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Full text of "Camping out with the British Canoe Association : with chapters on camping, canoeing, and amateur photography"

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Ex Libris 





British <2Eano 




Mersey Canoe Clttb, Rear-Commodore, B.C. A. 















THIS little book owes its origin to notes made by the 
writer for a lantern exhibition of views taken by him 
at two Meets of the British Canoe Association. These 
descriptions proved of such interest to boating friends 
as to encourage their arrangement in the present 
form. At first the intention was to limit the issue to 
private circulation ; but the extent to which the original 
notes have developed has led to the decision to put a 
few copies on sale. For such a humble production, 
however, no frenzied public demand is anticipated. 

The illustrations are, with one or two exceptions, 
from photographs taken by the author, or from sketches 
made by him. He takes this opportunity of thanking 
a lady friend [M. W.] and Mr. A. Fownes for help 
with the preparation of the sketches. 

The humble origin of this effusion, and the proofs 
it contains of hurried preparation, will, the author 
trusts, secure it from the standard of criticism, to which 
a more pretentious production might justly be sub- 
mitted. Like the craft with which it chiefly deals, 

vi. Preface. 

this book has but little depth, carries no valuable 
cargo, makes little spread, and requires fair wind and 
fine weather; like them it prudently attempts no 
ambitious voyage : 

" Larger craft may venture more, 
But little ships must keep near shore. " 

If, however, these rough notes recall past joys to 
boating friends, and interest others in our glorious 
sport, the writer's main object will have been accom- 

That the members of the B.C.A. will consider this 
publication as an attempt on his part to further the 
cause of that body is the hope of their friend, 

Liverpool, 1891. 











" We're out on a tear to get fresh air, 

And keep our livers healthy ; 
We rise ere breakfast every morn, 

To make us wise and wealthy. 
We wear old clothes, and know no woes 

Of irksome civilization ; 
We carry a grease spot on our pants, 

As a badge of emancipation. 

Chorus : Then shake old pard, our palms are hard, 

Our faces and hands are brown ; 
We don't look gay in our camp array, 
But we're mashers when in town. 

Now you who dress in fine array, 
And board at big hotels, 

Who eat off china every day, 
And pose as howling swells, 

Camping Out. 

And never have an appetite 

That's not produced by bitters 
Just gaze on us and gnash your teeth, 

You miserable critters ! 

Chorus : Then shake old pard, our palms are hard, 

Our faces and hands are brown ; 
We don't look gay in our camp array, 
But we're mashers when in town." 

Camping Song. 

/ DAMPING, as the canoeist understands the 
\~s term, includes sleeping in tents pitched on 
shore, or erected on the canoes when dragged 
ashore or moored afloat. A ' fixed ' camp is one 
in which the tents are left erected in one place for 
some days ; under these circumstances, of course, 
greater luxury is possible than with the 'movable' 
camp, where the tents are struck and re-erected 
in a fresh place every day or two, in which case 
as light a tent and as few impedimenta as possible 
are taken. Various patterns of tent are in use, 
such as the Mersey, the Clyde, the Bell, the 
Marquee, etc. ; each having some advantage un- 
der varying circumstances. The little tents, 
with their ground sheets, poles, flys, and so forth, 
pack up into remarkably little space ; a tent 

Camping Out. 3 

with plenty of room and comfort for two can be 
readily stowed away in a small canoe. 

A large amount of quite uncalled for sympathy 
is expended upon campers out, who are supposed 
to be suffering great exposure and hardship. On 
the contrary, however, camp life is most com- 
fortable. The little tents, if properly pitched, 
are dry inside, however it may rain, and when 
shut up become warm and cosy even on frosty 
nights. Nobody catches colds or sore throats 
when camping. It is really remarkable how 
slight susceptibility to colds there is during 
camping, even with individuals who are martyrs 
to these torments in civilized life ; and it is 
equally notorious that a cold taken to the camp 
vanishes with a rapidity such as coddling and 
gruel at home could never insure. In the tents 
campers sleep, cook, and feed during their cruises ; 
although, when the weather is fine, much of the 
cooking and eating takes place out of doors. 
The science of camping requires study and prac- 
tice ; the beginner loads himself up with un- 
necessary things,and always forgets indispensable 
articles ; the old campaigner learns and invents 
dodges for economising room and weight he 

4 Camping Out. 

never forgets the salt or his toothbrush. To 
camp satisfactorily, it is well to think over, some 
time beforehand, the things that may be required, 
and to make a list of everything that can be done 
with : a day or two before the cruise this list 
should be examined, and everything crossed out 
that can be done without. 

In America, where there is more firewood and 
freedom than in this country, the cooking is 
generally done over camp fires of wood ; here, 
ingenious little spirit cuisines are used, those in 
most request being the Mersey, the Irene, and 
the Boddington. 

Life in camp, when several choice spirits are 
gathered together, is a round of interest and 
pleasure, from the early breakfast to the sing- 
song last thing at night, and is thoroughly 
health-giving from the morning plunge and swim 
to the soothing pipe round the camp-fire before 
turning in. And one's appetite in camp it is 
enormous ! Certainly such an appetite is often 
required, when one reflects that the cooking is 
done entirely by the men themselves ; and won- 
derful results some of them turn out. However, 
hunger is the best sauce, and practice enables sur- 

Camping Out. 5 

prisingly good dishes to be prepared. The man 
who spoiled the simple kipper on the Monday, 
and whose attempt at a stew resulted in a nasty 
mess, may turn out a creditable five-course din- 
ner before the end of the week. Tin meats are 
a great boon to the camper ; eggs, bacon, and 
steaks are comparatively simple to prepare ; but 
some articles are a delusion and a snare to the 
inexperienced. Onions do shrivel up so alarm- 
ingly during the frying process ; whereas rice, on 
the other hand, is so aggressive in its expansion, 
that there may not be enough pans in camp to 
hold what seemed only a handful or two when 
put into the pot. All the same, no stalled ox 
however toothsome a stalled ox may be could 
taste so good as those camp stews, presided over 
by an old hand, and to which each man con- 
tributes whatever he has to spare. The stews 
are constructed on the " tutti frutti " principle, 
and it were invidious to inquire what there is in, 
and easier perhaps to enumerate what there is 
not. The camper-out has no regular meal times ; 
he eats when he can get anything to eat, and 
when he feels hungry, which is pretty well all 
the time. A camper-out who has had nothing 

Camping Out. 

Camping Out. 7 

to eat for four hours, is a ravenous animal, and 
dangerous to meet. We have known a canoeist 
to take his pug dog camping out with him, and 
thoughtlessly leave it behind one scarce day : he 
barely returned in time to keep "jugged puppy" 
out of the bill of fare. " Snark's broth " is a 
mixture we have never heard so termed except 
in camp. It consists of milk and a raw egg 
beaten up together, with a suspicion of Scotch 
whiskey added thereto. Snark's broth is very 
acceptable in the early morning, when the sing- 
song was a little too long and boisterous the 
night before, or a pipeful too much was smoked 
before turning in. It also strengthens the courage 
for the early dip, and has a reputation as a pick- 
me-up after a fatiguing day or some extra exer- 
tion or exposure. For sustenance during labour, 
however, it cannot in our opinion compare with 
tea, hot if possible ; if not, cold with a dash of 
lemon juice added. 

There is always plenty to do in camp, and the 
time, when one is not sailing, is thoroughly em- 
ployed with cooking, feeding, tidying up the tent 
and canoe, drying things, and washing up. When 
two men occupy a tent together, the duties are 

8 Camping Out. 

usually divided : one is the best cook, the other 
attends to the tent, to foraging, and to the un- 
popular duty of washing up. 

During camping is a good time to grow the 
beards and moustaches one cannot start at home, 
on account of the ridicule their early stages 

It is difficult to relinquish the free gipsy life 
when the time comes to return to the office, the 
shop, the pulpit, or the " bar and its moaning." 
Collars and leather boots are the necessities of 
city life which are perhaps the most irksome to 
renew ; but the top hat and the razor run them 
close in unpopularity. For the costume in camp 
is peculiar. Old clothes are worn out, and men, 
of irreproachable exteriors at home, often re- 
semble brigands or scarecrows in camp. 

There are many popular camping grounds 
where, in summer, tents and campers-out may 
generallybe found all through the season. Several 
such exist on the Thames ; and for the Mersey 
and its neighbourhood, a very popular resort for 
this purpose is Hilbre Island, at the mouth of the 
estuary of the Dee. As this is a favourite camp- 
ing place for the second canoe club of Great 

Camping Out. 

IO Camping Out. 

Britain the Mersey Canoe Club we will devote 
a little attention to it. Hilbre, although somewhat 
difficult of access, is an admirable boating station, 
and compares in this respect favourably with 
Hoylake, which is silting up year by year, and 
only allows of three or four hours' sailing on the 
tide. Hilbre is only an island part of the time ; 
for a considerable portion of each day the tide 
leaves a waste of sand between Hilbre and the 
Cheshire shore, and permits one to walk or ride 
over from West Kirby or Hoylake. However, 
there is always water at the north end of the 
island to permit of sailing in the Hilbre Swash. 
The island was formerly a coast-guard station ; 
but for this purpose it was given up by the Ad- 
miralty, who sold it to the Mersey Dock Board. 
This Association keeps a look-out, a life-boat, 
and a telegraph station on the island, and has 
other buildings in which buoys and other marine 
appliances used to be stored. Some years ago 
Mr. Brandreth, the philanthropist who benefits 
mankind with pills and plasters, rented some of 
these buildings, and used to reside there with 
his family. He kept boats, so that communi- 
cation with shops and civilization was pos- 

Camping Out. 

1 1 

sible whether the tide was up or not ; and, in 
general, he behaved like a small king a sort of 
Robinson Crusoe, with the solitude modified by 
a wife and children ; and monarch of all he sur- 
veyed so long as he kept to the south end of 
the island, and did not interfere with the Dock 
Board officials and their preserves. One of his 
boats is still at the island, and goes by the name 
of the Pill-box, out of compliment to its former 
owner, under whom, however, it had a more 
nautical title. After some time Mr. Brandreth 
had a difference with his landlords, the Dock 
Board, and during the negotiations a few boating 


12 Camping Out. 

men who had coveted the house as a boating 
station secured it,and founded the Hilbre Island 
Club, consisting of about a dozen bachelors. 
When a member commits the crime of matri- 
mony it is tantamount to resignation ; as far as the 
Hilbre Island Club is concerned, he might just as 
well go away and die, except that after the former 
calamity he may be welcome as a visitor, which 
would scarcely be the case in the latter even- 
tuality. The Mersey Canoe Club rent a large 
shed, originally used for the storage of buoys ; 
this shed has been fitted up with conveniences 
for camp-life ship's bunks have been put up, 
and hammocks are slung from the beams from 
which other buoys have hung before. There is a 
good cooking stove, and plates, knives, forks, 
spoons, dishes, etc., are to hand ; so that the 
club has a flourishing camping station. Many 
canoeists spend bank holidays and week-ends 
at the island, and some keep their boats here 
altogether, for the tide is not here such a terror 
as in the Mersey ; while smoke, dust, and soot 
do not soil sails and gear, and ferry boats trouble 
not. Camping-out at Hilbre has locally the title 
of " Firking " applied to it, and the Hilbre Island 

Camping Out. 13 

Club are respected far and wide as the " Firkers." 
The origin of the term I know not. 

