Category Archives: Kayaking

Swoosh!

The Bantham Swoosh was a new event organised by the Outdoor Swimming Society for the first time in 2015. I heard about it too late to enter the OSS event.

However, this sounded like a lot of fun so I checked out the tide tables and earmarked a few dates which looked suitable. All that it needs is a big spring tide really.

On 30th August there was such a tide and all my swimming buddies were busy doing other stuff. Ian and I managed to drag ourselves out of bed – despite the dreary bank holiday weather – and drove down to Aveton Gifford where the River Avon is accessible from the car park.
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Broadchurch Blue Moon

The last night in July 2015 had a rare occurrence of a blue moon. When one of the astronomical seasons has four full moons, instead of the normal three, the third full moon is called a Blue Moon.

Blue Moon (Courtesy of Cathy Warne  dorsetflickr.wordpress.com)

Blue Moon
(Courtesy of Cathy Warne dorsetflickr.wordpress.com)

The weather was nice so we decided to take the opportunity to paddle our sea kayaks along to West Bay. Then take them for a short walk to be able to paddle up the River Brit as far as possible.
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The Jurassic Coast

I am very fortunate to live beside the sea in Dorset. The region contains some fantastic coastal scenery. The variety of coastal landscapes is a result of the region’s complex geology.

November has been quite stormy so far, but Saturday 15th November was scheduled to be an Isle of Portland Canoe Club trip and we were very fortunate with the weather. The wind dropped, it was warm and the sun even shone, some of the time.

We paddled the section of coast from Ringstead to Lulworth Cove. Ringstead is a convenient spot to start from as it has a car park and a slipway to the beach. In the summer there is also a cafe and some toilets.

Husband and I before launching at Ringstead

Husband and I before launching at Ringstead

We paddled across Ringstead bay with the Isle of Portland as a backdrop.

Ringstead Bay with Portland behind

Ringstead Bay with Portland behind

As we rounded White Nothe, the spectacular chalk cliffs of the coastline towards Durdle Door came into view. This is the start of the white cliffs of the Purbeck coast.

White Nothe

White Nothe

The next landmark is Bats Hole which is a tiny tunnel through the headland known as Bats Head, closely followed by the spectacular Durdle Door.

Durdle Door

Durdle Door

More spectacular cliff formations follow at Stair Hole. The folded limestone strata here are known as the Lulworth Crumple and there are several caves visible from the seaward side.

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Bats Head

Bats Head

It was quite lively due to the residual swell forming clapotis. Once inside stairhole it was quite calm.

And so, onto Lulworth Cove – our lunch stop. Lulworth Cove is one of the UK’s most popular scenic attractions. A gap has been eroded though the limestone cliffs by the waves and a bay has been sculpted from the softer rock behind. There were plenty of visitors at Lulworth Cove despite it being the middle of November and the ice cream shop was closed.

A little wave forms at the entrance to Lulworth Cove due to shallow water from a rock bar. Its possible to get airborne if you get the timing right.

Nearly airborne

Nearly airborne

The return trip to Ringstead was very pleasant and quite uneventful as we enjoyed the spectacular cliff scenery from an alternative angle.

Cliff fall from April 2013

Cliff fall from April 2013

Boscastle to Daymer Bay

The North Coast of Cornwall is fully exposed to the prevailing weather and the North Atlantic swells. It does have amazing coastal scenery with innumerable coves, inlets, caves, waterfalls, reefs, offshore islands and stacks. From the sea kayakers perspective the coast is wild and committing. The climate is warm but strong winds from the south west and the Atlantic swell are a constant concern.

The trip from Boscastle to Daymer Bay on the Camel Estuary is exceptionally scenic. The sea was calm and we knew that we could get into Port Isaac for a break en route.

Boscastle harbour is a drowned river gorge.

Boscastle

Boscastle

Boscastle used to be a busy port handling the ores mined hereabouts. Boscastle was flooded in 2004 but there are few signs of that now.

There are many caves to explore.

Huge caves

Huge caves

At this time of year after rainfall there is plenty of fresh water falling down the cliffs making spectacular waterfalls.

Waterfalls

Waterfalls

There are many spectacular rock formations – this is Ladies Window.

Ladies Window

Ladies Window

Tintagel Head with the vast King Arthur Castle Hotel on the top of the cliff is a notable landmark.

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Tintagel

Tintagel

The headland has seen a millennia of occupation and the remnants of the past can be clearly seen. Tintagel has historical importance and pottery from the sixth century has been found here. However, many visitors today are interested in the Arthurian associations. It’s always busy and very nice to view it from the sea without becoming embroiled too closely in the tourism.

We paddled on down the coast passing between Gull Rock and Trebarwith Strand.

Trebarwith was a busy quarry port before the tourists came. Another 8km of cliffs to paddle along before reaching Port Isaac.

Port Isaac

Port Isaac

Port Isaac is a fishing village. The drama Doc Martin is filmed here. In Tudor times it was a pilchard fishing port. The inshore lifeboat is housed inside the old fish cellars.

Port Isaac was busy with visitors. We had a welcome break from the kayaks and feasted on pasties, ice cream and tea.

Port Isaac

Port Isaac

We still had a long way to go so we paddled straight across Port Quin Bay. On a more leisurely paddle there is plenty to explore along the coast here. However we made a beeline for The Mouls which is an offshore island at The Rumps headland. There were plenty of Auks (Puffins live here) at the Mouls and the tide was running quite hard which made for an interesting few minutes as we rounded the island and headed for the Rumps.

The Rumps

The Rumps

Rumps point is the site of Cornwall’s finest Iron Age cliff castle and from the water we could clearly see ramparts and ditches constructed to keep out unwelcome boarders.

We continued under massive, impressive cliffs to Pentire Point where once again we encountered some tidal movement but with so little swell this was not a problem and we headed into Padstow Bay for the last few kilometres before reaching our get out at Daymer Bay.

28km in perfect paddling conditions.

Cornish Sea Kayaking Meet

The Cornish Sea Kayaking Meet

The Cornish Sea Kayaking Meet

On the August Bank holiday weekend we headed down to Penzance for the Cornish Sea Kayaking Meet organised by Richard Uren of Paddlecrest Coaching.

The area around Lands End is a magnificent coastline for sea kayaking. There are many small coves to launch and recover from, with varying degrees of effort.

Day 1 launch point - Porthgworra

Day 1 launch point – Porthgworra

On the Friday evening we went to the Minack Theatre and on the Saturday we had a great view of the theatre set into the cliffs at Porthcurno from the sea. Continue reading

Old Bat In A Boat

Photo of author in a sea kayak.

The Bat in her boat. (Photo courtesy of Mark Rainsley)

An Isle of Portland Canoe Club trip that I was committed to organising was scheduled for today. As it happened, unusually, the forecast was promising. The Met Office was giving a red line indicating strong winds for Selsey Bill to Lyme Regis but we decided that Force 5 -6 was probably hamming it up a bit and we were good to go.

9 paddlers met at Swanage ready to launch at 10:00 when we expected to have tidal assistance all the way to Kimmeridge. The sky was blue and the sun was shining making for a sparkly start to the journey. This is a committing trip with no opportunities to land until Chapmans Pool 12km away.
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