Glamorgan Council admitted that the newly-installed cameras were theirs and had been installed to monitor flooding and “overtopping” at Cogan and the Esplanade.

This afternoon the Vale of Glamorgan Council Highways Department - who appear not to have enough money to repair the potholes in Penarth - admitted the newly-acquired American cameras were theirs but failed to say how much they had cost the council-tax payers .

This afternoon the Vale of Glamorgan Council Highways Department – who appear not to have enough money to repair the potholes in Penarth – admitted the newly-acquired American cameras were theirs but failed to say how much they had cost the council-tax payers .

The Vale of Glamorgan Council Highways Department said in a public statement on Twitter this afternoon – the first yet made about the new cameras – that there was “No conspiracy, just keeping everyone safe”.

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DRIVE IS LAUNCHED TO UNCOVER DINGLE ROAD STATION’S “MISSING” PLATFORM

Dingle Road Station Penarth has only one track - but there are still two platforms . The second one is hidden under all that undergrowth on the left.

Dingle Road Station Penarth = thje first station trains call at when coming to Penarth – has only one track – but there are still two platforms . The second one is hidden under all that undergrowth and rubbish on the left.

Local environmentalists are pressing for the restoration of the “missing” down-platform at Penarth’s Dingle road railway station.

The Down Platform (on the left of the track heading towards Penarth’s main town station)  is believed to be still mostly intact – but is now swamped with weeds and brambles and dumped rubbish . For visitors coming to Penarth by rail, the unkempt area is their first glimpse of the town.

There is a railway platform under that greenery somewhere .

There is still a railway platform l under that greenery somewhere .

The platform was taken out of use in back in 1967 when Penarth lost its dual tracks and the line became a single track.

The Friends of Dingle Park – the environmental group which has successfully pushed for considerable improvements in Dingle Park  – says the old unused Dingle Station down-platform is now covered in old foliage with litter, fly tipping & undergrowth and is not being cleared or managed .

Litter lurking in the undergrowth of the unkempt Dingle Road Station platform.

Litter lurking in the undergrowth of the unkempt Dingle Road Station platform.

The “friends” – led by tireless veteran Robert Donaldson – say this platform area is not being cared-for or managed but a clearing-up operation, some flowers and a bit of “TLC” would greatly improve the appearance of the place for the hundreds of visitors who alight at or pass through Dingle Road and the locals who use it every day.

Dingle Road is on one of the steepest gradients in South Wales and has allegedly caused difficulties for some of Arriva Trains’s elderly Valley Lines fleet – particularly when attempting to pull away from a standing start.

An Arriva Trains unit changing its destination board at DIngle Rd Station before continuing the climb to Penarth

An Arriva Trains unit changing its destination board at Dingle Rd Station before continuing the steep uphill climb to Penarth’s Town Station

The down-line platform can’t be used for passengers, but local enthusiasts – led by the energetic “Friends of Dingle Park” –  say the undergrowth could be cleared and the area generally spruced-up with some flower beds  and other small touches – to improve its appearance as one of the main gateways into Penarth.

The station is served by four trains an hour to Cardiff Central and beyond. Technically the both platforms are managed by Arriva Trains Wales – but it’s hoped a way can be found to improve the look of platform – and give a lift to the appearance of the whole station.

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PENARTH MP DOUGHTY JOINS CONDEMNATION OF EX-LONDON MAYOR LIVINGSTONE

Doughty led the pro-Gaza anti-Israel march in Cardiff on July 26th. (Photo Jim Wood)

Stephen Doughty (Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth) has previously publicly espoused the Palestinian cause and in 2014 took part in a pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel march in Cardiff by “Free Palestine” protestors  (Photo Jim Wood)

Stephen Doughty the Labour MP for Cardiff South and Penarth is amongst Labour Party members who have called today for the former Labour Mayor of London Ken Livingstone to be thrown out of the party for alleged “anti-semitic” comments . 

In  tweet this morning Doughty – who marched with protestors in an anti-Israel, pro Palestine march from Cardiff City Hall in 2014 – asserted there was “no place in Labour for anti-semitism”.