Camping-out is not, as some have suggested, 
merely another term for loafing ; hard work is 
often necessary to its enjoyment, and the idler 
who shirks his share of the duties, while taking 
advantage of the results, is soon detected and 
admonished. Camping-out does include some 
loafing ; it would not be the holiday it is other- 
wise. Camping may be defined as an out-door 
sport, consisting of living on one's own resources 
in the open air, away from centres of civilization. 
The flavour of camping may be more prominently 
gipsy or nautical. The sport is pursued in un- 
conventional attire ; there is no uniform proper 
thereto, but the clothes are generally old and 
shabby. Camping-out includes some idling and 
smoking ; some wandering about the country ; 
some cooking, tent-pitching, foraging, chopping 
firewood ; some exploring and sight-seeing, and 
a good deal of eating and healthy out-of- 
doors existence. Common, but not necessary, 
factors are rowing, sailing, fishing, shrimping, 
botanizing, photography, tennis, cricket and 
other games; carpentering at boats or furniture, 

14 Camping Out. 

banjo -playing, singing and other music, and 
so on. 

Camping requires a healthy constitution to 
thoroughly enjoy it ; but the bilious, the sickly, 
or the over-worked cannot spend many hours, 
in fine weather, engaged in the less laborious 
branches of the art, without becoming sounder 
and better men and enthusiastic campers. Once 
a camper always a camper ; once catch the 
disease and other forms of sport lose their charms. 
Business or family cares may prevent indulgence 
in the life, but the longing will be there. Some- 
times when the boys are holding a few days 
camp, a stouter and more bald-headed one than 
the rest will turn up one day among them, and 
it is whispered from one to the other that this 
was a gallant camper in the brave days of old. 
He is less active than he used to be, he perspires 
over what he does more than in the past; but 
the spirit is willing, however weak the flesh. 
Perhaps he has told the wife he was going to 
spend the day with a sick friend, or some similar 
evasion, for he is more careful of his clothes than 
he used to be, and before dark he has gone. 'Tis 
the camper of old, re-visiting the scenes of a sport 

Camping Out. 15 

he is no longer able to indulge in. As a letter 
from home to the exile, or the sound of cow-bells 
to the Swiss peasant in a foreign land, so is the 
sight of his cooking cuisine, or of old clothes 
which he cannot wear out, to the camper who 
cannot " get off." 

The married man, at any rate for a few years 
after the catastrophe, is ruined as a canoeist and 
camper-out, unless he has fortunately happened 
upon a mate of similar tastes. " Canoeing and 
camping are both so very dangerous," says the 
bride, " all my friends say so, and dear mamma 
said she was sure you would give them up now." 
Many a good canoeist have we known to brave 
the breeze in safety, but to go down before the 
curtain lecture. However, thanks be ! many of 
them return to us anon ! If the young husband 
be allowed to come to camp at all, it is in a half- 
bred manner. A few wives there are who camp 
out with their worse halves, or insist on them 
spending a large part of their time in camp ; but 
most married couples go to hotels or apartments 
and visit the camp occasionally, being rowed over 
in a barge, or driven across in a growler. A 
canoeist of our acquaintance had been married a 

1 6 Camping Onf. 

short time previous to one of our meets. On 
former occasions, when going for a holiday, he 
had been accustomed to take his luggage and 
blankets in a rubber bag, and his bed and lodg- 
ings in a tin box ; he generally forgot his tooth- 
brush, and had to run back for it, and bring it in 
his vest pocket along with some postcards and 
a pipe. On this occasion he had to pack days 
before, and write for rooms, and send a deposit, 
and give references, and all that sort of thing. 
Happening to call on him, we found him in the 
porch, contemplating in speechless misery the 
amount of luggage a married man requires. We 
took a detective photograph of him at this 
moment as a warning to other campers, and to 
be issued to the various Canoe Clubs in leaflet 
form for distribution, with underneath Punch's 
advice to those about to marry " don't." 

Men who have camped together become very 
attached to one another. In the camp all classes 
and ages amalgamate ; to be a canoeist and a 
gentleman is all the qualification required. The 
liveliest and best of campers are not always the 
younger men, and the most popular may hold the 
lowest social position elsewhere. The freedom 

Camping Out. 17 

from artificial restraints, the mutual help required 
and given, the rough gipsy existence, remove all 
distinctions of age and rank. The enthusiastic 
camper is always young and jolly. Oliver 
Wendell Holmes voices the condition of affairs 
when he writes : 

" Has there any old fellow got mixed with the boys ? 
If there has, take him out without making a noise ! 
Hang the Almanac's cheat and the Catalogue's spite ! 
Old Time is a liar ! We're twenty to-night ! 
We're twenty ! We're twenty ! Who says we are more ? 
He's tipsy young Jackanapes ! Show him the door ! 
" Grey temples at twenty " ? Yes ! W/ute, if we please ; 
Where the snow-flakes fall thickest, there's nothing can 

freeze ! 

We've a trick, we young fellows, you may have been told, 
Of talking (in public) as if we were old ; 
That boy we call " Doctor," and this we call "Judge ;" 
It's a neat little fiction of course its all fudge. 
That fellow's the " Speaker " the one on the right ; 
" Mr. Mayor," my young one, how are you to-night? 
That's our " Member of Congress," we say when we chaff ; 
There's the " Reverend " What's his name ? Don't make 

me laugh ! 

* -;.-'* * * * * * * 

Yes, we're boys always playing with tongue or with pen, 
And I sometimes have asked, shall we ever be men ? 
Shall we always be youthful and laughing and gay, 
Till the last dear companion drops smiling away ; 
Then here's to our boyhood, its gold and its grey ! 
The stars of its Winter, the dews of its May ! 
And when we have done with our life-lasting toys, 
Dear Father, take care of Thy children, the Boys." 



" On the great streams the ships may go 
About men's business to and fro ; 
But I, the egg-shell pinnace, sleep 
On crystal waters, ankle deep. 
I, whose diminutive design 
Of sweeter cedar, pithier pine, 
Is fashioned on so frail a mould, 
A hand may launch ; a hand withhold ; 
I, the unnamed, inviolate 
Green rustic rivers navigate ; 
My dipping paddle scarcely shakes 
The berry in the bramble-brakes. 
Still forth on my green way I wend ; 
Beside the cottage garden end : 
And by the nested angler fare, 
And take the Covers unaware. 
By willow, wood, and water-wheel 
Speedily fleets my touching keel ; 
By all retired and shady spots 
Where prosper dim forget-me-nots. : ' 


Camping Out. 19 

To give an unexceptionable dictionary defini- 
tion of a canoe is, now-a-days, no easy task. To 
hear large boats, yacht-rigged, heavily ballasted, 
and able to carry 5, 6, or more passengers, called 
canoes might lead one to imagine that anything 
in the way of a boat, and sharp at both ends, may 
be rightly so termed. The possession of a canoe 
stern, as it is called, does not of itself constitute 
a boat a canoe. The term " Canoe Yawl " has 
lately been introduced to include the larger boats 
which somewhat resemble canoes ; but even this 
is not entirely satisfactory, for the boats are not 
canoes, and very many of them are not yawls. 

The chief canoe club in this country, the Royal 
Canoe Club, thus classifies canoes. A first-class 
canoe must not exceed 16 feet in length, with a 
maximum beam of 30 inches for that length ; 
the beam may be increased ^j-inch for every 
inch of length decreased ; but the length may 
not be decreased below 1 2 feet, nor the beam be- 
low 28 inches. Second-class canoes may not 
have less beam than 26 inches. There are also 
regulations as to ballast, centre-plates, and sail 
area, while out-board deck seats are forbidden. 
These measurements, however, only refer to 

2O Camping Out. 

canoes for the club races, and not as to what is 
and what is not a canoe. Dixon Kemp defines 
a canoe as " a vessel propelled with a paddle or 
with sail, by a person or persons facing forward ; 
she is a vessel capable of navigating shallow 
water as well as open rough water ; and she is a 
vessel not too large or heavy for land portage by 
two men when her ballast and stores have been 
removed." With regard to this it may be ob- 
served that, now-a-days, oars and folding row- 
locks have become very common, even in small 
canoes, and the deck-seat position for sailing is 
general, therefore the canoeist does not face for- 
ward during either method of progression. 
Again, " shallow " and " portage " require defini- 
tion themselves. How shallow ? For a Norfolk 
wherry would fit this part of the definition. 
What is portage ? Does it mean merely lifting, 
as would seem from the next sentence in 
Mr. Kemp's book ? Even if so, the Vital Sparks 
and the other boats he calls Mersey Sailing 
Canoes must be re-named ; while if the word 
means carry round a rapid, or past a lock, they 
need be two strong men who portage some of 
the canoes of to-day. 

Camping Out. 21 

British canoes are decked over, and are classed 
according to various types, named after the first 
boats constructed on the different designs. The 
chief models are : the Rob Roy, a light, short 
boat, with no sheer, and chiefly suited for pad- 
dling; the Nautilus, a wider boat, with rising floor, 
much sheer, and a rockered keel, adapted for 
sailing ; the Ringleader, longer than the Rob 
Roy ; and the Pearl, with a flatter floor than the 
Nautilus. Perhaps a better classification is that 
of Dixon Kemp's, into paddling and sailing 
canoes ; the latter again being divided into 
paddleable-sailing and sailable-paddling. 

Next to Mr. John Macgregor (Rob Roy), 
Messrs. Baden Powell (Nautilus) and Tredwen 
(Pearl) have done most towards the evolution of 
the modern British canoe. These two gentlemen, 
not only by the designs, rigs, and fittings they 
have developed, but also by their skill in the 
practical handling of their boats, have done much 
to popularize and improve the sport in this 

The R.C.C. and the Mersey C.C. recognize a 
class for Canoe Yawls, which they define thus: 
length over all not exceeding 20 feet ; beam not 

22 Camping Out. 

less than 3 feet ; depth from upper side of deck 
to under side of keel, measured at any point, not 
exceeding 3 feet ; rating not to exceed 0*5 

.-length X saiUrea-l nQ b a H ast OUtSlde Or beloW the 

L oooo J ' 

garboards, excepting centre-plate or drop keels ; 
no transom or counter-stern. This would include 
the Mersey Sailing Canoes a large class of sail- 
ing boats which may reach 20 feet in length, 
5 feet 6 inches in beam, and 2 feet 6 inches in 
depth, with 8 cwt. or more ballast, and consider- 
able passenger accommodation; although it is 
to be observed that the Vital Sparks are ex- 
cluded, as they have lead keels. The larger class 
of boats is becoming very popular in this country, 
especially on the Mersey and Humber. Very 
handy and comfortable boats they are, but it is 
to be hoped their popularity will not diminish 
the demand for canoes ; for the canoe proper is 
a more suitable boat for inland work, including 
cruises on rivers, canals, lakes, and similar waters, 
where an occasional portage may be required, 
and where sailing is frequently impossible. 

This is not the place to discuss build or rig, 
nor to dilate upon the pleasure and health to be 
derived from the sport of canoeing. Since 1865, 

Camping Out. 

when Rob Roy launched his first canoe, and 
especially since his entertaining books were 
published, the sport has become popular in 
England, and still more so in America and 
Canada. The sailing cruising canoe of the 
present day the poor man's yacht, as it has been 
called affords in our opinion the best all round 

sport of any boat that swims. On deck in a 
fresh breeze there is excitement enough for any- 
body; sitting below, and paddling down a river, 
there is sufficient security for the most timid. 
The writer has sailed in many different kinds of 
craft at home and abroad, and has himself owned 

24 Camping Out. 

many varieties during the years he has taken 
pleasure in no other form of sport than boating. 
For the delight of sailing for sailing's sake 
fasgaudia navigationis he prefers a British sail- 
ing canoe to any clipper yacht or sailing boat 
afloat. In no other vessel are craft and crew so 
in sympathy; in none is there such a sense of 
not only directing the energy of the flying body, 
but of being the thing itself actually skimming 
over the tide. Only a bird can know what a 
canoeist feels in a sailing canoe, on a wind, 
sitting on deck, with the foot under the opposite 
coaming the fall of the sheet in one hand, and 
the tiller in the other a fresh breeze on the 
cheek, and a little popple on the briny. 

