A weekend away

Stock Ghyll

I was up at my mum's last weekend, along with my brother, sister and their families - 8 adults and 6 kids, so it was a full (and frantic) house. Mum lives in Ambleside in the Lake District, another of the UK's National Parks, and on Sunday we all wandered up Stock Ghyll with the kids in tow to look at the waterfall above. I was Googling to make sure I'd spelled it correctly, and I found this 1910 photograph taken from almost exactly the same spot as the one above. It's amazing how little it seems to have changed in nearly 100 years.

In the afternoon we went to my hometown Barrow-in-Furness and had a guided tour of HMS Cumberland, a Batch 3 Type 22 Frigate, which was in Barrow for Remembrance Sunday - my brother-in-law Dave is the Weapons Officer on the ship. As a consequence we got to see all the things on the ship that went pop, bang or whoosh. We also tried to persuade the kids that the helicopter was for purely used for collecting takeaway food orders for the crew, but I don't think they bought it. I think I probably enjoyed the visit more than the kids!

I've always had this romantic vision (garnered mainly from old B&W war movies I suspect) of the captain steaming into battle on the bridge, clad in his dufflecoat and with his binoculars around his neck. The truth is a little more prosaic. Dave took us into the command centre, a low-ceilinged windowless room entirely filled with various radar, sonar, missile system and computer screens. The captain "fights the ship" from the command centre, and the ship's systems are all controlled from in there. The 4.5" gun on the front is aimed with a very ordinary-looking joystick, and the gun is fired with something that looks for all the world like a sewing machine pedal. Even the sighting of the gun is done with various TV and IR systems. So much for the "Romance of the High Seas", we live truly in the Nintendo Age.

Categories : Personal, Family