Branch run to Chatham Historic Dockyard 22nd April 2015

Seven branch members on seven Nortons rode down into Kent to enjoy a day at the Chatham Historic Dockyards. It was really nice to be able to park our bikes under cover, inside what once was a covered slip where originally ships were built then slipped gently into the river Medway.Undercover parking

We first visited the very clever “Heart of Oak” inside the Mast House and Mould Loft (built 1750’s). This followed the footsteps of a retired Master Shipwright as he revisits the Dockyard with his grandson trying to encourage his grandson to a Shipwright career. At the same time explaining the processes that take place to build a timber hulled, sail powered war ship.HMS Gannet rigging

We next went on the tour of HM Submarine Ocelot which again was excellent, the guide talked as if he himself was crew of the sub when it was in service.HM Submarine Ocelot
After lunch & refreshments we were booked to attend the 2.30pm Victorian Ropery tour. Rope has been made here since 1618 and is still manufactured in the present quarter mile long building which was last modernised in 1812. The tour guide was excellent (herself a biker) she made the tour extremely entertaining.Spin some yarn

We had a turn at making rope (on a small scale) before entering the real “ropewalk” where we watched workers actually making a modern polypropylene rope using the traditional method on very old machinery.The rope walk

We looked at some of the other buildings and warships. Including this impressive cantilevered timber frame roof built in 1838 over “Slip 3”.No3 Covered Slip

A full day is not enough time to see everything, I have a feeling we will be going back later in the year as our entrance tickets last a full twelve months.