What is there in this world, lovely woman 
excepted, to equal for beauty a white-winged 
canoe ? A racing cutter under full sail is a 
glorious sight, but, in her own way, the clipper 
yacht's humble sister the sailing canoe is no 
less beautiful, and has the additional charm we 
associate with the tiny in nature. No doubt 
many a good amateur sailor sails in ugly craft, 
with dingy sails, and with fittings rough and 
ready; and many a dingy old hooker has sailed 

Camping Out 25 

in a-head of a fleet of more handsome vessels at 
the close of a hard sailed race. None the less 
smartness, tidiness, and cleanliness is rightly the 
desire of most men who own a boat, however 
small or cheap she may be. A canoeist would 
rather hear his boat's praise than his own. It is 
all very well for the genial Autocrat of the 
Breakfast Table to advise that : 

" True to our course, though our shadow grow dark, 

We'll trim our broad sail as before, 
And stand by the rudder that governs the bark, 
Nor ask how we look from the shore." 

But the amateur seaman is very concerned as to 
how he looks from the shore. There must be 
clean sails properly trimmed, with no Irish 
pennants trailing aloft, no lines towing below ; 
for the smallest boat may be ship-shape. 

Canoeing is not a summer pursuit alone. 
Even in winter paddling is generally, and sail- 
ing often, possible ; while in the dark long even- 
ings the canoeist has rigging to be done, designs 
and fittings to be considered, logs to be written 
up, camp fires to be arranged for, lantern slides 
to be looked at or prepared ; while many a 

26 Camping Out. 

bonnie boatie has been built during the off- 
season by its future crew. 

Much nonsense has been uttered about the 
danger of canoeing. The boats are generally 
life-boats, and even if upset can be righted, re- 
entered, and bailed. Of course the canoeist 
should be able to swim, but so should everyone. 
It is not at all a necessity to the sport ever to 
upset : we know canoeists of over fifteen years' 
standing, constantly afloat at all times of the 
year and all the year round, who have never been 
upset ; but, should such an accident occur, there 
is no harm beyond a wetting. Of what other craft 
can this be said ? It has been the writer's fate 
to be capsized in various craft, always due to his 
own carelessness or that of others : he has vivid 
recollections of the comparative safety of an up- 
set canoe to other capsized craft. On the Mersey 
the little canoes are seen out at all seasons. With 
spars housed and lashed, and apron on, they will 
live in really heavy seas under paddle, and it 
must be pretty stiff when they can't sail with 
some bit of a rag showing. A canoeist who has 
practised upsetting, righting, and climbing into 
his canoe, has little to dread from an accidental 

Camping Out. 27 

capsize. In what other craft does the crew upset 
for the mere pleasure of so doing ? In what 
other clubs is capsizing an intentional incident in 
races held at their regattas ? Again, whoever 
heard of a canoeist being drowned? I don't refer 
under the term "canoeist" to the man who thinks 
it looks easy enough, and who stands on the side 
of the coaming when getting in, or who imagines 
you have only to pull some strings, up goes the 
sail, and off you go. To him who will take some 
little trouble to understand his boat and the 
elements of sailing, and who will paddle before 
he sails, and sail with a small sail before he 
emulates the racer's spread, the sport is safe 
enough. The cherub aloft pays special attention 
to canoeists, as he must have felt who inscribed 
on his canoe the verse : 

" They say that I am small and frail, 

And cannot live in stormy seas : 
It may be so, yet every sail 

Makes shipwreck in the swelling breeze ; 
Nor strength, nor size can hold them fast, 

But fortune's favour, heaven's decree. 
Let others trust in oars and mast, 

But may the gods take care of me." 

As an instance of how slightly the canoeist 

28 Camping Out. 

rates a capsize we may relate the following. At 
a regatta of the Mersey Canoe Club, one of the 
sailing races was from Tranmere to Eastham, on 

the Mersey. There was a stiffish breeze blowing, 
and most of the boats of the competing fleet were 
under small sail or reefed. One of the members, 
however, showed symptoms of starting with full 
sail. " You are never going to take that sail to- 
day," said our genial captain and starter. " Why, 
certainly ! " was the reply. " You can't possibly 
carry it, man !" Now whether this remark, acting 
on the contrariness of human nature, determined 

Camping Out. 29 

our friend to take that sail, or whether he had 
previously made his mind up to that attempt, we 
know not ; but off he went with it all standing. 
Three several times between Tranmere and East- 
ham was he blown clean over ; three times did 
he right his craft, crawl in again, re-hoist that 
ridiculous sail, and continue the voyage, scorning 
both help and advice. He did not win the race, 
but as he passed the mark-boat he was heard to 
console himself with the enquiry : " Who said I 
couldn't carry that sail ? " 

Canoeing is a form of boat-sailing that requires 
both practice and some natural gift before a man 
can become an expert It is well for the intend- 
ing canoeist, if possible, to learn the rudiments 
of the art in some other form of craft ; in one 
in which a little tardiness in the necessary 
manoeuvres is not so readily punished as it is in 
sailing a canoe. We know men who have spent 
many a holiday canoeing who have never become 
decent sailors ; they are, many of them, admirable 
paddlers and campers, and are enthusiastic about 
canoeing, but sailors they will never make it is 
not in them. They have not the instinct that 
tells the expert when the ship is out of trim, when 

3O Camping Out. 

she is off the wind, or when everything is drawing 
its best ; or they lose heart when the canoe heels, 
down sail, and resort to the trusty paddle. How- 
ever, no one knows how skilful a canoe sailor he 
may become with patience and practice ; there 
are many examples of beginners, after only a few 
trials afloat, carrying off racing cups from old 
hands who have served a life-long apprenticeship 
to the sport. 

A canoe is one of the most difficult of 
sailing boats to manage, and experienced yacht 
and boat sailors may be all at sea in a canoe. 
We remember inviting a man who did not 
know what fear was when aboard " a boat that 
is a boat," to join us in a sail. As soon as he 
saw the kind of craft in which he was expected 
to go afloat, and observed the apparent flightiness 
of her behaviour under sail, he remarked that 
there was not money enough in Liverpool to 
induce him to go aboard. A canoe under sail 
appears to the onlooker much less under control 
than she really is. The readiness with which 
she heels to the varying strength of the breeze, 
and the nearness of her crew to the water, give 
her an appearance of instability, very strange 

Camping Out. 31 

to the eye of the sailor (professional or amateur), 
who is only accustomed to stiffer craft This 
appearance is increased by the crew being pro- 
portionally so much larger than in any other 
form of boat. " That's suicide, that is," we were 
lately told by the anchor watch of a coasting 
schooner, past which we were sailing. Little did 
he imagine that he good easy man ran much 
greater risk every time his crazy hulk bore him 
" up along." 

To the beginner it is valuable, and almost 
necessary, to go out a few times with some more 
experienced canoeist to teach him "the ropes." 
For this purpose a double canoe or a canoe yawl 
is useful ; if these be not available the instructor 
may paddle within hail. It is one of the chief 
advantages of canoe clubs that the young canoe- 
ist, joining such a body, can always find friendly 
members to show him the rudiments of the art, 
and to accompany him a few times in case of 
emergency. It is, however, worse than useless to 
give the novice advice in the shape of a string of 
technical terms, such for instance as : " Never 
been out before ! Oh, there's nothing in it this 
is the main halliard, you pull that and up goes 

32 Camping Out. 

the sail, cleat it, take the sheet in one hand and 
the tiller in the other, keep her full, and there you 
are ! " It was full of such judicious advice that 
the writer first went afloat ; he had some idea of 
the " strings," but never having been in a sailing 
boat of any kind before, he knew nothing of the 
actual management of a canoe under sail. How- 
ever, it sounded ridiculously simple, for, of course, 
" in the puffs you just luff her up, sit well out to 
windward, and ease the mainsheet ; keep her to 
the wind, but, if you get off the wind, for Heaven's 
sake don't gybe." The writer imagines he believed 
luffing to consist in pulling in the string called 
the sheet ; and he remembers that, as he did not 
know what a gybe was, he felt confident he could 
not do it. After paddling well away from 
critical eyes, he hoisted sail, and even to-day he 
can recall the sense of bewildered amazement 
with which he regarded the fuss such a proceeding 
entailed. The canoe rushed wildly about, and 
began describing circles, over which the startled 
novice had no control whatever ; he was too con- 
fused to uncleat the halliard and drop the sail, so 
he hurriedly thought over his nautical aphorisms. 
There was but little time for consideration he de- 

Camping Out. 33 

termined, however, not to "gybe," but to "pre- 
pare to luff." There was a strong breeze, and the 
canoe, by some arrangement or other, had now 
got the wind abeam, and was lying well over ; 
this was evidently the time for action, so the 
sheet was firmly hauled in. The result was so 
unsatisfactory that the further measure of sitting 
out to windward was thought necessary, and 
would have been carried out had he not been 
fairly ' chucked ' out to leeward ; and cold enough 
is half an hour in the Mersey in the month of April, 
for he had not learned to get back on board, so 
had to hold on until rescued. Thus endeth the 
first lesson, and in a day or two we went afloat 
again. What makes canoe sailing a speciality is 
the fact that, with this craft, the constant tending 
of the mainsheet is as important as the attention 
to the tiller, while in no other boat is the personal 
balancing of the crew, as shifting ballast, of so 
much importance in proportion to the initial 
stability of the vessel itself. When sailing in 
larger craft, even in large yachts, the canoeist 
has the feeling that the mainsheet ought to be 
loose, and he is inclined instinctively to lean his 
puny weight to windward whenever the vessel 


Camping Out. 

Running before the wind is, we consider, the 
canoe's weak point. She readily runs under, and 
with her low freeboard, the boom soon catches 
the water as she rolls both risky events. A 
gybe commonly either finds the crew in the way 
of the boom, or carries this spar forward of the 
mast, where the leverage may soon roll the canoe 
over. Almost every canoe capsize the writer has 
witnessed or heard of has been when before the 

Camping Out. 35 

wind. In anything in the way of a breeze, even 
an intentional gybe in a canoe is something to 
anticipate with interest, and to look back on 
with relief. 

Canoe Yawls. In a chapter on canoeing 
something may be written about the variety of 
boats included in the class of the canoe yawls. 
These boats resemble canoes in their shape and 
build, and in the character of much of their work. 
Having little draught, they can be navigated on 
rivers and inland waters, and, having keels or 
centre-boards, they are seaworthy boats about 
harbours and estuaries, and even on more open 
waters. A canoe yawl is almost as easily rowed 
as a canoe is paddled ; true, it cannot be so 
easily carried ashore, or dragged round obstacles, 
or taken by train, as the canoe proper ; on the 
other hand, it is a better sailer, and allows of two 
or more sailing together. Talking, idling, and 
moving about are more easily managed when 
several friends are seated in a canoe yawl ; the 
position is less cramped, and meals can be better 
prepared than when the men are divided up in 
the separate canoes in the form of a little fleet 
A boat-tent is readily erected on the yawl, and 

36 Camping Out. 

two or more may sleep in comfort afloat. On 
a cruise, or where the camp is a movable one, 
this does away with the labour of frequently 
pitching and striking shore-tents. A canoe 
yawl affords sport resembling that obtained 
both in a canoe and in a yacht ; with, however, 
some of the special advantages of both these 
forms of craft omitted. It is not so independent 
of wind and tide as a canoe, nor so safe if upset, 
and it lacks the weatherliness and accommoda- 
tion of a yacht. Two, three, or more men may 
go away for quite a long cruise, coastwise, in a 
canoe yawl ; but such close and constant com- 
panionship requires more good temper and com- 
radeship than does a cruise in larger vessels. 
There is no chance of retiring to the cabin for a 
smoke or a sulk ; no secure corner in which to 
be quiet or sick. Sometimes there is hard work 
to be done, sometimes a spice of danger to be 
faced, often a disappointment to be supported ; 
and unless the crew be " jolly companions, every 
one," rows will be frequent. In small boat-sail- 
ing, as much as in any sport, the best laid 
schemes " aft gang agley," or astray, or however 
the Scottish bard may express it ; and, like 

Camping Out. 37 

Mark Tapley, its votary must be jolly under all 
circumstances. We believe that, if you can go 
a cruise with a man in a canoe yawl without a 
rumpus, your friendship will stand any strain 
likely to be thrown on it ashore : a most mild 
and agreeable man at tennis, or in the social 
circle, may prove an irritable and cranky nuisance 

The writer well remembers one of the most 
enjoyable cruises he ever made was in a canoe 
yawl. As an illustration of the all-round work 
these little boats are suitable for, it may per- 
haps be permitted him to give a short account 
of this voyage. 