One of MP Stephen Doughty's "tweets" this morning

One of MP Stephen Doughty’s “tweets” this morning

He followed this up with a further tweet saying  Livingstone should be “immediately suspended”

A second "tweet from Stpehen Doughty today on Ken Livingstone

A second “tweet” from Stpehen Doughty today on Ken Livingstone

The row had developed when Livingstone was interviewed on BBC Radio London and had  said he had “never heard anyone in the Labour Party say anything anti-Semitic“.

Later, as Livingstone  arrived at tv studios in Westminster he was accused by Labour MP John Mann of being a “Nazi apologist”

A set-to outside the BBC studios today between Labour MP John Mann (left) and former Labour Mayor of London Ken Livingstone who is accused of having made "anti-semitic" remarks

A set-to outside the BBC studios today between Labour MP John Mann (left) and former Labour Mayor of London Ken Livingstone who is accused of having made “anti-semitic” remarks

Livingstone said later in an tv interview that Mann had gone “completely over the top”  – but John Mann stood by his remarks and quoted comments which Livingstone had allegedly made about a 1932 plan by Hitler to deport Jewish people to what was then Palestine. Mann  called for Livingstone to be suspended from the party.

Livingstone  said he had simply been quoting historical facts adding  “Let’s remember, when Hitler won his election in 1932 his policy then was that Jews should be moved to Israel. He was supporting Zionism before he went mad and ended up killing 6,000,000 Jews.”

In an earlier BBC interview Livingstone had said “One of my worries is this confusion with anti-Semitism – and criticising the Israeli government policy – undermines the importance in tackling real anti-Semitism.”

Livingstone has now been suspended by the Labour Party and is to be investigated for allegedly “bringing the party into disrepute”.

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PENARTH’S NEAREST LIGHTHOUSE IS SWITCHED-OFF FOR 8 WEEKS

"Hello? Anybody home?". It's a rare event for any visiting boat to call at the unmanned Monkstone Lighthouse. The flashing light at the top is being switched off today for 8 weeks as Trinity House begins a two month refurbishment project.

“Hello? Anybody home?”. It’s a rare event for any visitor to call at the unmanned Monkstone Lighthouse – but today was different. The flashing light at the top is being switched off for 8 weeks as Trinity House begins a two month refurbishment project.

Penarth’s nearest lighthouse – the Monkstone Lighthouse, which stands roughly half way between Penarth and Weston Super Mare,  has been switched off today and will remain out of action for the next eight weeks .

Trinity House – which manages all lighthouses around the UK  – has started a refurbishment programme at the unmanned lighthouse today which is scheduled to last until the end of June .

In the meantime all aids to navigation normally exhibited from the lighthouse have been temporarily discontinued.

The Trinity House vessel Galatea and its tender is working on the lighthouse refurbishment.

The Trinity House vessel Galatea and her tender is working on the Monkstone’s refurbishment.

In place of Monkstone’s familiar flashing light ,the rock on which it stands – the “Monkstone” is marked by a temporary buoy  – the  Monkstone West Lighted Buoy.
Position : Latitude 51° 24’.968N., Longitude 003° 06’.328W.Characteristics : Pillar: Yellow above Black above Yellow: Q(9) 15 seconds with a West Cardinal Topmark

There’s also a Monkstone South Lighted Buoy. Position : Latitude 51° 24’.693N., Longitude 003° 05’.852W. Characteristics: Pillar: Yellow above Black: Q(6)+ L.Fl. 15 seconds with a South Cardinal Topmark

The 75 foot high Monkstone Light sits on the Monkstone Rock which is usually underwater except at low tide (NPAS Photo)

The 75 foot high Monkstone Light sits on the deadly Monkstone Rock which is usually underwater except at low tide (NPAS Photo)

The 75 foot high Monkstone lighthouse was built on the Monkstone Rock by Trinity House back in 1859 .

Even though it’s been battered by waves and weather and has been torn-at by the tides twice a day for 150 years it’s still going strong  and was converted to solar powered operation in 1993.

The Monkstone - named after the monastic order which once had an Abbey in Penarth - is the nearest lighthouse to the town

The Monkstone – named after the monastic order which once had an abbey in Penarth – is the nearest lighthouse to the town

Meanwhile the lighthouse on the island of Flatholm is still under wraps and sheathed in protective covering as maintenance work continues there too.

The lighthouse on Flatholm Island is also undergoing maintenance.

The lighthouse on Flatholm is also sheathed with a protective covering and undergoing maintenance.

 

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