Mariners Away home port is the village of South Zeal on the northern flanks of Dartmoor. (OK so we are at least 20 nautical miles from the sea!). We formed on 22 November 2007 when Bill Murray, a well known local folk music performer, was asked by Mike Eastman to provide some musical entertainment at the annual dinner of the local (Lyme Bay) Section of the Cruising Association (www.cruising.org.uk) , one of the oldest and largest cruising yacht clubs in existence. The first performance was at the dinner on 17 January 2008.
As well as Bill Murray and Mike Eastman, founding members included Bev Hilton, Dave Denford, Nick Groom, Ian Solomon, Richard Tancock, Steve Mathewson and Chris Aylen. Our membership has fluctuated a little over the years, and has included David Ashby, Lew Bean, Bob Bennett, Shirley Denford, Ed Holt, Rod Inglis, Peter Mitchell,Trevor Munkenbeck, Michael O'Brien, Chris Owen, Peter Ritchie, Terry Russell, James Redstone, Steve Hawker, Chris Miller, Keith Beeby, Ian McAvoy, & Paul Mills. Those shown in red have moved on to pastures new, including our great shipmate Peter Ritchie, late Commander RN, who passed away in January 2019 after a long battle against cancer. Founder member Dave Denford, the Singing Blacksmith, also passed on in May 2020. We mainly live in the villages and towns to the North of Dartmoor. At full strength we are thirteen, but usually perform with eight to ten.
We practise Thursday evenings in the King’s Arms South Zeal from around 8:30pm until closing time. We also perform at various venues - often pubs - around Devon. Sometimes our away performances in local pubs are gratis, but we don’t object to the occasional jug of beer and a sandwich being supplied! If we have to travel some distance for a private function etc, then help with our travel costs and a donation to our funds is expected. We welcome enquiries for weddings, wakes and parties etc. Contact Social Secretary Bev for more information
We take our name from the Mariner’s Way, a fabled ancient route used by sailors to travel between the ports of Bideford on the North Devon coast, and Dartmouth on the South Devon coast. South Zeal lies en-route and the King’s Arms is believed to have been one of the hostelries.