Early one April three of us started for a voyage 
down the Welsh coast. Stores for a cruise were 
shipped, not forgetting those necessaries to the 
sailor (amateur or professional), ' beer and baccy.' 
As it was so early in the year, we arranged to 
sleep ashore, at hotels if possible. One of the 
crew being a young Sawbones, there was shipped, 
out of deference to him, and to be strictly con- 
sidered as a ' medical comfort ' for emergencies, 
a little wicker-cased bottle containing a universal 
panacea. This medicine-chest was entrusted to 

3 8 

Camping Out. 

the surgeon to the expedition, and was by him 
labelled ' Rye ' ; his scientific instincts tempted 


him to ticket the receptacle ' Alcohol,' but the 
lay members induced him not to do so, as there 
was quite enough confusion with the methylated 
spirit on board without further complications. 
It would have been a shame, they said, to inter- 
fere with the simplicity of the arrangement by 
which we always mistook the spirit for water, and 
vice versd. The cook invariably poured water 
into the cooking cuisine, and made the tea or 
slaked his thirst from the methylated spirit tin. 
To save his life it was necessary, though difficult, 

Camping Out. 39 

to induce him to always drink beer. Therefore, it 
was resolved to keep the whiskey in the bottle, in- 
stead of in a tin, and then we could only confuse 
it with the oil for the riding light ; a mistake of 
much less importance, for, whichever was taken, 
the Doctor was satisfied ; he said it was a delusion 
that cod-liver-oil was better than other oils for 
medicinal purposes, so whichever you got Spirit 
Vini. Rect. or Oleum Colzae was the very one 
he would have recommended for your complaint. 
We started from Tranmere, on the Mersey, 
rather late in the evening, with an hour's ebb-tide. 
It was necessary to wait outside Hoylake gutter 
until the flood brought enough water for us to 
sail up to Hoylake ; so the hook was thrown 
over and tea prepared. Oh that first day of a 
spring holiday, after the cold fogs and hard work 
of the winter ! How jolly to be in a boat again 
to be without collars and top-hats to be beyond 
reach of the postman, the tax collector, and the 
" knocker-up in the morning." How real and 
vivid everything seems ! It is many years ago, 
but the writer remembers as though it were last 
week that festive meal in the dark in the Rock 
Channel, as we sat huddled together in the well 

4O Camping Out. 

of the boat under the lowered mainsail (for the 
nights are chilly in April), the lights of the 
Hoylake lighthouses ahead, and those of Bidston 
and Leasowe shining astern. For company 
there was a flat anchored near, waiting a tide so 
as to have the flood to Liverpool. The writer 
can recall the whole scene the articles of the 
menu the very conversation. Many of the 
remarks made he can remember ; among them a 
flash of genius from one of the party. The piece 
de resistance of the meal was potted meat spread 
upon bread and butter, and much annoyance was 
caused by the reef-lines from the improvised 
tent continually falling into the preparation ; how- 
ever, in the midst of his irritation our friend an- 
nounced the discovery of a new nautical proverb, 
viz : " every reef-point has its own potted meat." 
As evidence of our guileless state of mind, I may 
state that this idiotic remark was received with 
laughter, and became a common saying on board 
whenever things did not go quite as desired ; 
sharing in popularity with a proverb one of us 
had devised on a previous cruise when, after we 
had run aground, he was persuaded to jump out 
on to some suspicious-looking mud, in order to 

Camping Out. 41 

push us off, by our assuring him it was as ' hard 
as iron ' ; he sank in the black abomination up 
to his knees, and, in his misery, gave vent to the 
insane sentence "All that's slimy is not fish." 
It must be an ingenuous state of mind that can 
see fun in such remarks, but the boating man 
will laugh at anything. These proverbs belong 
to the class of joke which it is impossible to 
write with any effect, or to explain to anyone 
who was not present at their birth. Such are 
the allusions common to two or more individuals 
in which outsiders can see no fun, but are 
astonished at the merriment the simple remark 
never fails to bring forth ; simply because the 
stranger cannot picture the original cause or 
scene to which, consciously or not, the joke owes 
its richness in the appreciation of the elect few. 
These witticisms are mysterious to the unini- 
tiated until, by repetition and the mellowing of 
time, they also return the allusion its due meed 
of laughter, though they would be puzzled to say 
why. Most families and ' sets ' have such jokes, 
with which strangers intermeddle not; such as: 
" Just like the fat policeman, eh ? Bob " ; or. 
"Polly knows why the milk is sour"; at which 

42 Camping Out, 

other members of the charitable home-circle 
laugh, while Bob gets cross and Polly blushes. 
Goldsmith's squire was peculiarly attached to 
the family story of the "grouse in the gun-room," 
and Slender says to Shallow : "Pray you, uncle, 
tell Mistress Anne the jest how my father stole 
two geese out of a pen good uncle." Probably 
the squire's guests and Mistress Anne thought the 
crusty old anecdotes as wearisome as the reader 
will mine. But while we have been talking the 
tea and potted meat are done ; there is now 
water enough in the lake, so we up anchor and 
sail to opposite the Hoylake lighthouses, make 
all snug, and arrive at the Stanley Arms at mid- 
night Next morning the sun was brightly shin- 
ing, and there was a gentle breeze in the direction 
we desired. After sailing close to the north end 
of Hilbre Island, a course was shaped for the 
Menai Straits. A spinnaker was set, and we 
bowled along merrily, telling tales, singing songs 
(choruses indispensable), feeding, and taking 
turns at steering and at dozing ' forrard.' The 
wind gradually increased in strength first the 
spinnaker had to come in, and soon we had to 
reef mainsail. On nearing Puffin Island we 

Camping Out. 43 

found rather high waves for so small a boat as 
ours, and the little ship rolled badly. The 
skipper at the helm seemed to regard the state 
of affairs with equanimity his only concern 
apparently being the spray on his eye-glass ; but 
then he was an old hand, who had " wantoned 
with the breakers from a boy," and probably cut 
his teeth on marlin. 

There is no disguising the fact that we two 
others were getting into a blue funk. We began 
to get out the life-belts, merely, of course, for 
curiosity's sake ; we were too full of false shame 
to put them on ; however, a nasty gybe soon 
altered this to the extent of our blowing the belts 
up at any rate. The writer made internal resolu- 
tions to forswear boating and take to skittles. 
We were somewhat comforted by seeing the boss 
so placid, but all the same we got our shoes and 
overcoats off ; would that I could say we reviewed 
our past sinful lives with dismay perhaps the 
story books are wrong, perhaps our consciences 
were lighter then than now. Personally, my own 
firm intentions were to sell the boat at Beaumaris, 
or even give her away if necessary, if we ever got 
there. Nevertheless she carried us many a mile 

44 Camping Out. 

since then. The tide was running well out of 
the Menai Straits, so we did not make rapid way, 
as reckoned along the shore of Puffin Island, 
although we were flying through the water. The 
' Prince Arthur ' came steaming out close to us, 
and seemed quite a companion in the dusk after 
our lonely sail ; she did not appear to recognize 
the waves over which we were making such a 
fuss. We dropped anchor at last under shelter 
of-Beaumaris Pier, after a run of six hours from 
Hoy lake a creditable passage for a boat i6| ft. 
long X 5 ft. beam, with depth from gunwale to 
garboards of i| ft, and a thin 8-inch keel of boiler- 
plate dropping one foot. In the morning we 
walked to Bangor and back by the famed Sus- 
pension Bridge. On leaving Bangor we saw a 
crowd of boys, evidently in wait for their prey 
the tourist. Our costume, a cross between that 
of a bargee and a railway porter, was enabling us 
to escape unnoticed and untaxed, when the Doctor 
must needs air his limited stock of Welsh. The 
result was deplorable ; the whole pack started in 
pursuit, singing lugubrious Welsh songs, inter- 
spersed with petitions of " penny for sing." 
Threats and frowns were of no avail. The 

Camping Out. 45 

Doctor's Welsh vocabulary included some awfully 
guttural 'cuss' words, which, if they were as 
blood-curdling in meaning as in sound, should 
have destroyed the entire population of the neigh- 
bourhood, and given the Medico himself the lock- 
jaw. All in vain. Temporary relief and revenge 
could be obtained by throwing a penny down the 
hill, when the crowd would charge down upon it 
and fight over it. By this means a good return for 
the penny in torn clothes and youthful ill-feeling 
was produced, and a few strides respite secured. 
Eventually, however, we had to arm ourselves 
against the descendants of Glendower and Jones 
with half-bricks, and, when round a corner, we 
resorted to precipitate and ignominious flight. 
About midday we got afloat, and beat across, 
under storm mainsail, against a dead ' noser ' to 
Conway a wet day's work. Out of the Conway 
estuary a strong tide was running, and to make 
way we had to row, kedge and tow. The latter 
method was very unpopular, the water being cold, 
and the bottom consisting of mussels, all and each 
of which had its business end upwards and fresh 

Next morning we started from Conway, hoping 

46 Camping Out. 

to get to Rhyl. The wind seemed favourable, but 
this was due to the draught up the harbour, for 
outside a stiff head-wind was found. A yacht was 
spoken, and we heard that she had given up after 
trying to beat round the Great Orme's Head. So 
we returned for a sail up the Conway river. 
Favoured by a fair wind, bright clear sky, and 
the tide, we had a glorious sail up to Trefriw. 
We could sail close to the banks, on to which 
two of us would occasionally leap for a stroll ; 
we sang, we ate, we drank, we smoked ; how the 
Lotos-eaters would have enjoyed life the more 
had they known tobacco! We left the return 
journey a little too late on the tide, and had some 
difficulty with the channel, having to all turn out 
and wade occasionally. The crass stupidity of 
the few Welshmen on the banks endeared them 
to us personally, but their advice did not much 
facilitate our progress down stream. One ' race ' 
down, which we had to run, gave us some anxiety 
on account of the partly submerged boulders, 
but we escaped with only one unpleasant bump. 
A grand dinner and a subsequent cigar and smoke 
with some Mersey yachtsmen at Conway con- 
cluded a day well worthy the distinction of a red 

Camping Out. 47 

letter ; in fact we could not have imagined any 
improvement, except perhaps to drift : 

" With indolent fingers fretting the tide, 
And an indolent arm round a darling waist." 

