Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Falmouth Maritime Museum

Have just had a mini break in Falmouth with my daughter. A magnet for me, unsurprisingly, was the National Maritime Museum Cornwall. Bank Holidays are probably not the best time to visit a place like this - I had to restrain myself from elbowing off some enthusiastic button-whacking (but inattentive) kids from various interactive exhibits. Of course, no queue to take photos of the old toys.

I was very excited to find this chart in the Lighthouse exhibit.
I gave the museum permission to use this in my last job. And everyone must read the Lighthouse Stevensons. Of all the places to try to build...

There were some fun navigation exhibits which encouraged visitors to use charts, met data etc to choose the safest and most efficient passage through an area. I wish I could transport this whole area to the Science Museum.

The polar exploration exhibition "On Thin Ice" was fine. Of course seeing anything re: Shackleton, Scott, Franklin etc is fab but I've read an awful lot around the subject so there was nothing new. I'm not complaining of course but I suspect I need a visit to SPRI next to sate my appetite.

I loved the tower which is built below the water line so you can see the tide come in and out.

I want one of these at home!

Aside from the maritime pull were a few benchmarks which I spotted. I earned brownie points from my daughter for not stopping and embarrassingly photographing them. Also spotted RFA Largs Bay alongside.

Walked up to Pendennis Head and spent a while checking out the iso light at St Anthony and other various navigation marks in the Fal. A spotters holiday eh?

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Back to Normality

Had a bit of ash cloud dodging earlier this as circa 7 us of tried to fly into Edinburgh for an RICS Global Geomatics Professional Group Board (GGPGB for those in the know wink). A great meeting on Thurs with international phone ins. Some of the new board members are absolute gems and I pale in the light of their experience and knowledge.

Apart from that my brother has been doing the geo geeking for me. He has just had a weekend in Canterbury and I asked him to find the BM on the cathedral. Alas it was mainly scaffolded up so he found me one on the Dane John mark.

I think he's humouring me...

Friday, 27 May 2011

How Short is a Flight?

After our runway discussions I happened to fall into a bar with similar surveyors who started discussing how short a flight was. Of course, we all know how short a flight is, with a paper aeroplane etc, but we were out numbered by one of our members who has flown from Kirkwall to Westray. A record 2 mins apparently. In my eyes this is hardly enough time to fasten your seatbelt!

The obvious contender is from Logan Air - Westray to Pape Westray of 2 mins too. Anything shorter readers? It has to be scheduled to count.

Friday, 20 May 2011

How Long is a Platform?

A surveying friend and myself found ourselves stuck at Taunton Railway Station on Monday. Our London train was cancelled and the subsequent one, 70 mins later, was 10 mins late. So we clocked up 80 mins sitting on Platform 5 of Taunton Railway Station which, I can assure you, was 79 mins too long. Ken, as ever, was witty company but I knew we were both totally bored when he piped up "this is a long platform - how many metres do you think it is?". This caused a chain of events to unfold which involved my train spotting brother.

It didn't take long before we found out that Taunton is a mere teenager in platform length - the Grandad of them all being Folkstone with 791m. Indeed, it is the longest platform in Europe.

My brother then got going and my inbox is now full of facts and figures.

Did you know that the longest platform on the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) was Canary Wharf at 99m but may have been overtaken by Lewisham at 106m if it's had its extension?

And on the London Underground the longest platform is unsurprisingly on the District line? Upney wins with 213.7m (east bound in case you were wondering). The shortest looks to be Bank eastbound on the Waterloo and City Line at a small, but perfectly formed, 78m.

Gloucester is 603m and Colchester 620m. Ken tells me these are cheating as they are actually 2 platforms back to back but who am I to argue?

A quick google shows that Folkstone is the 4th longest platform in the world. First is Kharagpur, West Bengal, India at 1,072 m, then State Street Center subway station, Chicago, Illinois, USA at 1,067 m and Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand at 1,000 m.

And after all that I still can't recall the length of Taunton platform 5!

Saturday, 14 May 2011

3 Trigs and a FBM/Passive Station

A treat of a day today. A surveying friend visited and, as expected, the lure of some trig pillar bagging was too much. Derek was game as I'd anticipated so we headed west out of Exeter to find a few.

First off was the trig pillar which fooled me a few months back. The trig I thought was a trig appears to be some geodetic control for a reservoir. Anyway, it was an easy find, so Constitutional Hill all bagged now. Fantastic views of Exeter from this ridge (give or take the odd branch/folliage).

Next was a treat - a FBM and passive station. Nicely hidden in nettles but a gem. Neither Derek or I have seen one of these before. Fun eh?

Then it was back to regular lumps of concrete and we picked off Bilsdon Trig. What a view!

The girls (my daughter and a friend) were starting to show the strain of this geeky hunt,

but they were polite enough to show interest in Derek explaining the spider to them. wink

And finally we visited Waddles Down for our last trig of the day. Derek climbed up to inspect and found a bunker the other side of the hedge.

Not sure if it's a military bunker or something to do with the mast compound next to it (? doubt it).

Anyway, happy happy days. cool

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Kiwi Trig

Isn't this a beauty? Captured by my Fugro friend, Don, on a recent trip to New Plymouth, New Zealand.

Not quite sure if it's sad or exciting that my friends e-mail me things like this!