Seven folk gathered at 9am on Arnside Promenade; 3 sea and 4 river kayaks. Launching onto the last of the ebb tide we paddled steadily out following the main channel flow. Helpfully, Sten and Chris had been out on the estuary the previous day and, where route choices were presented, they guided us up channels they knew were paddleable. Visibility was impaired by mist but there was little in the way of wind to disturb the smooth water surface; it was very peaceful with the odd distant rumble of a train and oystercatchers and curlews providing backing vocals.
As the expected `bore time` approached Robin checked the GPS and reported we’d come 5.5 miles since leaving Arnside. Soon after there was more rumbling, is it a train or???? and, out of the gloom came the bore, around 30-40cm high and steaming towards us; I was impressed.
Everyone prepared to deal with the bore in their own way; my personal aim was to sit back off the wave front as I was not confident of my surfing skills. After an initial `hiccup` I recovered and managed to follow the wave in at a fairly steady 10mph, whilst observing the more proficient paddlers enjoying the surfing experience. Robin gave some valuable tips on how to avoid getting washed up on the adjacent sandbanks and also took some photos whilst surfing along! At some point Sten and Chris ended up round the opposite side of a sandbank to the others, but were reunited when the channel coalesced again.
Robin’s photo from the wavefront…..
The bore itself morphed into different guises as it swept along. Sometimes it was a single high wave front, then it would reduce in height but with smaller wavelets running along behind. Most surprising was when the white foam disappeared and three identical, smooth brown standing waves appeared with deep troughs between. Challenging and turbulent conditions were experienced when the bore hit the rock features off Holme Island but after this the bore itself seemed to dissipate. At this point we were briefly joined by a dozen Whooper swans which must have been out on the estuary and had also taken the ride in – probably more elegantly than me.
More of these club bore trips are planned to coincide with future spring tides in April and May.