Next day another fine and glorious morning 
greeted us, the wind had gone down somewhat, 
and seemed more in our favour. A good sail 
out of the harbour and estuary was made, but 
the wind falling light, it was necessary to row 
round the Orme, in order to get out of the tide 
setting up the river, and into that flowing home- 
wards. The wind veered about in light gusts, 
and the greater part of the day was spent in 
drifting past Llandudno and getting sunburnt 
Many varieties of sea-bird allowed us to come 
close to them because we had no gun, of which 
fact it is proverbial birds make it a point to 
acquaint themselves before they come near human 
beings, to jeer at and abuse us for our incapacity 
to do them harm. Towards sundown we were 
opposite Abergele Church, a well-known land- 
mark, and the question arose whether we should 
put into Rhyl or sail on through the night. The 
latter course was determined upon, but the wind 
kept light and occasionally headed us, so our 

48 Camping Out. 

progress past the lights of Rhyl was a slow one. 
We lighted the riding light and put it under the 
stern sheets, where we sat abreast with the sail 
cover over our legs, thus making a warm air 
chamber for our legs, as the night was cold. 
Here we sat through most of the night, chatting 
and singing until we passed the Point of Aire 
light, which we found after steering by a pocket 
compass and the stars. Soon we noticed, by our 
position with regard to the furnace lights of 
Mostyn, that we were being rapidly carried up 
the Dee by the tide, so after running into a buoy, 
which seemed to get up in the darkness and rush 
at us, we found it best to row for an hour or more. 
By this means a good course for Hilbre Isle was 
made, and a few minutes hard pulling got us 
round the point and into the tide for Hoylake, 
where we anchored at 4 o'clock in the morning. 
It was considered too cold to sleep on board, and 
we could not go on to Liverpool on this tide, so 
we went ashore in the hope of finding some good 
Samaritan to take us in. We hammered at the 
Lake Inn for some time, but were ordered to 
' begone,' so we ' begoned.' The lighthouse 
seemed the only thing awake and friendly, so for 

Camping Out. 49 

that we made. The keeper took pity upon us 
and found us a house where we got a bed, for 
which, cold and tired as we were, we were deeply 
grateful. After three hours of blissful sleep, an 
early start enabled us to reach the Mersey be- 
times. Here the boat was run up the Yacht Slip 
at Tranmere to the Mersey Canoe Club premises ; 
her crew returning to work and the ' busy haunts 
of men.' This extensive and successful cruise in 
a canoe yawl took, therefore, less than five whole 
days ; and by neither a canoe nor a yacht could 
it, in its entirety, have been similarly carried out. 


" A sudden thought strikes me, 
Let us swear an eternal friendship." CANNING. 

Previously to the year 1887, although the 
various canoe clubs of Great Britain had held 
meets on different waters for camping and canoe- 
ing, no attempt at an inter-club meet had been 
made. In August, 1887, three or four clubs 
were invited by the Royal Canoe Club to ar- 
range a cruise in company on the Norfolk Broads. 
A few men from each of these clubs assembled, 
and a very successful cruise took place. At a 
meeting held during this cruise it was suggested 
that an association to arrange for future meets 
of the kind should be formed ; the idea was dis- 

Camping Out. 51 

cussed, was enthusiastically adopted, and, de- 
spite influential opposition, has been carried to 
a successful issue. The enormous advance in 
America of late years in the sport of canoeing, 
both in skill and popularity, has been largely 
due to the success of the American Canoe 
Association, so it was determined to found on 
similar lines an association for Great Britain. 
As the face of friend sharpeneth friend, it was 
felt that such an association, with its meets, camp 
fires, etc. where the doings of the clubs, the 
designs, rigs, and performances of boats, the 
suitability of camping and sailing grounds could 
be discussed and compared would give the 
sport in this country an impetus there were signs 
of its being in need of. Much increased interest 
in the sport has already (1890) been the result 
of the formation of the society ; and canoeing in 
this country owes much to those gentlemen who 
founded the Association. The B.C.A. has now 
a hundred and fifty members, and its success is 
established. The gentlemen to whom this is 
chiefly due are : Mr. E. B. Tredwen, its first 
Vice-Commodore ; Mr. Percy Nisbet, its invalu- 
able Secretary-Treasurer from the commence- 

52 Camping OiLt. 

ment until now ; Mr. T. H. Holding, and Mr. H. 
Wilmer, all of the Royal Canoe Club ; Messrs. 
Bartley and Livingstone, of the Mersey Canoe 
Club; Mr. G. F. Holmes, of the Humber Yawl 
Club ; and Mr. R. M. Richardson, of the Tyne 
Club. The Association has been fortunate in re- 
ceiving the approval of Rob Roy Macgregor, 
who has been its Commodore from the com- 

The first meet was held at Loch Lomond in 
1888, the second on Lake Windermere in 1889. 
Both of these were enjoyable gatherings, despite 
the rainy weather which accompanied both 
expeditions. The meet in 1890 was on Falmouth 
Harbour, and was an unequivocal success in 
every way. 

We will add a few extracts from the B.C. A. 
rules, and can cordially recommend every canoeist 
to apply for membership to the Secretary at 
i, Water Lane, Great Tower Street, London, E.G. 

"This association shall be called 'The British 
Canoe Association.' Its object shall be the 
promotion of Cruises and Meets, whereby Canoe- 
ists of the United Kingdom, irrespective of clubs, 
may unite for the purpose of cruising and camp- 

Camping Out. 53 

ing ; furthermore, it aims to establish reasonable 
tariffs for land and water transit of canoes, for 
procuring concessions and permissions for the 
navigation of Canals, Streams, and Lakes, and in 
all possible ways to procure increased facilities 
for cruising, camping, and exploration. Any 
gentleman may become a member of this Associa- 
tion whose application for membership has been 
approved, and who has been duly proposed, 
seconded, and elected by the Committee. The 
officers of this Association shall be a Commodore, 
Vice-Commodore, and Rear-Commodore, and a 
Secretary-Treasurer, to be elected at the General 
Annual Meeting." 

Ladies are eligible for membership. 



Oh Windermere ! Thy placid charms 

I never can forget ; 
Thy hills, thy rills, thy pleasant farms, 

Thy everlasting wet ! 
Full many a rainy place I've seen, 

In equinoctial clime ; 
But there the rain came now and then, 

Here it rains all the time ! 


The camp-site for 1889 was situated at Bee- 
holm, at the Waterhead end of Lake Winder- 
mere, on the opposite shore to the landing place 
for Ambleside. The camping place was in a 
very pretty spot, on ground sloping down to the 
water, and well sheltered by lofty trees. The 
shore consisted of sharp stones, therefore small 
wooden piers were constructed in order to facili- 
tate the landing from and the embarking in the 
boats, and to afford a diving place for the morn- 
ing swim. The water of the lake is so cold that, 

Camping Out. 55 

on rising in the early morning, it took some time 
to determine whether it was not 'altogether too 
chilly this morning for a bath/ or whether one 
had not 'got a bit of a cold coming on,' or 
whether a swim on an empty stomach was not a 
bad thing in general, and this morning in par- 
ticular. Now, when there was, in addition to the 
anticipated shock, a painful limp over stones all 
carefully arranged by a painstaking dispensation, 
with the points up, while the cold water crept 
slowly up one's shivering frame, the odds were 
against the bath ; the result being that one went 
about all day with that feeling of a cowardly 
dereliction of duty, which seems to generally 
haunt the Briton who has omitted his morning 
dip. After the stages were constructed, this slow 
wading into the element was unnecessary; it was 
much less excusable to funk ; the pyjamas were 
resolutely thrown off, a run down the plank 
taken, and, although the water was always 
"co-o-older than ever this morning, boys" ; still, 
each boy felt he would be disgraced before his 
conscience if he did not screw his courage to the 
sticking place and take the plunge. 

The Meet was fairly well attended ; several 

56 Camping Out. 

lady members lodged at Waterhead, or at Bee- 
holm Farm ; two of these were brides, one being 
on her honeymoon. There is always a funny 
man in camp, so of course these poor creatures 
were told that they had come to the camp in 
the search for ' canoebial ' bliss. 

The canoes were unloaded from the trains at 
Lakeside, and, as the camp was at the other end 
of the lake, it was necessary to sail or paddle 
them thereto. 

The farm at Beeholm supplied dairy produce ; 
for other stores Ambleside was very convenient, 
and, the Association having rented a big row- 
boat, the camp attendant was able to bring stores, 
letters, and whatever else was required, across 
from the village to the camp. 

The view from the camp was a lovely one, in- 
cluding the Langdale Pikes and other hills ; 
Waterhead, with Mr. Mclver's seat and landing 
place ; and, further down the lake, Lowood, be- 
loved of the newly wed. 

Although there were one or two very fine days 
during the fortnight, still on many of the days the 
Lake District upheld its character for ' heavy wet.' 
There was too much weather about, and the rain 

Camping Out. 57 

was " frequent and painful and free," as was the 
language in which it was discussed, or merely 
4 cussed.' 

Fortunately, the very finest day of the meet 
favoured the coaching expedition. A coach was 
chartered for a drive to Keswick ; the previous 
rain had laid the dust, and, the day being glori- 
ously fine, the drive through much of the loveliest 
part of the Lake District was thoroughly enjoyed. 
It was a very pretty sight to see the fleet sailing 
over to Waterhead to join the coach at the 
Waterhead Hotel. The club flag was hoisted 
behind the coach, and the language, of course, 
was nautical. The driver never rightly under- 
stood how to port or starboard his horses when 
requested so to do, and it took some time to 
induce him to stop by the command to 'cast 
anchor.' It is very probable that he considered 
us quite a new variety of lunatics ; for the long- 
shore loafer, with his mouth full of nautical terms, 
is not so common an object at the Lakes as at 
the seaside. He was perhaps more accustomed 
to discordant noise such as the din we succeeded 
in making with his coach-horn ; for it is probable 
that, by practising on this instrument in turns, 

58 Camping Out. 

and assisting it by a sixpenny trumpet, we estab- 
lished a record in the district After an enjoyable 
drive through lovely scenery, a luxurious meal 
was provided at the Royal Oak at Keswick ; 
after which the company strolled about the 
neighbourhood ; many devoting their energies 
to buying Keswick lead pencils with the names 
of the purchaser, or of friends at home, stamped 

Sing-songs were held in the camp on several 
evenings, banjos and good voices being at com- 
mand. There was a piano in the committee 
marquee, and two concerts were carried out, to 
one of which visitors from the neighbourhood 
were invited ; a creditable vocal and instrumental 
performance resulted, which earned the com- 
mendation of the local press. After the concert, 
one of the brides presented the little flags won 
in the races which had been held ; for, although 
racing is not regarded as a feature of these meets, 
a few had been arranged and carried out. 

Two evenings were enlivened by lantern-slide 
exhibitions of canoeing cruises, held in the mar- 

On one evening a convivial supper of the 

Camping Out. 59 

members and their friends was discussed at the 
Waterhead Hotel ; after this the boats were 
illuminated by Chinese lanterns, and were pad- 
dled and sailed about the lake between the camp 
and Ambleside. A very pretty effect was pro- 
duced, and was witnessed by large numbers of 
people from the neighbourhood. Processions in 
line and in file were carried out, the evolutions 
ending in a mass meeting in the centre of this 
end of the lake, and here songs and choruses 
took place, after which the lamplighted boaties 
returned to camp. 

At the annual meeting of the Association, Mr. 
R. M. Richardson was elected Vice-Commodore ; 
and various places for next year's meet were 
discussed. After the meeting the members were 
photographed in group for the new Year-Book. 

When the time came for our pleasant camp to 
break up, it was agreed that such gatherings 
were the best way to spend one's holidays, and 
with Black-eyed Susan we cried : 

" We only part to meet again." 



" A wet sheet and a flowing sea, 

A wind that follows fast, 
And fills the white and rustling sail, 
And bends the gallant mast." 


For the fourth inter-club meet, and the third 
of the British Canoe Association, Falmouth was 
selected by the votes of the constituency ; the 
other places submitted for consideration by the 
management having been Holland and Lough 

A better choice than this magnificent harbour 
could not have been made, and the meeting was 
a success in every way. 

