Walton-on-the-Naze Off The Beaten Path

  • Off The Beaten Path
    by arturowan
  • Off The Beaten Path
    by arturowan
  • Clifftop pillbox - now fallen onto beach!
    Clifftop pillbox - now fallen onto...
    by arturowan

Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in Walton-on-the-Naze

  • arturowan's Profile Photo

    Radio Caroline location...

    by arturowan Updated Apr 3, 2014

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    Radio Caroline was the name of the 'pirate' station, that broadcast pop music from the North Sea, to mainland Britain...
    The offshore radio station was founded by Irish musician-cum-music business entrepeneur, Ronan 0'Rahilly, in 1964
    He had been unable to promote the singer Georgie Fame, because Radio luxembourg - the only European station broadcasting pop music, would only play records paid for by major labels...
    0'Rahilly, a lateral-thinker, decided to promote pop music on minor labels, by setting up a pirate station in the North Sea, & first considered using the offshore Rough Sands fort (see separate tip, Sealand - Harwich...)
    This relic from WWII would have provided a stable broadcasting platform, just several miles outside Harwich, but maybe because the Dutch pirates were also considering it, to avoid a conflict, he decided upon setting-up a station afloat!
    In the event though, he decided to moar an old Danish ferry, the Fredericia offshore, after it was refitted in his father's shipyard in Ireland...
    (Caroline's Dutch broadcasting rival, MV Mi Amigo, was also refitted in the same port at Greenore, & would be the broadcasting base for Radio Atlanta...)
    Broadcasting from a ship in tidal waters is a case of reality being stranger than fiction - just think of the inplications of playing vinyl records on a turntable, which needs to be kept horizontal, in a North Sea situation, which is rarely smooth...
    (When Radio Caroline returned in 1983 - with his former business partner, Carl Ross, who owned the fishfood company, they used a rusty fishing trawler, the Ross Revenge, in international waters, just off the Walton coast, where, fitted with a huge antenna, it could broadcast to the mainland...)
    The Caroline boat was visible from the mainland on a clear day, & after dark, pop-pickers would park their cars along Walton & Frinton seafronts, & flash their headlights out to sea, when the DJ's acknowledged them...
    The station was named Caroline, in respect to JFK's daughter, because the US President was such an icon for the 60's 'beat generation'...
    From 1964-1967 - the only way for British listeners to hear pop music on the radio, was to tune to the pirate stations, as the signal from Radio Luxembourg was weak & prone to weather distortion...
    There were 4 pirates broadcasting in a similar area of North Sea, & also included Radio London, & the Dutch stations, Radio Veronica, & Radio Atlanta...
    When the BBC eventually responded to the audience for beat music, it founded Radio1 in 1967
    This occurred just 6 weeks after UK legislation was passed to make broadcasting without a license an offence, which resulted in the boarding & seizing of the radio ships in British waters, in March 1968
    Pirate broadcasting would never be the same again, & though the ships are no longer moared offshore, they are still remembered in Walton, with a plaque devoted to them, mounted on the RNLI shop on the esplanade (see separate tip...)
    During the presence of the pirates offshore, the Walton lifeboat was called out no less than 15 times to attend either Radio Caroline or Radio London - usually during severe storms, when the ships were threatened with capsizing - not unlikely considering the height of the transmitters above deck...
    The lifeboat was also needed when DJ's were taken suddenly ill, usually due to food poisoning!
    0n 28th March 2014 - a street celebration was held outside the RNLI shop to commemorate a half century since Radio Caroline first went on air...

