Plymouth Sound Drakes Island. 'Montague and Armadillo.'
A limited edition giclee print of 495. 21.5 x 12 inches approximately.
It is March in the early 30s and a lively day in Plymouth Sound with a fresh breeze. A Royal Navy Montague Whaler is in its element slicing through the choppy seas of wind against tide, spray sluicing over the lea side, shortly they will harden up into the wind and beat up past Cremyll into the Hamoaze. Beyond them, under the craggy outcrop of Drake’s Island, is the newly completed Armadillo under steam, with the helmsman enjoying the full benefit of the elements, whilst his passengers exchange pleasantries in the relative shelter of the aft well deck.
In the 1890’s the Montague Whaler was adopted by the Royal Navy as a general purpose sea boat being named after Admiral Montague who was responsible for its development. Either 25 or 27ft long they were used throughout the fleet for more than 150 years. They were excellent sea boats and as lifeboats have made voyages of thousands of miles. Naturally the Navy raced them with ferocious competition between ships and shore bases for the trophy in the form of a cockerel, so that the winner could have the accolade of being called the “cock o’the fleet”
The Armadillo was built for the Mount Edgecombe Estate in 1926, to be used as a ferry between the Estate and Admiral’s Hard. It had a teak lined cabin for the family and upholstered seats, elsewhere were slatted seats for the general public, and the very same boat and the same seats are still in use today. Now renamed the Northern Belle, after more than 90 years she still plies her way between Admiral’s Hard and the Mount Edgecombe estate as the Cremyll Ferry.