The camp field was situated at Pencarrow 
Point, on the outer harbour, about a mile and a 
half from Falmouth town by water, and about the 
same distance from Flushing by the road, from 
which village there is a ferry across the inner 

Camping Out. 6r 

harbour to Falmouth. The postal address was 
Mylor ; the camp being situated at the mouth of 
Mylor Creek, and near the parish church. Stores 
and other necessaries could readily be obtained 
from Falmouth by road or water ; while a farm 
close by supplied the campers with dairy and 
farm produce. The camp was situated near the 
shore station and recreation grounds of the train- 
ing ship Ganges, and to the officers of this ship 
the Association became much indebted for the 
loan of water-breakers, forms, tables, etc., as well 
as for their presence at some of the camp festivi- 
ties, and, with their ladies, for their patronage of 
the club concert. Several campers had the 
advantage of inspecting the Ganges, and of at- 
tending the Sunday services on that vessel. 

The meet was favoured with beautiful weather. 
Good breezes were the rule, and capital sailing 
was possible every day, although towards the 
end of the fortnight there was just a shade too 
much weight in the wind for the smaller boats. 

The Liverpool contingent and their boats 
journeyed to Falmouth by water, being shipped 
on board the Mary Hough, in the Trafalgar 
Dock, on Saturday, July 26th. After a pleasant 

62 Camping Out. 

voyage Falmouth was reached early on the 
Monday morning, the boats were slung over the 
ship's side into the harbour, and sailed, rowed, or 
paddled to the site of the camp ; extra stores, 
gear, and luggage being transported on a ' quay 
punt,' as a variety of sailing craft is called in this 

On arriving in view of the camp, one of us 
remembered having read in a guide-book that 
the water of Falmouth Harbour is pleasantly 
warm. He stated this as a fact to his com- 
panions, so, although it was very early in the 
morning, overboard some of us went. Possibly 
the lively anticipation of something of the nature 
of a hot bath caused the shock to be more felt 
than would otherwise have been the case ; any- 
way the writer had not reached the surface after 
the plunge before he had thoroughly made up 
his mind to slay the pretended friend whose 
misrepresentations had induced the performance. 
This individual's head was also above the surface, 
and was also gasping for breath ; his evident 
consternation assisted him to shift responsibility 
on to the guide-book, but not until the dispute 
had rendered us all pleasantly warm. The sea 

Camping Out. 63 

is not so tepid at Falmouth in summer as one 
would expect from its geographical position. 
Nevertheless, very few of the campers omitted 
the morning swim. In the shallower waters of 
the roadstead, slimy filaments of seaweed, many 
yards long, are so abundant as to interfere with 

the comfort and even the safety of the swim. 
Near the camp shore, however, this weed was 
fortunately less plentiful. For anyone who ob- 
jected to wade down the pebbly beach, a good 
dive could be got from the quay wall at Pencar- 
row Point, or from the top of the house-boat 
moored opposite the camp. One bright morning 

Camping Out. 65 

the writer took his hand-camera and photographed 
some of the men in the air as they dived from 
the quay. 

It is not intended to give any detailed descrip- 
tion of the doings at the camp, or of the scenery 
of the neighbourhood ; but merely to refer shortly 
to the more prominent occurrences. 

On arrival at the camp it was found that the 
London men had already pitched their tents ; 
that the committee tent was up ; and the piano 
hourly and anxiously expected. During the 
first day we Mersey men pitched our tents, rigged 
our boats, and got generally fitted up for a fort- 
night's gipsy life. 

The camp was prettily situated in a field facing 
the Carrick Roads. In this enclosure there were 
eventually over twenty tents erected, besides the 
commodious committee marquee. A tall flag pole 
was raised in the centre of the field, and from it 
waved the Association's blue and white burgee. 

Along the sea front of the field were ranged 
the Mersey tents, nine in number. This was 
dubbed Mersey Row, and, as the various tents 
had fancy names on painted signs, communica- 
tions could be addressed to Lilyshaven, Tavies- 

66 Camping Out 

holm, Wolfsden, or the Pocket - handkerchief 
Mersey Row, B.C.A. Camp, Mylor. 

At the top of the field, furthest from the shore, 
were four prettily-decorated tents ; these were 
the married quarters, although only one lady 
actually slept in camp. In all there were 48 
members present at the meet, including six of 
the fair sex ; while there were over thirty boats 
belonging to members. The open character of 
the sailing ground probably accounted for the 
large proportion of canoe yawls present, for of 
these there were a dozen. In addition, there were 
a yacht, a house-boat, and a rowing boat, the 
remainder being canoes. Three men lived on 
the house-boat, the crews of two of the yawls 
slept on their boats, two or three men with 
families slept in Falmouth or at the farm, the 
others lived in the camp. Three of the canoes 
were of the Canadian pattern, and weatherly 
little boats they proved with their centre-boards 
and drop-rudders. 

The regatta of the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club 
took place a day or two after our arrival, and the 
Committee arranged a race for canoe yawls. 
Seven of these craft started, and a very interest- 

68 Camping Out. 

ing race resulted. The writer sailed his new 
canoe yawl the Tavie in this race, so will give 
a short account of the affair from his point of 
view. The Tavie is of the class called Mersey 
Sailing Canoes she is 17 feet 6 inches long, 
4 feet 7 inches beam, I foot 9 inches gunwale to 
garboard, with a centre-board dropping i foot 
6 inches ; she carried main and mizzen rig on this 
occasion ; but for light winds she has a larger 
mainsail, carries a jib, and discards the mizzen. 
There was a strong breeze blowing into the har- 
bour, and, while sailing about before the start, 
our mainsail had been close-reefed. Having 
noticed the Vital Spark, a larger boat with a 
heavy lead keel, put her gunwale under in some 
of the puffs, we at first only ventured to shake out 
one reef. Relying, however, on our crew of three 
heavy-weights, we shook out the reef just before 
our first gun. While we were waiting for our start- 
ing gun, the racing yachts came back into the 
harbour for their first time round the course, the 
renowned ' Thistle ' leading the fleet. She came 
tearing into the harbour before the wind, and as 
she rounded Pendennis Point her spinnaker was 
handed, and a row of men along the weather 

Camping Out. 69 


gunwale tailed on to the mainsheet in a line, and 
got into swing for running it in. A grand sight 
she was as she cut round the Committee mark- 
boat, bursting up a hissing wave from her bow 
as she came on the wind, for her reach out to 
sea on the final round. She formed a vision of 
speed and beauty, and of smart yachtmanship, 
we shall never forget While admiring her, and 
keeping out of the way of her competitors, we 
heard our first gun. The five minutes' interval 
between the guns was filled with as much interest 
and manoeuvring as if we had been all clipper 
yachts. The Tavie got off with a good lead, 
Vital Spark being second. It was first a long 
and a short leg among the shipping in the inner 
harbour, to a buoy moored opposite the Royal 
Cornwall Yacht Club. Just after rounding this 
the Tavie was passed by the Vital Spark and a 
yawl with green sails ; on the reach out to the 
Chequer-buoy these boats increased their lead, 
while the Doris, Queenie, and Cacique closed up 
on us. By the manner in which we heeled over 
as we got into the open water and the breeze 
outside the harbour, we began to funk the ap- 
proaching gybe, and to be sorry we had taken 

70 Camping Out. 

out that last reef. The manner in which our 
green-sailed rival gybed was anything but re- 
assuring ; she lurched over, took in a lot of the 
briny, and wobbled a moment or two, then came 
on the wind, and fouled the buoy ; so her crew 
dropped sail, bailed, and returned to the harbour. 
A moment later our boom was over, and we were 
tearing along before the wind for the training 
ship Ganges, with the Vital Spark a-head, and 
the Doris and Queenie alongside. And now be- 
fore the seas we rolled badly, our boom lifting 
and occasionally dipping in the waves ; so we 
made bad weather of it, and got to leeward of 
Doris and Queenie, the former being also a-head 
of us. By putting the boat-hook on the boom, 
and seating two of the crew on it, we steadied 
ourselves ; and, sailing by the lee, we managed to 
be second round the Ganges. From thence to 
the flag-ship it was a dead beat to windward, 
during which we dropped the Doris, and were 
hunted home by the Queenie. We finished some 
minutes behind the Vital Spark Queenie third, 
Cacique fourth, Doris fifth : the first three in 
being the prize-winners. It was interesting in 
the evening to sail about the harbour, and to in- 

Camping Out. 71 

spect the racing yachts at anchor ; some of them 
flying winning-flags, and all being things of 
beauty ; and it was pleasant to sit in the parlour 
of the Greenbank Hotel, sipping shandy-gaff, 
watching the frou-frou of a regatta evening in 
the harbour, and talking over the day's events. 


At Mylor Regatta, a few days later, there was 
also a race for canoe yawls. At high water this 
creek is a lovely and extensive sheet of water, 
and on ariving at its head we found quite a lively 
water picnic going on. There was a band upon 

72 Camping Out. 

the Committee mark-boat, well practised up in 
* See the Conquering Hero ; ' crowds of rowing 
boats were splashing about, and the banks were 
crowded with holiday folk. The weather was 
bright and warm, and the music, the gay colours 
of the ladies' attire, the white sails of the boats 
and yachts, contributed to a pretty picture, not 
unlike a miniature edition of the famous Henley 
Regatta. Besides the sailing races, there were 
rowing contests and a canoe paddling race. The 
course for the canoe yawl race was down the creek 
and out round a buoy in the harbour, back up the 
creek and round the flag-ship twice round. As 
regards the race itself, it may be shortly described 
as Snake first, the rest nowhere. This wonderful 
little canoe yawl from Oxford was just suited by 
the smooth water, and the constant tacking up 
the narrow channel. It was a pity she did not 
arrive in time for the Royal Cornwall Regatta, 
as it would have been interesting to compare her 
performance in the lumpier water and stiffer 
breeze, and with the longer boards of that day. 
It is probable that there also she would have made 
an example of the rest of our canoe yawl fleet, 
for later on, after the camp had broken up, she 

Camping Out. 73 

beat the famous Mosquito Yacht Fleet 40 
minutes on a 2O-mile course in a strong breeze, 
at Falmouth Town Regatta. 

During the fortnight in camp, only two of the 
expeditions carried out were arranged for by the 
officers of the Association the coach ride to the 
Lizard, and the voyage to the Helford River. For 
the other cruises members were left to make their 
own arrangements, to go alone, or in small fleets, 
or not at all, as they willed. There being such 
different classes of boat present rendered it diffi- 
cult to make distant expeditions to suit every 
kind of craft ; especially as the British canoeist 
is jealous to resent the least appearance of " boss- 
ing." Nevertheless the writer feels that it might 
have been better to have endeavoured to persuade 
all in camp to join in more expeditions than was 
done. By so doing the habits of loafing around 
the tents or sailing about just opposite the camp 
might have been combated ; as might the tempta- 
tion to sail round Trefusis Point into the inner 
harbour, moor at the Greenbank quay, and sit in 
the cosy parlour of that hostelry looking out on 
the busy Venice-like scene in the haven, smoking 
and lazying the happy hours away mea culpa, 

Camping Out. 75 

mea magna culpa ! True, canoeists are at these 
meetings in search of recreation, and, no doubt, 
there is plenty of rest and repose in such a life ; 
but it is just a little stagnant, and afterwards 
there is a sense of not having made the most of 
one's opportunities. Like the Lazy Minstrel at 
Streatley, we used to 

" Sit and lounge here on the grass, 
And watch the river traffic pass." 

And could sympathize with him when he sings : 

" Upon the winding Thames you gaze, 

And though the view's beyond all praise, 
I'd rather much sit here and laze, 
Than scale the Hill at Streatley." 

