Brownsea Island is spectacularly located in Poole Harbour. It is the largest of Poole Harbour’s islands and has been owned by the National Trust since 1963.
There is evidence of settlement, pottery production, agriculture and trade in the area since the 5th century BC. It has been a hideout for pirates and a gentleman’s estate. In 1907 the first Scouts came to camp on Brownsea and in 1963 a permanent 50 acre camp was opened by Olave Baden-Powell.
With regards to swimming around the island there is a large event organised by Poole RLSS which takes place in September. Entries for this event are booked up very quickly when they open in February.
A group of us swim regularly in the Bridport area and we decided to organise our own swim around Brownsea Island. We did a bit of tidal guesswork and Ian came along in his sea kayak to keep us safe and to carry the food and drink which would help us keep going for an estimated 3 hours in the water.
We met at Sandbanks and caught the yellow Brownsea Island Ferry.
Ian met us at the Island close to the Castle. We changed into wetsuits and loaded all our gear into the hatches in the kayak.
The essential jelly babies and isotonic drinks were kept on deck for easy access during the swim.
As we swam away from the Castle at Brownsea Island we had a strong push from the flooding tide and for a few hundred metres we flew along.
This was to be short lived unfortunately and for the next 2 kilometres up to Pottery pier it was quite a hard swim which became harder as we got closer to the top of the island. The wind increased and it got choppy and then there was more boat traffic so we got wash.
Once round the other side of the Island things calmed down quite a lot and we had wind and waves behind us. We still didn’t get much tidal assistance but it was a lot more fun. There was the added bonus that this side of the island is shallow with little boat traffic so we could stop and stand up to get our food and drinks from the kayak.
Our land support team member, Jane, swam out to meet us.
Navigation was easy with land on the left all the way and after just under 3 hours we found ourselves back at our starting point.
Another great adventure.