I've always enjoyed watersports
and started sub-aqua after being inspired by Jacques
Cousteau in the days of
homemade wetsuits and twin hose diving regulators! From
my mid teens as a member of the BSAC West Lancs (Blackpool)
and latterly BSAC Hartford (Cheshire) I've had a keen
interest in underwater exploration. With some excellent
divers in the sport I've been lucky enough to extensively
dive the Scottish Northwest Coast.
From my 200 plus dives I have several memorable
Diving the underwater waterfall at
the Falls of Lora, near Oban, Argyleshire.
Crawling behind a boulder from a fishing
trawl, not wanting to be on the
slab at Malliag.
Being surround by a resting wild salmon
shoal in the freshwater pool at Devils Bridge.
During my diving period various quals, positions and
Chairman - Hartford BSAC Branch 522
Diving Officer - West Lancs BSAC
Advanced Diver BSAC
BSAC Livesaver Award
Marine Life Identification - University
Member of the Marine Conservation Society
Power boating, or more specifically rigid hull inflatable boats (RIBs) crept
up on me. My early introduction was through small inflatables such as
the Avon Redcrest which we used when diving offshore to ease the exhaustive
snorkel out and back from a deep water dive site. It did not take long before
the development of these types of craft led to attaching the inflatable tubes
onto a hard hull. Wow! These now became very useful boats especially due to
the very high power to weight ratio, and at that time low cost. Their inherent
stability and seaworthiness ensured that dive clubs (and the RNLI) clamoured
for them. Wreck diving took off in a big way, although personally I'm more
interested in rock and reef diving.
It was sometime a little later when I owned my own RIB
that events took a turn for excitement. To get the best
value for money the trick was to buy an inflatable boat.
My first, a 4.6m Avon (old stock, military spec), left
on the shelf in South Wales, and offered at a bargain
price, was soon delivered home and at 15ft fully inflated,
it just about left 3ft a side in our lounge for the family
to watch the television. Then much to the concern of
my better-half, albeit in the garage now, a 'stanley'
knife to remove the floor and the handsome transom before
having a hard hull grafted on to this wonderful craft.
Powerboating was to dominate my personal interest until
this day, and has a section dedicated on this website
Sailing has not really been at the same level of as
my diving or especially boating in rigid hull inflatable
It has however provided a more sedate and very enjoyable
approach to my general interest in the sea and especially
My first introduction to sailing was in my early twenties
when helping a work colleague complete the building
UFO 34 which was a homebuild version of the now famous
Oysters on the sailing scene. Trips to Piel Island
the Isle of Man and playing around Knot End were order
of the day. A memorable weeks trip on the Edwardian
yacht Voluta to dive the Isles of Scilly was quite
wooden boats and burley divers with their heavy diving
kit really don't go together!
Perhaps somewhere the Voluta voyage something subliminal
happened in that in later years letting my heart rule
over my head to come to the rescue of an old lady, 'Phyllis'
from a back yard on
There was something about her, so soon she was sky lifted
from beneath a tree and onto a low loader to a new home.
She stood around for many a day while I did this and
At last she was moved to a competent and professional
shipwright. And it was to prove that my attraction
had been for the race pedigree within her build. But
that's another story on this website about our ongoing
restoration of a grand old lady we still call Phyllis.
It's only latterly as a previous hectic pace of life
eases that I thought it was time to catch
more formal qualifications that are required to go to
sea in these enlightened times! Several RYA Courses have
been taken to at least have some paperwork for the evergrowing
Introduced to photography in my early years by my
father, it was a hobby that we shared together and
to process our own films and printed them cramped
in the cubby hole under the stairs, coming out with
clothes perfumed with the aromas of developer and
fixer! We also had a go at the more technical
demanding process of colour printing and joined the
respected Preston Scientific Society.
At 15 yrs old I enjoyed
my photography and documented those things that
young boys often
liked, trains, boats and planes.
Indeed at one point I was offered a trainee press photographer
the regional Lancashire Evening Post,
but was encouraged to take up my formal apprenticeship
offer. In my early twenties I also enjoyed following
the then RAC Rally and spent many a frosty night
in the forests of North Wales and North Yorkshire.
Today I'm just a 'happy snapper', especially with
digital photography making it all ever so simple.
I still enjoy my
pictures though, especially when I get one just right.
In addition to some organisations I've been directly
actively involved with I have also participated with
local groups helping to keep the community spirit alive.
Comberbach Village Fete Committee
Vale Royal Sports Council
Comberbach Mummers & Soulcakers
: website link