It Is in vain for Commodores and Secretaries 
to urge energy, and to enumerate the views that 
ought to be seen, and the places that should be 
' done.' The lazy laureate of the Thames should 
have been made a life member of the B.C.A. for 
writing that verse : 

" And when you're here, I'm told that you 
Should mount the Hill and see the view ; 
And gaze and wonder, if you'd do 
Its merits most completely : 

76 Camping Out. 

The air is clear, the day is fine, 
The prospect is, I know, divine 
But most distinctly I decline 

To climb the Hill at Streatley." 

Of a large proportion of the men in camp it 
might have been said, just as truly as of the 
House of Peers : They " did nothing in particu- 
lar, and did it very well." 

However, the majority joined the expedition 
to the Helford River. This creek is some dis- 
tance outside the harbour, across Falmouth Bay. 
The Naval Manoeuvres had commenced, and a 
fleet was anchored in the bay. We spent the 
morning sailing round these kettles, longing for 
an invitation aboard, which we did not get. 
About mid-day the breeze died away to a flat 
calm, so some of us had a swim, others a doze. 
Soon a smart breeze sprang up, and off we sped 
to Helford. We landed at Durgan to refresh ; 
there we met the skipper of the Snake, and he 
offered the writer a passage back on that curiously 
designed little ship. During this sail we ex- 
perienced how swift and stiff this little boat is ; 
and, oh ! how very wet ! 

One of the charming features of boating at 

Camping Out, 77 

Falmouth is the number of lovely creeks opening 
out of the harbour in various directions. Most 
of them were explored by us, especially those of 
Mylor, St. Just, St. Mawes, and Penryn. 

The Fal River resembles rather a creek or 
arm of the sea than a river, and is navigable up 
to Malpas at all times of the tide ; and, when 
the tide is up, for some two miles further to the 
important city of Truro. Four of us had a very 
jolly day up this river in the Tame t being fortu- 
nately able to go the whole distance to Truro 
and back under sail. With the flood tide under 
us, and a fair wind, we ran up to Malpas, and 
were entranced with the beauties of King Harry's 
Passage and Lord Falmouth's lovely seat 
Tregothnan and with the well-wooded banks 
of the river, and of the pretty creeks opening 
out of the main stream. On reaching Malpas 
we found that we had over-run the tide, and so 
the channel hence to Truro was between slightly 
submerged mud-banks, and the navigation there- 
fore difficult. On a rising tide, however, a run 
aground on mud is a temporary inconvenience, 
and by the help of sailing directions from men 
unloading timber from barges at the little quays 


78 Camping Out. 

on the banks, we managed to get very early on 
the tide to Truro. These directions were fre- 
quently both complicated and amusing. One, 
we remember, was : " Keep the door of the 
office on this quay dead astern until you get the 
two gates in the big field opposite in a line, then 
come sharp round and head for the middle arch 
of the railway bridge." Sure enough this course 
carried us up a channel, with only a few inches 
depth of water on each side of us. At high 
water the river from Malpas to Truro forms a 
pretty and extensive sheet of water, navigable to 
barges ; at low tide there is merely a shallow 
stream winding through mud-flats. Clever as 
we were in getting to Truro so early on the tide, 
we were only a minute or two ahead of the little 
passenger steamer which, in a marvellous manner, 
worms her way through the intricacies of the 
passage up to Truro and back to Falmouth. 

Soon after we had tied up near Truro Bridge, 
the canoe yawl Queenie and two or three canoes 
arrived. We landed and explored the city, and 
laid in a store of fresh fruit. The writer had 
spent some of his early youth in Truro, and ex- 
perienced the pleasure of revisiting, and recogniz- 

Camping Out. 79 

ing places he had not seen for over 20 years. 
He led his friends about to see where he had 
formerly lived where he had fallen in the ' leats ' 
where he had fought and been thrashed by the 
grocer's boy, and where the village idiot used to 
stand ; he would have dragged them off to view 
the farm where he had seen a pig killed, had 
they not betrayed a preference for a visit to the 
Cathedral. Everything appeared just as he had 
left it in this pleasant, stagnant little city ; 
nothing seemed to have been pulled down in the 
quarter of a century, little besides the Cathedral 
erected. Since the decline in the mining value 
of the neighbourhood, and the silting up of the 
river, this, the chief city of the county, has 
diminished in importance, and would probably 
have still further declined, but for the stimulus 
of the new Bishopric and its interests. Were 
the river channel efficiently dredged out, com- 
merce and wealth might again return. Familiar 
as the river and city were to the writer, he made 
the common experience how much less in size 
and importance things really are than they 
appear in the memory, however vivid, retained 
from boyhood long ago. This disproportion is 

8o Camping Out. 

probably due to the lack of objects of comparison 
in the experience of childhood. True, Landor's 
monument is high, but not so "blooming" high 
as a countryman described it ; Lemon Street is 
steep, certainly, but not all that steep, though 
the Lemon Street of memory is like the side of 
a house. This must be the house in which we 
lived ; but, bless my soul ! how it has shrivelled ! 
Why, our despised and economical lodgings at 
home are more imposing ; those leats are not 
the broad, clear streams we have portrayed to 
our acquaintance ; this river is not the broad, 
clear expanse we have described to envious 
schoolmates. Distance has not only lent en- 
chantment to the view, but, strange to say, 
magnitude as well. We once witnessed a dive 
from the Town Bridge into the tide below, and 
thought the dive a marvel ; since then, whenever 
Tommy Burns, or other modern bridge jumper, 
has been referred to, we have instanced this hero 
of "when we were boys." . Can this be the bridge? 
Why, were the river but as clean as years ago, 
we'd do the deed ourselves, and ask no bribe. 
While others sought the Cathedral we wandered 
off to the barber's shop in the market place, 

Camping Out. Si 

where our childhood's hair had been cut. Joy ! 
the barber with the funny name was still alive. 
We entered, and, for old time's sake, waited while 
he finished his lunch and another customer, just 
to have him cut our hair again (it did not want 
cutting, and, alas ! there's less of it to cut). Art- 
fully we led the conversation back to years ago ; 
the old man thought he remembered us, probably 
in compliment to our evident expectation that the 
whole population of the place had followed our 
subsequent career with pride. Relatives and 
friends, however, he could talk to us about, and 
had heard that some of us were ' doing well ' in 
London and Liverpool. To ' do well,' alas ! 
Truro's sons must leave their lovely, sleepy, 
dwindling native place. We too soon found that, 
to do well, the quicker we did the same ourselves 
the better, for the tide was falling. Once, when 
a boy, our boat had stuck in the mud of the river 
and been left by the tide, and one such experience 
will last an ordinary lifetime, if economically 
used. After a few exciting stick-in-the-muds, 
we reached Malpas in safety. From there the 
breeze was right ahead, and came in knock- 
down puffs round corners, and through gaps 
in the woods on the banks. 

82 Camping Out. 

A lot of patient tacking was necessary to get 
out of the river, but there was too much incident 
in the proceedings for this to be at all monoton- 
ous. One moment we would be laughing over an 
anecdote, while the sail flapped idly, the next 
four anxious faces would be observing the centre- 
board from the vantage point of the windward 
coaming. From Trelissick Point, however, a true 
wind and a long board put us in position to lay 
our moorings. 

Falmouth town was quite a short sail or paddle 
from our camp, and an interesting place we found 
it, with its long street running parallel to the 
busy inner roadstead. It reminded us strongly 
of several little towns we know on the Riviera. 

The Camp Committee made a new departure, 
by arranging for camp dinners in the evening in 
the large tent. These were much appreciated 
by those too late, too tired, or too lazy to prepare 
their own meal. On several evenings a few de- 
generate campers dined at the Greenbank ; this 
unworthy proceeding so sapped the moral nature 
that, facilis decensus, one of them remained there 
to sleep. 

Fishermen visited the camp with freshly caught 

Camping Out. 83 

fish, very welcome for breakfast as rivals to the 
popular kipper. Had time allowed we might 
have supplied ourselves with fish, for shoals of 
mackerel were in the harbour all the time. Al- 
though more familiar with the paddle and the 
tiller than with the cricket bat, eleven of us 
accepted the challenge from the Ganges to a 
cricket match. The boys won, but the canoedlers 
were not disgraced. 

One day was devoted to a united driving ex- 
cursion to the Lizard. After the famed rocks 
and lighthouses had been inspected, and seven 
amateur photographers had eased their minds 
by the exposure of all the plates they had with 
them, a capital meal was discussed at the Lizard 

The camp created much interest in Falmouth 
and the neighbourhood, and was visited by a 
good many people. A successful concert was 
held in the committee tent one evening, to 
which visitors were invited ; after this the camp 
was illuminated, and the camp band rendered 
night hideous. This band was enrolled early in 
the meet ; it was chiefly remarkable for the dis- 
cordancy of its performance, and the extra- 

8 4 

Camping Out. 

ordinary attire of the performers. The chief 
instruments were a fog-horn, a gong, a toy 
trumpet, and a drum, and, for the uniform, hat 
shops and millinery establishments had been 
ransacked at Falmouth. Early in its career this 
band developed symptoms of taking upon itself 
the duty of securing early rising in camp ; but 
remonstrances, in the form of strong language 
and weighty missiles, on the part of those dis- 
turbed, induced the musicians to confine their 
attentions to an after breakfast parade. 


Camping Out. 85 

On one evening the popular B.C.A. Secretary 
and Mrs. Nisbet gave a reception in the com- 
mittee tent. The dressing for this function 
afforded some amusement ; for, as visitors and 
ladies were to be present, a toilette was essential. 
Chins, which for days had grown more and more 
stubbly, were sacred from the razor no longer, 
but were painfully rasped by candle light. The 
clothes of civilization were unearthed from bags 
and boxes ; until, by a system of mutual accom- 
modation in the way of coats, collars, watch- 
guards, etc., a more or less respectable appearance 
was the general result. An enjoyable evening 
was spent, and, after the ladies had retired, a 
noisy sing-song was continued into the "wee 
sma' hours " beyond the twelfth. 

From the farm, milk, eggs, and butter were 
obtained. Junkets and Cornish cream were 
consumed in such quantities as to prove that 
canoeists do not possess livers, or have unlimited 
faith in the healthiness of their out-door life, or 
the skill of their family doctors. 

No accident of any importance occurred during 
the meet, although three upsets in sailing canoes 
took place. Two of these were due to ' pressing,' 


Camping Out. 

and were not unexpected ; the third was of an 
amusing nature. A new member, desiring a 
picture of his canoe in full trim, for exhibition to 
the friends at home, induced a comrade to go 
out in a punt with a camera, in order to take a 
photograph of the canoe as it was sailed past. 
After getting everything ship-shape, and having 
manoeuvred into position, our neophyte's anxiety 
to get both ship and crew on to the negative 
directed his attention from the necessary balanc- 
ing, and over went the whole concern. A photo- 
graph of this catastrophe was all his friend 

Camping Out. 87 

obtained for him on this occasion, and it is 
doubtful whether that will be exhibited to the 
" old folks at home." 

The piano in the committee tent was in fre- 
quent request. The B.C. A. is rich in musical 
talent, instrumental and vocal, and the ladies 
were always kind in the matter of accompani- 
ments. Perhaps the most popular song was 
' The Agricultural Irish Girl ' ; its refrain might 
be heard in the distance as wandering canoeists 
strolled back to camp. In fact this song became 
a kind of B.C. A. National Anthem ; at all periods 
of the day the virtues and charms of the Irish 
Girl were chanted ; and her memory beguiled 
the toilsome return to camp by road or water, 
when, but for it, tired arms and legs would have 
felt still more weary. 