    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Music
    • Historical Travel

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    WW2 Heritage Trail...

    by arturowan Updated Sep 16, 2013

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    Clifftop pillbox - now fallen onto beach!
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    A heritage trail has now been signposted around what remains of the WW2 constructions on the clifftop that constitutes The Naze, beginning at the Naze tower...
    Unfortunately, due to coastal erosion, there isn't that much left to see, & this is unfortunate, because during the conflict, The Naze was a no-go area, because it was used for the testing of secret weapons...
    Locals recall the night sky being lit up from the explosion of phosphorus bombs, & a trackway was also built to practise launching what might have been the British response to the German 'doodlebug'...
    Also, while the rest of the British Isles suffered the imposed blackout, the Naze was deliberately alight with bonfires & false tramways, in order to confuse the Luftwaffe into bombing offcourse of the crucial to merchant shipping, Harwich & Felixstowe...
    All evidence of these wartime secrets, have been lost for a long time, & 2 of the pillboxes closest to the cliff edge, now rest on the beach, having survived the collapse of the red sandstone on which they were originally founded...
    This leaves 2 other pillboxes amongst the gorse bushes at The Naze; a standard infantry type; & a more unusual artillery type, complete with concrete gun mounting, but the actual artillery has long been removed...
    The most interesting part of the Heritage Trail is the wooden information boards erected on site, complete with period photographs which reveal The Naze a more exposed, grassy, & very different looking place to how it appears today...
    The period photographs on these signs are fascinating, not least that of the Naze tower, which though not built for this conflict, was fitted with a huge radar dish at the top...
    There are also photographs of the machinery used to launch what might have been the first guided missile in history, & if you're wondering why you've never heard of this top secret research being carried out at Walton-0n-The-Naze, then the reason is simple...
    The technology was a failure, for the simple reason that it used valve technology, & the forces of launching shattered the glass valves...
    Despite the ineffectiveness of Britain's first attempt to build guided missiles, the technology of the time, was, in truly military tradition, classified 'top secret', & only latterly have the clandestine experiments at the Naze, come to light...

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • Beaches

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  • arturowan's Profile Photo

    Secret Water' locations...

    by arturowan Updated Feb 8, 2013

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    'Secret Water' was the 8th book by Arthur Ransome, published in 1939, in his series that began with the still popular, 'Swallows & Amazons'...
    The 'secret water' of the title, is actually Hamford Water, the estuarine environment, that is the oft over-looked, northern aspect, of the seaside town, Walton-on-the-Naze...
    Ransome himself used to sail in this area in his yacht, Nancy Blackett, so the descriptions in the text are specific, if sometimes thinly disguised, references to the Walton Backwaters...
    Any visitor to the area can easily find their way to Hamford Water, by following the numerous footpaths that lead off the back road through Kirby-le-Soken, into Walton, towards the estuary wall...
    The island where the children camped in the story, is actually Horsey Island, so-called because of a history of keeping horses there, something that's still done to this day...
    Access to Horsey Island is by a causeway, that leads off of the farm track, Island Lane, from the main road...
    As all the island is privately owned, you should not enter to find where the children set up camp in the story, without prior permission of the owner...
    It was many years since I did this, but at the time I just wrote to Mr. Backhouse, who lives on the island, & he replied to say, "0kay"...
    If you are allowed access, you also need to check tide times with the local coast guard, because the causeway is only passable at low tide...
    Public access is allowed all the way around the estuary wall, from where you can also see Skipper's Island, now a nature reserve, & also the made-to-be-written-about, ancient, black, thatched dwelling, known as 'Witch's Cottage'...
    Although this area will always be associated with Ransome's childrens story, it was also used as the filming location for an episode of Sharpe's Rifles...

    Related to:
    • School Holidays
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Arts and Culture

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  • PeterVancouver's Profile Photo

    At peace

    by PeterVancouver Updated May 2, 2012

    At high tide you could explore the huge saltflats of the backwaters and even without a boat, can walk right up to Stone Point assuming the tide was not too high, all along the beach from below the Tower at the Naze being careful not to disturb the abundence of wildlife that nests in the area (plus the occasional nude bather). Its probably a good two mile walk crossing a number of inlets which fill as the tide rises so you must be aware of tide levels as otherwise it would not be sensible to try to cross the inlets on foot due to the speed of the water and indeed you can, if not carefull, become cut off on Stone Point until the tide receeds.

    It may be that part of this walk is still closed towards Stone Point during Spring to early August due to preservation of the ground nesting Terns

    http://www.localboating.co.uk/The%20Walton%20Backwaters.pdf

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