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It was my Father's birthday... so i took him down to Plymouth and over to Drake Island as a present... in an 8ft dinghy! It's a fantastic place, steeped in history from way back in 1135 and this is worth a read - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake%27s_Island. Sorry the pictures lack quality, the majority were taken with a camera phone but that's another story, alas, here are a few... The target. The approach. Barracks. Seagull spotter. Cartridge Lift. My shorts were on and the chicken legs on show. Old meets new... Napoleonic fortification with WWII addition. Waves crashing against the island, over and over with spray coating the pillbox, day in and day out. Up top on the centre battery, looking back towards the barracks with Plymouth in the distance. Where things went... boom! ... and last but by no means least, more guns!
Our original plan was to spend Christmas here but weather forecasts were dire and we didn't want to die a watery death so we binned the idea off and went to Wales instead! Planning our summer road trip and this place cropped up again and it was game on! We'd do the island before heading off to foreign lands for a couple of weeks. After spending the previous night watching an awesome lightning storm we were hoping for good weather! Waking up a few hours later in the back of the limo to see rain I snuggled back into my sleeping bag and went back to sleep. When I next awoke the sky was grey and it was drizzly, and with an uncertain forecast we decided to check out a few alternative locations instead. A few fails and some epic jungleering through the undergrowth later, the sun decided to come out and we bit the bullet and decided Operation Island Infiltration was back on! A few hours later and we were busy unloading gear (lots and lots and lots of gear) by the sea and Riddlers was busy blowing up his dingy ready to take us out! There appeared to be quite a bit of interest in our little escapade but throwing caution to the wind the first three intrepid explorers set sail and it wasn't long before all 7 of us were safely on dry land. We set up camp and then went for a bit of an explore, its a lovely little place with lots to see and I proper enjoyed just mooching about whilst the boys played with the cannons and drank beer. We had fire and food before heading to bed for an early night, the Merry Prankster set up his projector and fell asleep to South Park, The Riddlers got shouted at for playing shit music and keeping people awake and me and Jobs had a hammock fail and ended up on the floor! In the morning we were getting ready to leave but when we looked out across the water it was bedlam, the police boat, RNLI and Lifeguards were out in force, initially thinking we had been spotted we awaited their arrival, but much to our bemusement they appeared to be clearing the harbour!! A quick google later and we discovered there was an airshow just about to start and for safety reasons they were clearing the public from underneath the display area. Well almost all the people, we had the choice seats directly underneath as bi-planes looped and dipped across the skies, dropping low enough for them to see us and give us a friendly wave as they passed by! After enjoying the show we got ready to leave, with The Riddlers at the helm, Bigjobs and Motionless Escape were the first to go. We watched them bobbing across the waves until we saw them land but an age passed and there was no sign of them returning. One phone call later and we discovered a pin had broken on the boat and they were frantically trying to fix it. So with visions of having to be rescued by the Lifeguards we waited and waited and waited, then boom across the harbour we spotted him! THey'd fixed the boat and The Riddlers was making his way back Not long after we were back on dry land chattering like excitable children on a school trip planning our next stop! History Located in the heart of the harbour lies Drake Island. The island was originally called St Nicholas' Island and later St Michael's Island before it was renamed and dedicated to Sir Francis Drake in the late Tudor period. Originally is accommodated an artillery battery, this was followed by a larger garrison and during the Civil War, the Island played a key role in the defence of Plymouth against Royalist Attack. In the mid-sixteenth century, the first fortification was commissioned as a result of the war with France. A stone and turf wall built and a garrison was installed in 1551. In 1580 a disagreement between the people of Plymouth and the Government over who had responsibility for paying for the defence it was taken into state ownership. By 1590s a garrison of 100 men and 40-50 guns were installed, increasing further as the war with Spain continued. After the restoration of the monarchy after the Civil War, the island was used as a prison for notable Parliamentary prisoners. Major General John Lambert, the successor to Oliver Cromwell, was held here from 1670-84. Also incarcerated here was Colonel Robert Lilburn, one of the regicides. The defences visible today mainly date from the mid-nineteenth century when the large casemates were constructed complete with supporting magazines and accommodation. Finally, the Island was garrisoned by just under 500 soldiers for much of WWII supporting coastal defence and anti-air operations. In 1963 Plymouth Council obtained a lease from the Crown and a youth centre was opened in 1964, coming under the custody of the Mayflower Trust until they surrendered the lease in 1989. The Island was bought by Dan McCauley in 1995 with a view to building a hotel and helipad. Initial plans were rejected due to the nesting egrets on the Island but as of April 2017 a further plan has been submitted with protection plans in place and work is expected to start in the not too distant future. Hope you enjoyed looking