The annual meeting of the B.C. A. was held on 
the 4th of August in the committee tent. Rob 
Roy Macgregor was re-elected Commodore, and 
Mr. H. Wilmer, R.C.C., Vice-Commodore ; while 
Mr. Percy Nisbet could not resist the unanimous 
request that he should continue the B.C.A. Secre- 
tary and Treasurer. 

Take it all in all, the B.C.A. meet of 1890 was 

88 Camping Out. 

a success which will long be remembered by 
those present A jolly set of fellows assembled, 
who fraternized cordially, and who, it is to be 
hoped, will meet again in 1891. 

Thus ends my short account of two holidays 
with the British Canoe Association. If it induce 
one good fellow to join our cruises, he will never 
regret it ; and if it serve to recall happy days to 
old members, the writer will not regret his trouble. 

Many a time at the camp sing-songs have we 
enjoyed the Eton Boating Song trolled forth by 
our genial Secretary ; many a time, as we paddled 
or sailed back in the dark to our lamplighted, 
home-like little camp, have we joined in the 
chorus. With the sentiment thereof I close this 
humble account of boating holidays with the 
B.C.A., in the hope that 

" Nothing in life shall sever 
The ties that unite us now." 



" To hold, as 'twere, the mirror up to nature." 

To canoeists, and boating men generally, 
photography supplies the one thing needful to 
make their sport the most fascinating of any 
under the sun, by enabling them to secure per- 
manent pictures of scenes and events, to be en- 
joyed at times and seasons when, in this country 
at least, it is impossible to pursue the pastime 

The canoeist visits scenes in river valleys rarely 
visited by any other than an occasional fisherman ; 

9O Camping Out, 

in such valleys he finds scenery more lovely than 
any on the roads and highways of more general 
resort. Few are gifted with the artist's skill, but 
all may cultivate the artistic sense to detect 
what will make a good picture, and anyone may 
readily master the chemical and mechanical 
details of the photography-made-easy of the 
present day. The artist has the advantage in 
the matter of colour ; but the canoeist has seldom 
time to spend in the production of painted 
pictures, and, as a photographer, he has the great 
advantage of being able to prepare lantern-slides 
from his negatives. These enable him, on winter 
evenings, to sail his cruises o'er again, to picture 
his travels to friends and brother canoeists, to 
enliven the camp-fire, and to illustrate his enter- 
taining descriptions of adventures by flood and 
field. By this means he may kindle others with 
the desire for similar voyages. The writer, an 
ardent canoeist, but an indifferent photographer, 
rejoices to know that, to lantern-slide exhibitions 
of past cruises he has made, more than one 
vigorous canoeist of to-day owes his first attraction 
to the sport. All enthusiastic canoeists marvel 
why everybody does not canoe, and are eager for 

Camping Out. 91 

others to participate in the delights the sport 
affords ; and we believe that lantern-slide exhibi- 
tions are amongst the best recruiting means that 
could be adopted by the clubs. 

The hand camera, the so-called detective, is 
particularly suitable for the canoeist. It need 
be of but small weight and bulk ; it is simple and 
inexpensive. It is, of course, impossible with 
the hand camera to take pictures equally good, 
from an artistic point of view, as those which may 
be taken with the stand camera ; but, in canoeing, 
incidents are constantly occurring for the record 
of which the stand camera is useless ; moving 

' O 

scenes and objects appear, and, long before the 
stand camera could be ready, the opportunity to 
fix them is past. A small hand camera can be 
kept safe and dry in the smallest of Rob Roys, 
and is pre-eminently the camera for a canoeist. 

It may be thought that no eulogy of photo- 
graphy for the canoeist's purposes is called for 
in these days when nearly everybody photographs, 
and when the term ' amateur photographer ' 
generally has the adjective 'ubiquitous' attached 
thereto ; but it is to indicate the special suitability 
to the canoeist of the detective camera that this 

92 Camping Out 

chapter is written. This camera does not advertise 
its presence by standing obtrusively on three legs, 
and so often attracting an inquisitive and insult- 
ing group of passers by ; it may resemble an 
innocent bag or basket externally, and, even in 
crowded thoroughfares, may pursue its task un- 
noticed. The amateur who uses the ordinary 
stand camera is a familiar object. We see him 
strolling about our city streets or country lanes, 
laden like a pack-horse, gazing up at the windows 
and roofs of the buildings like a glazier on the 
look-out for a job. When he gets a view which 
he considers suitable for distortion, he proceeds 
to unload himself of his paraphernalia, revealing 
stools and bags, instruments of various kinds, and 
a series of things like fishing-rods. After he has 
scattered apparatus all over the roadway, he pro- 
ceeds, with infinite trouble, to fit things together. 
Generally he has forgotten how to do it, or has 
left some indispensable portion of the machinery 
at home ; but sometimes he gets the concern put 
together eventually, after collecting a mob of 
errand boys and other loafers, and engaging the 
suspicious attention of the policeman on the 
beat. Of course he is under a constant fire of 

Camping Out. 93 

chaff, and is told to "Mind and get me in, mister;" 
but he endeavours to display himself oblivious to 
all this, and, with a far-away gaze at the desired 
object, he goes through a conjuring performance 
under a black duster. His expression of intent 
suspense gives way to one of relief, and he either 
laboriously takes the concern to pieces again, and 
loses part of it, or he staggers along with it all 
standing like the proprietor of a Punch-and-Judy 
Show, and accompanied by a similar retinue, to 
some other point of vantage. At last he is satis- 
fied, and marches off with something in his box to 
inflict upon his friends ; probably with a portrait 
of some inquisitive urchin's head occupying most 
of the foreground. 

So cumbersome is the apparatus for any but 
the smallest pictures, as to lead sometimes to 
amusing misunderstandings. It is told of a 
canoeist that, desiring a morning effect, he left 
camp early with his camera for a neighbouring 
village. Here he began to erect his tripod. A 
rustic inhabitant watched the proceedings with 
interest for a while, and then ventured the re- 
mark : " You bees rayther early, mister." " Not 
so very," replied the photographer, " it's past nine 

94 Camping Out. 

o'clock." "Aye, aye," continued chawbacon, 
"just so, but I mean you bees rayther earlier 
than t'others. Fair don't begin till Toosday." 
Now the proprietor of a detective camera escapes 
all this trouble and publicity ; his apparatus is 
simple and unostentatious. The modern hand- 
camera is a most ingenious construction. It is 
small, light, and simple. It contains everything 
required for taking good photographs within 
itself, and nothing is loose, so as to be lost or 
forgotten. The sensitive plates are contained 
within the camera itself, and as many as fifty or 
more pictures may be taken without opening the 
box. Its use is simple, and easily learned ; in 
fact, with diy plates and a hand-camera, photo- 
graphy is almost as easy as the proverbial falling 
off a log. The hand-camera has its own peculiar 
faults, nevertheless. For one thing, it is not 
suitable for portrait taking ; but this may be 
almost reckoned a virtue. For sea and landscapes, 
as well as for instantaneous work, amateurs can 
confidently compete with professionals ; but the 
portraits of the former, even with stand-cameras, 
are commonly libellous. Ghastly distortions of 
one's external appearance are produced by them, 

Camping Out. 95 

and we are assured they are excellent likenesses. 
To have a friend take to portraiture is the next 
worst thing to having him take up the fiddle. 

The secret method of working, too, on the part 
of the hand-camera, has led to some unpopularity 
with regard to its advent in general society. To 
one who is not always prepared to have each 
deed he performs published, the detective camera 
is a foe artful and not insignificant. It can 
assume the disguise of an innocent travelling- 
bag, a hat-box, or lunch basket It may imitate 
any harmless object, and no one is safe from its 
searching eye and its recording retina. There 
is no other warning than the click of the shutter, 
and that occurs too late for prevention ; but just 
in time to tell us that, in imperishable gelatine, 
our absurd or ill deed is registered ; the image 
of which, developed in darkness or by becomingly 
lurid light, and in a suitably odorous atmosphere, 
is unaffected by salt water, and so secure from 
the tear of the pitying recording angel. 

By the exercise of the secret, stealthy espionage 
of the detective camera, it is possible for the 
owner thereof to become as unpopular as a mad 
dog. If he photograph his best friend in the 

96 Camping Out. 

pursuit of his hat, there may be a coolness be- 
tween them for days ; if a picture of an aspiring 
oarsman be taken while the less interesting por- 
tion of his figure is in view as he catches a crab, 
the only way to prevent open hostilities is by 
promising to destroy the negative. If one photo- 
graph a lady in anything but her best clothes, 
or with her hair untidy, or running from a mouse 
or a cow, or anything undignified of that sort, 
he becomes a nasty mean thing right away. 
Should one, however, be so lucky as to get a 
shot at a couple of lovers 'carrying on,' his success 
is complete ; in one moment he can make two 
enemies for life. Let him beware of threatening 
to make a magic-lantern slide of the subject, and 
of exhibiting it to a party of mutual friends, 
unless he be big and strong, or very fleet of foot, 
such a proceeding may otherwise lead to great 
damage to person and camera. It is much 
better to walk on as if one had not noticed any- 

Photography is so easy now that few remember 
the trying circumstances of the old time wet 
plate photographer, " who used to go about with 
iodine stains on his fingers, and a perfect wealth 

Camping Out. 97 

of collodion perfume on the breeze about him. 
And yet he would voluntarily suffer ostracism 
from society, and lug about the country a pack 
as big as the effects of some prosperous old 
clothes merchant, all for the sake of the pastime 
he loved." A writer in an American paper 
thus amusingly describes the disadvantages he 
laboured under : " As soon as his plate was ex- 
posed, he had to rush it into his dark tent and 
develop it. He couldn't wait till he got home, 
and then get some good-natured professional to 
do it for him, but had to surround that dark 
tent right there on the spot, and develop the 
plate, and sometimes a case of galloping con- 
sumption, while the landscape waited to find if 
it was all right, or whether he would have to sit 
again. The dark tent was a curious affair. It 
looked something like an umbrella with a floor 
to it It had three orifices in the side, and the 
idea was for the photographer to stick his head 
in one and his hands in the others, and go on 
with his work secretly and, but for the all power- 
ful and ever present collodion, alone. It re- 
sembled the way the dentist worked on the 
Girton girl's teeth. The operator remained out- 

9-8 Camping Out. 

side, though most of the work was carried on far 
back in the interior. To an outsider the pho- 
tographer, in the full act of using his dark tent, 
resembled a man working a dress rehearsal of a 
Punch-and-Judy Show, with the curtain down. 
Now, if by a stretch of the imagination you can 
picture a Punch-and-Judy Show that had some 
minutes previously been rotten-egged, and then 
draw the analogy, you will have a pretty correct 
idea of the general appearance and perfume of 
the place. In this exposed position the pho- 
tographer was obliged to sit with his both hands 
muzzled, and his head handcuffed, while the 
neighbouring fields might be filled with billy- 
goats, or small boys with sling-shots. And 
could he stir ? No ; he could not so much as 
even budge without exposing his plate to the 
light, and himself to ridicule." 

Let us be thankful that we live in the days of 
dry plates and hand-cameras. 

I do not desire the canoeist to make an idol 
of his camera the canoe is a jealous mistress ; 
but a small camera can enhance the pleasure 
even of canoeing. 

True, photography is powerless to reproduce 

Camping Out. 99 

the colour, the movement, the life and atmo- 
sphere of a scene in any but a feeble manner ; 
no description can bring back the sensation of 
the breeze on the cheek, or the spray on the 
brow the sound of the rippling water at the bow, 
of the songs of the birds on the banks the glow 
of health and energy in the frame : for these it is 
necessary to go afloat on the lovely waters of our 
country, and to view nature with a lover's eye ; 
but some faint reminiscence of all these have we 
obtained many a time as, by our magic-lantern, 
we have recalled to " view each well-known 


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