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Nov 2017

Devon Coat of Arms

At last, somewhere that looks to be a part-working town in these parts but Brixham looks to manage the balance of tourism and the workaday.

It's a little rough around the edges but this pair are, quite frankly, tiring a bit of the theme park feel and the maritime-style boutiques[1] so it's nice to get a whiff of some fish.

[1] Looking at you Padstow and Salcombe.

They're famous for it here, you see, £25 millions worth is landed annually and if you're a fan of the fin, tours can even be arranged to the daily fish market but with a 6 AM start, yeah, right, that's happening.

They're also credited with the invention of the modern trawler or rather the mechanics of fishing further afield with a big net and a suitably crafted keel.

They built 'em here until 1926 and the local  Wetherspoon™s even takes the name of the last one, the Vigilance. They source their cod locally, they say, although advising trippers suggest some of the salty sea dogs inside can get a bit lively.

  Rockfish (New Fish Quay)

Pick of the seafood providers here, probably, since it's part of the 'world famous' market. They've several others in the area but the fish couldn't be any fresher than it is here, they say.

The main point of interest is the harbour, naturally, and is where you'll find a child-friendly replica of the Golden Hind, the first ship to circumnavigate the globe[1].

The purpose of Sir Francis Drake's extended cruise wasn't quite so romantically explorative, as often imagined, but to bag Spanish booty and bullion down in South America.

All of this given QE1's royal steal of approval, the proceeds paid off the national debt in 1580 and the return on investment was the same as a cheeky punt on a 50-to-one long shot in the Grand National coming in.

The replica is a converted trawler and is as recent as 1963 with the last of the original timber long since glued together to make a chair. Funnily enough, that's  where most 50-to-one long shots in the Grand National meet a sticky end.

[1] With a single designated driver behind the wheel it would seem.

  South West Coast Path

If you're walking England's longest National Trail anticlockwise from Minehead then well done, you're about 490 miles in so just the 140-or-so to go to Dorset.

If you're coming from Dorset then it's still about 490 miles to Minehead. You'll pass all of this on your way in or out since the pavement around the harbour is actually part of the path.

Man and Boy is by local artist Elisabeth Hadley and commemorates those lost at sea but also celebrates the fishing heritage of Brixham.

Years of local fundraising paid for it but it's not thought that the Brixham branch of the  Rangers Supporters Club were behind this one of William of Orange. No, it just so happened that Oranjeboom Bill landed here in 1688 and the rest, as they say, is history.

He's not quite so divisive but Bristol-born  Banksy™ looks to have been a busy boy in Brixham. It's thought to be an original but there's a lot less of an effort gone into the stencil spotted at the top of a stairway that's not quite being got.

This one definitely isn't a Banksy™ but the work of a London-based collective of professional street artists[1] who can be contracted for some less traditional painting and decorating.

 Graffiti Kings had this done in two days for what was then a pirate-themed visitor attraction. It's a hair salon now and it's hoped they're not planning on bleaching it.

[1] You think that sounds niche? They've 2.5 MILLION followers on Facebook, Inc™. 2.5 MILLION! We wish.

There's an artsy vibe here to rival St Ives although the artwork on the Lusty Wench isn't thought to be in the style of an old Dutch master.

In the 1950s, the harbourmaster granted permission for painters to work in public from the quayside when it wasn't raining. They wore colour-coded smocks and yes, one of them called William did wear one that was carrot coloured so came to be known as... William in orange.

Any conflict in these circles is trying to be imagined but there was, apparently, and one of them only went and threw a rival, would-be Rembrandt and his works into the water[1].

The defendant's solicitor called on the only female witness to the event and questioned the attending constable who had dutifully noted... 'It was Paul, says Ann.'

[1] Up until this point, everything seems to be true. Don't believe us? Read the plaque yourselves then.

  Strand Art Gallery (The Strand)

Rather than the harbour, a dozen-or-so of the current crop of 'Brixham Painters' now work and display from here. Established in 1972 after the dust up on the quayside, the only way the watercolours are getting wet now is if the roof leaks.