Unloading Bucks Mills.
An open edition giclee print. 22 x 14.5 inches approximately.
I painted this scene of the beach and cliffs at Bucks Mills from life then added the sailing smack and cart afterwards. My vantage point was on the rocks but I had to retreat up the beach each time the tide came in.
The smack is Lucy and was owned by the Cruse family in nearby Clovelly. She carried limestone and coal from Wales and then unloaded on the beach. If the tide came in before the cargo could be shifted off the beach it would be left and recovered on the next low tide. In order to get into the beach a channel had been blasted in the rocks, but still it took exceptional skill to regularly sail and take the ground on this rrocky shore.
There were a number of lime kilns along the coast and on the banks of the river Torridge. There are two massive kilns at Bucks Mills which resemble medieval fortifications. The lime was spread on the fields to correct the acidity in the soil and was also used for lime washing houses.
My painting was inspired by an inhabitant of Bucks Cross called Trevor Davey who had been the captain of sailing ketches, including the Irene. When I knew him he regularly fished from his clinker built dinghy in the sea off Bucks. He told me tales of sailing off this rugged shore and in the strong tides of the Bristol Channel.