Posted by: brigid benson | April 14, 2011


There’s something I love about boatyards, something to do with beached hulks, some propped up, some leaning precariously, some beyond hope. And then there’s the sound of the breeze toying with the masts, playing chirpy ‘ting ting ting’ tunes and the smell of martime paint and the sounds of sea dogs at work – hammering, sanding, cursing and conversation.

Unable to resist a good mooch, a ramshackle boatyard is always my favourite.

Pristine marinas are smart but boatyards inspire.

One of  my favourites is the unassuming boatyard on Heswall shore, Wirral. The muddy spot overlooks the Dee estuary, opposite are mountains in Wales and, out to sea, Ireland.

John’s boat is here – Orca. He’s had it for 15 years and I’ve watched it moving about, from the water, to the marsh, to the boatyard, dependent on the time of year and how much work is to be done.

Given the name, I always thought the owner had an affection for whales and dolphins. Wrong. John is a film buff and named his boat after Orca the boat owned by Quint in the movie Jaws.

Both Quint and his boat come to a sticky end  following a terrifying encounter with a great white shark –  fortunately  John’s unlikely to encounter any of them while fishing off the coast of Wirral.

Saltmarsh, Heswall


John and his boat Orca

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